May 2010

General Election

Following the General Election held on Thursday 6 May which resulted in a Hung Parliament, the Westminster Parliament now has a Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.

Philip Hammond MP has been appointed the new Secretary of State for Transport. Mr Hammond has been MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997.

PACTS will have information on the website about other Transport ministers once it is available.

Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS has already written to the new Secretary of State urging him to make the publication of the road casualty reduction strategy a priority in the coming months.  To read the full letter go to

PACTS has begun contacting newly elected MPs who have already expressed an interest in transport, in order to encourage them to base their decision making on research-led evidence.

Don’t forget Parliamentary questions and business is added to the website every Friday.

Ash cloud

The eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull which caused the ash cloud over Europe in April and May created an unprecedented situation for aviation and in particular the UK with its greater proximity to the eruption in Iceland.

The CAA says on its website that the existing international guidance for ‘planes encountering volcanic ash is to AVOID AVOID AVOID so allowing for zero interaction between jet engines and ash. This guidance assumed there would continue to be flight paths which would allow avoidance but in this case there was not the space to do so.

The CAA aimed to get Britain’s skies reopened as quickly as possible but they could not do this without establishing what was safe and what wasn’t, based on robust scientific data from the current ash cloud. Their investigation brought manufacturers to agree an accurate and evidence based set of restrictions and agree engine tolerance levels to ash density. The CAA, which is the UK’s independent safety regulator, based its decision to re-open airspace on robust scientific evidence and data; within five hours of receiving agreement from manufacturers UK airspace was re-opened.

New skills for new railways

In March former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis welcomed the creation of a new National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering, which has been announced by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The academy will receive nearly £3m of Government investment through the Skills Funding Agency and has the support of organisations including Network Rail, Transport for London, Rail Freight Group, the Rail Industry Association and the Association of Train Operating Companies.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has also approved a Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, London, to be run by Crossrail. The new facility will receive £5m public funding and will develop new courses and qualifications, providing training for up to 1800 people a year.

New Chief Executive for Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The Department for Transport has appointed Sir Alan Massey as the new Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. He succeeded Peter Cardy who left his post as Chief Executive in April.

Alan Massey’s appointment follows an open competition. He joins the Agency following a long naval career, spending the last two years as the Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Home Command, bringing with him extensive leadership experience and knowledge of the maritime sector.

Still Safe At Seventy

According to a report, ‘Maintaining Safe Mobility for the Ageing Population’ published by the RAC Foundation, the 3.7 million drivers born before the Second World War are amongst the safest people on our roads, and forcing them to take compulsory retests will limit their mobility, be hard to police and do little to reduce accidents.

Public debate needs to focus on older drivers’ opportunities to self-regulate rather than on stressful retesting or licensing restrictions.

Ageing drivers do not have more accidents than the rest of the driving population – in fact their safety record is better than that of many young drivers – though their frailty means that when they are involved in collisions they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured. Only when they reach 80, and/or do very limited mileage, does the ageing process and infrequent driving increase their risk. These are a few of the findings of the report.

Most senior car owners self-regulate their driving behaviour and will not take to the roads in circumstances that make them feel uncomfortable. Identifying the few who do not limit their actions must be achieved without penalising the responsible majority, which is why the RAC Foundation would like to see:

Commenting on the report, Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“We are unlikely to see retesting at 70 because despite the myths older drivers are no less safe than other age groups. Retesting in this way could also contravene recently passed equality legislation.”
“Older drivers should be encouraged to do refresher training where the evidence shows it has benefits, but they should see this as an offer of help, not a compulsory measure which will leave them fearful of losing their licence and becoming increasingly house-bound.”

“Licence renewal at 70 provides a useful prompt for drivers to consider their health and abilities in relation to driving and this should be extended to the rest of the population through the ten-yearly renewal of the driving licence photo-card which we all have to do.”

“It is in everybody’s interest to keep older people mobile for as long as they are safe to do so. If driving is no longer appropriate or desirable, alternatives must be in place to allow people to retire from driving and still access the services they need for an active and healthy lifestyle.”

The Effects of Smarter Choice Programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns: Full Report

The full independent report commissioned to evaluate the results from the ‘Sustainable Travel Towns’ – Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester was published in March. These towns implemented packages of ‘Smarter Choice’ measures, which resulted in increases in cycling, walking and bus use, and decreases in car use.

10,000 people call for end to daylight robbery

Campaigners, including PACTS, are urging party leaders to see the light after 10,000 people put their name to a call for a change to daylight savings time which would cut road deaths, boost the economy and save energy. 10:10 delivered a letter to each party leader calling for their support.

10:10’s Lighter Later campaign is proposing that we move our clocks forward by an hour whilst keeping the spring/autumn changes, arguing that the change is one of the easiest wins available to the next Prime Minister. Lack of opposition to the move, which has traditionally come from the farming community, has strengthened 10:10’s call for change. The National Farmers Union (NFU) has stated that the reasons for their opposition have been “lost in history”. Even the NFU in Scotland has recently agreed that such a move would not be likely to unduly affect their members.

