EVENT REVIEW: Travel Planning Masterclass at TfL, 55 Broadway – 17th March

Travel Planning was the order of the day at TfL’s images55 Broadway offices on the 17th March. Thirty delegates assembled to explore the latest travel planning guidance – receiving hints and tips on how to exercise this element successfully. RTPI London was delighted to be joined by Hannah Bishop (Principal Planner – TfL) and Jonathan Crabb (Head of Transport Planning for Development – South – URS) who provided their expertise in this field.

Hannah noted that the field of travel planning was born in America in the 1970s as a result of sharply-rising fuel prices. It was adopted by the Dutch in 1989 and later in 1995 in the UK. The first UK experience was in Nottinghamshire.

Hannah charted the history of London Travel Plan Policy, noting the guidance to date, aims to place the focus on development mitigation and the onus on the occupier to deliver that appropriate mitigation.

The benefits of travel planning were considered wide ranging from less congestion, and therefore improved safety on local roads, by promoting alternatives to the car, to increased opportunities for active healthy travel. If done well it was noted that plans can have a real benefit.

TfL’s new guidance is being temporarily hosted at http://www.lscp.org.uk/newwaytoplan/resources/file/TfL%20Travel%20Planning%20Guidance%202013.pdf, whilst it awaits a new home on the TfL website. The new guidance, developed through consultation, is split into 5 sections for reference. Hannah noted that the requirement for delivery and servicing plans has been removed from the travel plan and separate guidance is available. The aim of the refreshed guidance is to make it more user friendly and encourage travel planning to be less of a ‘cut and paste job’ and more relevant to the specific site.

This overarching aim of making the travel plan site specific was echoed by the second speaker Jonathan Crabb of URS. Jonathan noted that travel planning is not a Panacea, but can make the right use in the right place work more effectively. With strong tools, planners can make a difference in travel patterns.

Jonathan helpfully evidenced this stance with a virtual tour of his vast travel planning experience from around the UK and in London. It was noted through the experience of Colindale Hospital that having appropriate targets and measures can deliver results. In this case the car mode share reduction target was exceeded with more than forecast switching to alternative modes including the Underground.

The use of car club spaces was discussed through a question from the floor. The ability to ensure the spaces can be self sustaining through locating in areas of latent demand, where less than 1 space per unit is provided, supported through initial pump priming, was seen to be the solution to making this work in London.

The need to be realistic around your expectations was brought to light in the context of the Royston, Johnson Matthey travel plan, whereby some modes of transport are not an option for most employees. Therefore a more focused approach on other areas for change and consequential measures was pursued.

Personal Travel Planning was considered a beneficial tool. Work in Loughborough resulted in a 14% change in travel behaviour as a result of greater knowledge of travel options. The stages at which people are most influenced were seen to be where people move house or get a new job. If efforts could be focused on these life events positive results may occur.

The tools to assess travel plans were identified at the event, with Assessment Tool for Travel plan Building Testing and Evaluation (ATTrBuTE) available at www.attrbute.org.uk.

Strong measures, appropriate targets, action plans and monitoring were considered the building blocks for effective travel planning to take place.

Many thanks to TfL for hosting the event; to the volunteers who assisted and to our two speakers Hannah Bishop and Jonathan Crabb.

The RTPI London Centenary Series is supported by the following partners: Atkins, NLA, Colliers, TfL, URS, KDH Associates and AECOM.

Andrew Dorrian

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