Page last updated at 03:40 GMT, Sunday, 26 October 2008

Labour transport policy 'failing'

Congested road
The government accepts there is more traffic on the roads than 10 years ago

Ten years of government transport policy has been dismissed as "a big disappointment" by a team of academics from Glasgow and Plymouth universities.

They say the government has failed to cut traffic congestion, ignored the need for railway investment and neglected walking and cycling.

The research comes a decade after Labour outlined its new deal on transport in a White Paper.

Ministers say since then there has been significant investment in transport.

'Cold feet'

In 1998, the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said he would regard himself as a failure if, in five years, traffic congestion had not fallen and public transport use increased.

The new book from the academics outlines the areas in which they say the government has failed:

• Traffic congestion is worse than a decade ago

• The investment needs of the railways have been almost completely ignored, in particular to increase capacity

• Bus services in most of the UK have remained poor, especially in comparison with European rivals

• Tram schemes have been abandoned, despite proving effective at getting motorists out of their cars

• Walking and cycling have been largely neglected

• The government is afraid of addressing the environmental impact of aviation

• Transport carbon emissions continue to rise.

Dr Ian Docherty, from Glasgow University, said the government has been timid in its policies and has "got cold feet at the point when it could have done something".

The government accepts there is now more traffic on the roads, but points out record numbers of people are using trains.

It also says 100 million is being spent creating cycling demonstration cities.


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