Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

National Assembly for Wales

Pwyllgor yr Economi, Seilwaith a Sgiliau

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

Datblygu Trafnidiaeth Cymru yn y dyfodol

The future development of Transport for Wales

EIS(5) FDTfW13

Ymateb gan Sustrans

Evidence from Sustrans

 

1.        We want to see a transport system which takes a holistic approach to tackling the challenges of road congestion, pollution, ill-health associated with physical inactivity, inequalities of access, road danger and climate change.  It needs to recognise the role that walking and cycling can play in tackling these challenges, and the value of investing in them as safe, convenient and attractive options as part of a wider vision for healthy, sustainable and accessible transport and land use.

2.      We see Transport for Wales (TfW) as integral to making this vision a reality. 

3.      TfW should aim to be as integrated as possible covering delivery and implementation of all modes of transport.  At minimum, it should take on responsibilities for (a) integrating walking and cycling with public transport, (b) ensuring the Welsh Government’s design standards for active travel infrastructure, as set out in the Active Travel Act design guidance (and its forthcoming revision), are consistently upheld in the planning and design of all relevant transport infrastructure plans and schemes, and new developments.

4.      To fulfil the first of these roles, it should ensure that the running of the Wales rail franchises and the south-east and north Wales metro systems maximise the opportunities for active travel, including by people with disabilities, by ensuring (a) good pedestrian and cycle access to, from and within stations and interchanges; (b) appropriate cycle parking, hire and storage facilities at stations and interchanges; (c) appropriate and flexible provision for cycle carriage on rail and other public transport services, together with optional and readily accessible processes for reserving cycle spaces on trains for which seat reservations can also be made; (d) publicising opportunities for travel by combining cycling and public transport; (e) good stakeholder engagement and monitoring, to ensure that lessons are learned from successful and less successful measures, and that opportunities for improvement are identified.  It should also play a role in co-ordinating cycle-hire provision at stations with public hire-bike schemes run by local authorities, seeking to co-ordinate integrated ticketing and payment processes.

5.      In regard to upholding design standards for active travel infrastructure, there is currently a disparity between Government policy and what is being delivered on the ground. As part of TfW’s proposed role in upholding best practice and design standards, we recommend it should act as the guardian of the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Act Design Guidance, ensuring it is consistently applied in the planning and design of all highway and traffic schemes, new developments, planned highway maintenance schemes and other infrastructure projects, as well as for pedestrian and cycle-specific infrastructure. 

6.     How it fulfils this role will to some extent depend on the future roles in relation to transport planning which the Welsh Government proposes for local councils, regional transport authorities and the Welsh Government itself. If transport planning and delivery is to be more centralised, TfW should take a more direct role in delivering active travel infrastructure, including the planning of existing route maps (ERMs) and integrated network maps (INMs) as required under the Active Travel Act.  If transport planning remains more decentralised, TfW should act partly as an advisory body on active travel infrastructure – providing expert advice for councils and/or regional transport authorities that currently lack it – while also signing off ERMs and INMs proposed by those bodies.  Taking this role off the Welsh Government would free it up to focus on resource allocation and policy coordination, e.g. the integration of active travel policy with other non-transport policy areas (e.g. health, environment, rural affairs etc).  TfW should in any event ensure that the Active Travel Act guidelines are consistently applied in all projects for which the Welsh Government or TfW are directly responsible, including all schemes relating to Wales’s motorway and trunk road networks.

7.      If responsibilities for active travel remain relatively decentralised, TfW should also be able to function as an arbiter when local stakeholders raise complaints about the alleged failure of councils or regional transport authorities to adhere to the Active Travel Act design standards.  It could provide non-binding rulings on whether or not those complaints were justified, in a way that would allow maladministration complaints or legal challenges to be made if the relevant authority then neglected its rulings without proper justification.

8.     As well as infrastructure TfW should have a mechanism to support Behaviour Change programmes and revenue funding to promote active travel and achieve a better balance of modal split across transport funding in Wales. 

9.      Transport for Wales needs to lead by example as an organisation. Embedding a behaviour change programme within their workplace to support and encourage their employees to travel sustainably.

10.  TfW should also have strong links to the planning process and be able to influence land use planning and social change to ensure new development and regeneration programmes are effectively integrated into public transport and active travel networks and do not unduly favour private car journeys or limit transport options, particularly in urban and suburban areas.

11.     In this regard, TfW should be directly involved in influencing decisions stemming from the National Development Framework and Welsh Transport Strategy. 

12.   Fulfilling the above roles will require adequate TfW staff resources and working in partnership with a range of organisations particularly local authorities and any regional transport consortia across Wales to deliver an ambitious and effective programme for transport infrastructure and services across the country. 

13.   The Minister for Economy and Transport should maintain overall responsibility for setting policy and strategy – including coordination with ministerial colleagues responsible for other related policy areas (e.g. health, planning, environment, countryside access and tourism) – and for holding TfW firmly to account. 

14.   This said TfW should also be in constant dialogue with officials responsible for these related portfolios, to ensure that their work is closely aligned. 

15.   TfW will not only need to be closely aligned to Welsh Government but in constant dialogue with local authorities, and constant consultation with other interested parties. 

16.   TfW should have a defined and structured engagement approach with the active travel sector. 

17.   To date we have had concerns over the transparency of the Governance of TfW, with most of the information about the future role of TfW has emerged piecemeal in Ministerial statements, rather than through the setting out of a formal plan. 

18.   Moving forward we would recommend TfW aligning its governance structures with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, with all article publish accessibly on the website. As a body fulfilling public functions, it should be subject to legislation such as the Equality Act and Freedom of Information Act, and to the Nolan Principles of good governance.

19.   To enable TfW in the future to encompass all forms of transport we would encourage a strategic plan of implementation over time. This strategy will need to be in place as soon as a proper co-coproduction process allows.