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The UK transport policy menu: Roads, roads, and a dash of multimodalism

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... The UK Government currently has a £20-billion roads programme, partly premised on kick-starting the economy, despite any robust evidence of linkage between roadbuilding and the economy. 10 In contrast, the Sustainable Travel Towns programmes contributed positively to economic growth, reduced carbon emissions, improved health, and promoted equality of opportunity and quality of life. 8 For a fraction of the roadbuilding programme cost, we could see not just safe routes to schools but, even more importantly, safe routes wholesale across urban areas. ...
... The UK Government currently has a £20-billion roads programme, partly premised on kick-starting the economy, despite any robust evidence of linkage between roadbuilding and the economy. 10 In contrast, the Sustainable Travel Towns programmes contributed positively to economic growth, reduced carbon emissions, improved health, and promoted equality of opportunity and quality of life. 8 For a fraction of the roadbuilding programme cost, we could see not just safe routes to schools but, even more importantly, safe routes wholesale across urban areas. ...
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In 1971, a study of children’s travel to and from school focused on five English primary schools. The schools’ locations ranged from inner-urban London to a village primary school (ages 4–11). In 1990, the Policy Studies Institute published a follow-up study with the same schools and added linked secondary schools (ages 11–16). The results were alarming. Independent active travel was declining steeply—on average, a child in 1990 had to be 2.5 years older than in 1971 to be allowed permissions such as to cross local roads and to travel the school journey without an adult. A further study in 2013 reported further significant shrinkage. We are concerned about the effects this will have for Alex and all young people. The school journey.The drivers of children being kept on a leash are multifaceted, but implicated above all is the dominance of the ‘windscreen perspective’—politicians and highway engineers have a driver’s perspective. Free Full text https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/6/323.full?ijkey=OTytIjur8Rz28It&keytype=ref
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A Problem for New Labour, or a Problem for Government?Has There Been a U-turn? From the White Paper to the Crisis of 2002Where Now?Notes
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In this study, differences in physical activity between adults living in high versus low walkable neighbourhoods were examined. In Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, neighbourhood walkability was defined by geographical map data and observations. One high walkable and one low walkable neighbourhood were selected. A sample of 120 adults between 20 and 65 years old, agreed to participate in the study and wore a pedometer for seven days. Self-reported physical activity and psychosocial data were collected. Results showed that residents of the high walkable neighbourhood took more steps/day and walked more for transport in their neighbourhood. Further analyses showed that living in a high walkable neighbourhood was associated with taking more steps, especially in adults with a preference for passive transport and/or a low intention to walk or cycle. In a health promotion context, these results are very promising.
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The World Bank believes that the car manufacturers can make a valuable contribution to road safety in poor countries and has established the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) for this purpose. However, some commentators are sceptical. The authors examined road safety policy documents to assess the extent of any bias. Word frequency analyses of road safety policy documents from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the GRSP. The relative occurrence of key road safety terms was quantified by calculating a word prevalence ratio with 95% confidence intervals. Terms for which there was a fourfold difference in prevalence between the documents were tabulated. Compared to WHO's World report on road traffic injury prevention, the GRSP road safety documents were substantially less likely to use the words speed, speed limits, child restraint, pedestrian, public transport, walking, and cycling, but substantially more likely to use the words school, campaign, driver training, and billboard. There are important differences in emphasis in road safety policy documents prepared by WHO and the GRSP. Vigilance is needed to ensure that the road safety interventions that the car industry supports are based on sound evidence of effectiveness.
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