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Tuesday, July 20, 1999 Published at 03:15 GMT 04:15 UK

UK Politics

Need for transport 'quick fixes'

There is no end in sight to Britain's traffic jams

The pressure group Transport 2000 has called for a series of "quick fixes" to speed up progress on the government's transport policies before the next election.

Transport Correspondent Simon Montague: "Transport 2000 says the public has seen more sticks than carrots"
It says motorists have not been offered any noticeable improvements in alternatives to the car since a consultation document was published 12 months ago.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is also Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, is set to use Tuesday's anniversary to unveil further plans to modernise the railways. This will include a move to ban all "slam-door" carriages.

Transport 2000 says the public has seen higher fuel taxes and more traffic restrictions - increasing use of bus lanes - but is still waiting for more "positive" action.

The group unveil a series of proposals on Tuesday. They include:

  • A national public transport travelcard
  • Special 20mph speed zones around schools
  • New rail links between Oxford and Cambridge, and between north and south Wales, among other places
  • A national "superbus" network

    Transport 2000 executive director Stephen Joseph said: "The government should use its powers and money creatively to make the words 'integrated transport' a reality on the ground in the next year."

    [ image: Transport 2000 wants more rail links to be built]
    Transport 2000 wants more rail links to be built
    Friends of the Earth publishes a survey on Tuesday to coincide with the first anniversary of the White Paper.

    It says only 26% of 149 highway authorities in England were in favour of road pricing.

    Two in three supported workplace parking charges, while more than 90% backed bus priority measures and incentives for bus passengers and cyclists.

    Tightening parking controls were supported by 86%, while 89% backed traffic-calming measures.

    Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Tony Bosworth said: "Local councils believe traffic reduction policies are needed, but one year on, we are no further forward."

    [ image: Cycling should be encouraged, say campaigners]
    Cycling should be encouraged, say campaigners
    Adding fuel to the transport controversy is a research document from Cambridge University which found a lack of public confidence in the government's ability to meet their transport needs.

    The authors, Professor David Newbery and Georgina Santos, say road infrastructure plans are suffering from "fudge rather than rational policy making".

    They suggest creating a new agency - Roadtrack - to take over responsibility for Britain's motorways and trunk roads.

    The Cambridge researchers say road taxes should be replaced by road user charges which would be levied by Roadtrack and used directly on the roads.

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