Mounting evidence shows that simply shifting our clocks forward by one hour will result in a significant reduction in electricity consumption, save lives on our roads, create jobs in the leisure and tourism sector, reduce crime and the fear of crime, and help us to become happier and healthier by giving us more opportunities to spend time outdoors. Moreover, it is estimated that the cost to the public purse would be no more than £5 million, the one-off price of communicating the change.

10:10 and a coalition of organisations, ranging from RoSPA to Travelodge, are proposing a three year trial.


Maddy – 07863 109472


Organisations supporting 10:10’s Lighter Later campaign

Brighter Future, RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), BRAKE, PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety), Tourism Alliance, Travelodge, Road Safety GB, CIHT (Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation), 38 Degrees, Sustrans.

PRAISE Report 3 Fitness to Drive

The third PRAISE Report is now available. The report looks into Fitness to Drive in the work-related context. A successful organisation will benefit in a number of ways from workplace health promotion, and it therefore makes sound business sense to ensure that employees are fit to drive. Driving for work is a demanding task and exposes employees to significant risks since conditions such as work related stress or sleepiness resulting from driving long hours can play a role. The report covers existing legislation, examples of initiatives and case studies, and recommendations to the EU, to EU Member States, and to employers.

Tackling the three main killers on the roads

ETSC has launched its 16th Road Safety PIN Flash measuring EU countries’ progress since 2001 in tackling excessive speed, drink driving and non-use of seat belts which remain the three main killers on EU roads. This update comes at a crucial time when the EU is discussing its priorities for the forthcoming EU Road Safety Action Programme for the next ten years.

Kerb Your Enthusiasm: Why shared space doesn’t always mean shared surface and other stories

PACTS is still on track to publish its Research Report on shared space in early June. Keep checking PACTS’ website to find out when the report is released.


Better, Safer Communities: the contribution from street design

6 October 2010, Royal Society of Medicine, One Wimpole Street, London

Over the last few years, there has been considerable professional, political and media interest in new approaches to street design. Shared space, de-cluttering, the naked street and simplified streetscape are all terms in common use. A key theme is the extent to which it is possible through the use of these – or other approaches – to manage the tension better between place and link, between mobility and liveability.

This conference, following on from the publication of PACTS’ report on “Shared Space” will offer an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing urban development. Can we ensure environments that are good for walking and cycling and offer improved safety? To what extent do current practices help or hinder the development of new approaches? How can we balance safety and other policy objectives such as the improvement of the public realm?

Join us at this conference to debate these issues and to hear from a range of key speakers including

John Dales, Urban Initiatives
Andy Best, Transport for London
Richard Kimberlee, University of the West of England
Sabine Lutz, Shared Space Institute
Alex Allen, Sustrans
Eleanor Besley, PACTS
Andy Cameron, WSP UK


Roads, casualties and public health: the open sewers of the 21st century?

21st Westminster Lecture and ETSC’s 12th European Transport Safety Lecture
Tuesday 23 November 2010, One Bird Cage Walk, SW1H 9JJ

Every century comes with a major public health warning about the harm that we inflict on ourselves. In Britain in the nineteenth century it was the diseases we spread by tolerating open sewers. In the twentieth century it was tobacco that we slowly learnt to love, then fear. In the twenty first century it is the way we tolerate how cars are allowed to travel on our roads. Accidents involving cars are responsible for more deaths among children and young adults in Britain than can be attributed to any other causes.

What remains the same over time is our intolerance of suffering, of ourselves and those around us. Slowly, one by one, the causes of the greatest damage to health are progressively removed. This lecture brings together maps, statistics and arguments to suggest that we should now view our road transport system as the greatest current avoidable toll on public health.

Danny Dorling is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. Danny’s current research interests include the visualization of spatial social structure through drawing atlases; the changing social, medical and political geographies of Britain as revealed by the 2001 Census.
This year, the lecture will be undertaken jointly with our sister organisation the European Transport Safety Council, making this the first ‘European Transport Safety Lecture’ to be held in the UK.

Stars in a speeding car

In Gillian Reeves’ latest entry on ‘Westminster Bridge’ speeding is discussed in response to some celebrities’ recent convictions for speeding.

CIHT Mott MacDonald Lecture: ‘Towards Zero Vision’ – A Norwegian perspective on Road Safety’

Deborah Sims, Project Director, Mott MacDonald

9 June 2010
This is a free event.
Venue: Space@119,
119 Britannia Walk, London, N1 7JE

In late 2009 the Norwegian Public Road Authority played host to a visit by the Area 4 team to see in depth the approach being taken to Road Safety and casualty reduction in Norway. This was a fascinating insight into a fresh approach to road crashes, injuries and deaths which starts from the premise that all crashes are preventable and regrettable, and that the role of the highway authority is to take a coordinated approach to all aspects of road safety with the goal of achieving zero deaths or serious injuries. The lecture will outline some of the radical measures being taken in Norway, how these are being linked and coordinated to provide a framework within which professionals can work, and the results that are being achieved. Consideration will be given to the pros and cons of applying a similar approach in the UK.

Location: Space @119 the conference area within the IHT offices at 119 Britannia Walk, London. The registration will take place downstairs from 6:00pm, and the event will start promptly 6:30, in the Crompton suite. Following the presentation there will be a networking and drinks reception. The event is due to finish at approximately 8.00pm.–a-norwegian-perspective-on-road-safety

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