The Transport Committee of the Greater London Authority have recently published a report on the success of London’s transport system in coping with the 2012 Olympics. I think it makes some relevant points that could be translated into the wider transport policy arena…
The report can be read here: http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2012%20transport%20legacy%20report%2027%20Feb_0.pdf
1.Collaboration – having a shared goal and real genuine collaboration across TfL and all transport operators. While strikingly obvious, we do not actually see consistent collaboration towards a shared goal in all aspects of transport policy and delivery. The deep alliances being introduced by Network Rail – the first being with South West Trains are showing that this approach is a much healthier way of running a transport network that can bring tangible benefits to passengers. More please!!
2. Passenger information – real time information and being able to speak to people on the ground – again, it seems obvious but it does not really happen to the scale required. For starters, real time information is critical and should be available at every station and bus stop as well as through mobile apps etc. This is a relatively cheap and very cost-effective way of improving journeys and keeping people moving.
3. Having an overarching plan – now I have form here as I played a part in the production of the West Midlands Local Transport Plan. Having a clear long term vision of what you want to achieve is critical; it will certainly help achieve better collaboration and everyone working to the same shared goals.
4. You can change travel behaviour – fascinating given the smarter choices agenda – it actually worked here in London during the Olympics. Bit of a holy grail this, if people can get sufficient information and options to be incentivised to actively change their travel behaviour then you can make a massive difference.
5. Stratford International station needs to be international! I think we could all agree with this!!
6. Preventative maintenance and rapid response teams keeping the transport system going are vital as a permanent fixture. It seems a shame/astonishing that this could be deployed for the Olympics but not permanently given the vital role of the transport network!!
7. River services can be a vital part of London’s transport network. I vividly remember 7 July 2005 and using the river service to get home from London Bridge to Greenwich. I went straight back to the train after but the river service provided an invaluable service for thousands of us on that awful day.
8. Accessibility – again, why was it the Olympics that spurred on the effort to provide real accessibility for everyone to the transport network?? How can this not be something to expect forever for everyone??
9. The appendices listing out the new and improved transport infrastructure demonstrates that we can and must invest in decent transport, but it is astonishing how much of it seems to be forgotten or glossed over. There have been a number of great schemes that have made a huge difference to a great many lives but somehow we don’t seem to hear that much of the real benefits it brings.
It is an interesting report and one that actually should be transplanted from its London 2012 context into the bigger picture of transport policy-making.