A new report identifies the need for a strategic approach to sustainable transport projects that focuses on what can realistically be delivered.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published What Works?, a report on the lessons learned from the now defunct £540m Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) programme.
The report, by Transport for Quality of Life, is intended as a resource for council officers and members, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and other organisations delivering or commissioning sustainable transport projects.
Lessons around strategy and leadership cover the preparatory and delivery phases of projects, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
Under the preparatory phase, the report recommends ‘strategically choosing geographical areas where there is the most potential for change, ie projects with the strongest level of community and political support’.
It adds: ‘A trade-off between ambition and deliverability, focussing on what can realistically be delivered is key.’
When moving to the ‘reality’ of the delivery phase, the report recommends taking time to do a strategic reality check, adapting the project where necessary.
The report advises planners not to under-estimate lead-in times for each project stage before full funding is released, including design, consultation, procurement, planning approvals and recruitment.
Long lead-in times are also identified as key issues in relation to specific types of projects, such as increasing bus use or increasing train travel and sustainable travel to rail stations.
For projects that seek to increase bus use or cycling, the report recommends taking ‘a holistic approach for your offer’. For example, it advises that cycling projects should involve infrastructure, equipment, training and promotional activity, using both capital and revenue for the complementary activities.
The LSTF ran from 2011 to 2015 and aimed to support local economies by reducing congestion and improving access, as well as promoting low carbon sustainable transport modes.
It was replaced by an Access Fund, which was rolled into the Local Growth Fund, an un-ringfenced pot allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The DfT has also announced the winners of £64m cash from 2017 to 2020 under the revenue competition element of the Access Fund.