The Federation of Small Businesses has published a report, Moving Wales Forward, that sheds some light on some fundamental flaws in the way active travel and other transport schemes are planned.
In the report Moving Wales Forward commissioned by the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, Professor Stuart Cole concludes that Wales needs a new methodology for making decisions when it comes to transport schemes.
He points to flaws in the current methods used to produce traffic forecasts, which mean that they have repeatedly over-estimated true traffic levels, and calls for a new arm’s-length body to deliver an integrated transport network.
Whilst the whole document is worth skimming through, page 22 is of particular interest to us, especially this line:
Current Welsh, Scottish and English Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) appraisal methodologies do not take anything approaching full account of the health benefits of walking and cycling. Health benefits were / are not included in Department for Transport CoBA, and New Approach to Transport Appraisal (NATA) techniques and the HM Treasury Transport Business Case.
It is essentially saying that based on current arrangements, active travel schemes face an uphill battle where the main benefits of active travel, particularly to the health of the population are not sufficiently accounted for in a cost/benefit analysis.
This obviously needs to change before we can make any progress. Here’s hoping that whoever ends up with the transport portfolio at the Assembly takes this onboard.
We’ve been reliably informed that there is to be a follow-up to this arriving in the next couple of weeks, focusing on the South Wales Metro. However, in the meantime, have a read of the Moving Wales Forward report.