Thursday, 1 October 2009

Transport Consultation

There is an online consultation on Transport at:

The proposal is to cut traffic by 15%. While it is good to have a target, I would have preferred to see a more "graded target", such as cut traffic by 3% each year over 5 years, so that each year the target could be measured.

While the graphs of traffic volume in their report look very objective, there is no breakdown on how they have been measured, and no measures of the kind of statistical margin of error that is really needed. Traffic flow must vary, not just in term time and holidays, but also with respect to commuters changing patterns of behaviour in response to lengthy road works on major trunk roads, or on the town ring roads. In Sweden, for example, a report gives both the data collection method, and the frequency of the sampling:

The equipment used to collect data comprises pneumatic tubes stretched across the road and connected to a traffic analyzer. When a wheel of a passing vehicle crosses a tube, this action gives rise to a pulse in the equipment. From these pulses, vehicles are identified and information such as their speeds can be measured. For some surveys, additional equipment is needed for the data collection

The SNRA estimates yearly traffic volume at each of about 22,000 count sites on the national road network. Each count site represents a road link with supposedly homogeneous traffic volume. For each count site, the AADT is estimated, based on short period traffic counts of lengths varying from 24 hours to three days. The high-volume part of the road network is covered over a measurement cycle of four years and the low-volume part over a cycle of eight years. (1)

I've filled in the online form, and added a few comments on each section. Here are some of these, expanded with notes, and with a small amount of repetition because of the different parts of the form.

Surveying mixed forms of transport:

At present in the Winter, there is no bus service to Corbiere after around 7.00 in the evening, and almost none on Sundays. The 15 is well provided, and my son combines bus to Red Houses with pick ups by car when the bus is not running out to Corbiere. There is a balance or trade-off between possible (and economic) bus use and car use, and any survey should consider that.

Smart Card System for Buses:

Guernsey have an excellent "smart card" where credit can be topped up and used for journeys, as required, not like the Jersey commuter tickets, but much more flexible. This would encourage more people to travel by bus, especially if top up discounts were available (as with pay as you go phones).

'Wave & Save' smart cards - fares as low as 30p! If you catch the bus regularly, why not purchase one of our new 'Wave & Save' smart cards for £1.00 and save up to 50% on the individual flat fare... 'Wave & Save' smart cards can be purchased from Island Coachways' Bus information Kiosk at the St. Peter Port bus terminus and can be topped up at the Kiosk or on board the buses by your driver.(2)

Exeter is also looking at the smart cards with its own transport strategy:

To encourage bus operators to adopt ticketing systems and bus design, which will reduce time taken for people to board and alight from buses, including the introduction of smart cards.(3)

Incentives for Park and Ride

A cheaper season ticket for a more remote parking locations combined with an economic shuttle service in an out of town park and ride scheme would also be useful in keeping commuter traffic out of St Helier.

In this respect, explore use of minibuses in Town area and Park and Ride (as in Exeter). They are linked by radio to a central hub, can easily be increased in numbers if there is a sudden surge in users, and being small (but frequent) are more efficient in fuel use than large heavy buses.

There are two main types of buses operating in Exeter, the city bus network and the county or regional network. The former is largely operated by frequent minibuses (operating at 10 to 12 minute headways), which run through the High Street, whilst the latter are operated by more conventional less frequent larger buses that terminate in the bus and coach station.(3)

Short term Shopping.

The North of Town Masterplan demolition of Minden Place car park deprives St Helier of much needed short stay parking for that part of town. Any reduction in parking needs to be assessed against a random survey of shops and places (like the Art Centre) visited by commuters, otherwise the unintended consequence of its removal will be to damage the local economy.

Incentives for School Bus Use

Look at ways to incentivise school bus use by children by rewards to schools for most use (like the promotions - books for schools, sport equipement for schools -by commercial companies).

Congestion Charge

Introduce a congestion charge (as London) for peak times, but do not penalise out of peak traffic.

A payment of £8 is required for each day a vehicle enters or travels within the zone between 7am and 6pm (Monday-Friday only); a fine of between £60 and £180 is imposed for non-payment.(4)

The congestion charge can be paid online, or by sms from a mobile phone, thus making it easy for commuters to pay. I would have thought off peak (9.00-5.00) for Jersey it would be useful to have exempt, for short term shoppers, or people needing to visit the hospital etc.

States Members Parking

Remove States members free parking, so they appreciate the costs of motoring and parking. Replace it with a small travel allowance for out of town members that would cover bus fares, but can be used to help pay for parking if they want to use the car. Keep their pre-allocated parking however, but charge at commercial rates.

Priority Bus Routes

Exeter has a semi-pedestrial / bus priority lane which gives buses the edge in congested traffic, leading to more bus use. Rather than just pedestrianising areas (like Burrard Street, David Place), look at where a priority bus lane (also handy for emergency services) can be used. They are looking to do more in their own transport strategy:

To implement a series of bus priorities (bus lanes, no car lanes, bus gates, bus only turns, bus boarders etc.) where these will lead to an overall benefit to travellers along a corridor or at a specific location by improving journey time and reliability as identified in the bus study (3)

Better Engineering of Traffic Flow

Congestion can also be improved by better traffic flow with gyratory systems (the one by Wellington road works well for example), and reducing cars should not be a substitute for looking at a legacy bad traffic flow design .

No need for formal MOTs

The honorary police road checks do a really effective job of getting unsafe cars off the road at low cost. I've been stopped myself, and they check bodywork, lights, tyres. The extra paperwork and bureaucracy involved in an MOT style system is not suited to Jersey.

But if more checks are needed, then why not make point of sale as a trigger for this, and any car to be sold would need a certificate of roadworthiness, as long as it was relatively simple. This would also benefit the buyer.

Cost of Road Maintenance

Large commercial vehicles cause most impacting damage to road surfaces, and should bear more of the cost of road resurfacing repairs. Small cars really do not effect the underlying road foundations. In this respect, Exeter is again looking at this issue:

To encourage the use of suitable routes for HGVs within the city boundary and restrict the use of unsuitable roads.


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