Friday 11 October 2013

The Transport Hierarchy

In my last blog, I took a look at the Underlying Principles contained within LTN 2/08. It is also written therein:
The Manual for Streets adopts a hierarchy of users to assist in design, planning and development control decisions. This places pedestrians at the top (including the access requirements of people with disabilities), followed by cyclists, then public transport, with unaccompanied private ­car users last. The aim is to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable road users are fully considered in all highway schemes, but not necessarily to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists in every circumstance.
Helpfully, the Manual for Streets displays this information in a more easily digestible format:

There are a number of variations on this theme, but the general idea remains the same: the needs of more vulnerable users should be considered before the needs of those who travel by (either public or private) motor transport.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming impression is that this type of road user hierarchy is regarded with very little seriousness, which has the effect of rendering it largely meaningless. Given that CTC's Hierarchy of Provision is also perceived as something of a busted flush, there is every advantage to considering a strategy which is likely to be more widely-respected.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers write: "In the UK we have an insatiable appetite for mobility—we view it as a human right. Yet the transport sector is damaging our environment—transport produces over a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. These policy statements discuss possible engineering solutions to the dual requirements of increased mobility and lower emissions."

At the top is the Transport Hierarchy, which "takes a focused engineering look at system design, addressing how we can change our approach to meet the demanding targets across our transport modes. It has been developed using robust engineering tools to allow the prioritisation of multiple measures to improve the complex system known as our transport network."

It continues: "The Transport Hierarchy sets objectives that ensure resilience and adaptability in the energy requirements of our transport network, with a focus on delivering societal needs. It pulls together policy proposals that demonstrate a consensus for this type of approach. The combination of cross-modal consensus and sound engineering makes this a powerful tool to achieve the step change needed to deliver a sustainable transport network. The Institution believes that this Hierarchy should be used by all governmental departments and businesses when making decisions on their transport choices in terms of both use and planning activities."

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