As in other aspects of York Civic Trust’s work, we offer our contributions on transport and traffic as a critical friend of City of York Council, providing expertise to complement the Council’s own skills.
Our work on transport is led by Professor Tony May, Emeritus Professor of Transport Engineering at the University of Leeds, who has fifty years’ experience in the development of urban transport policy. He in turn draws on the specialist skills of a number of Trust members, whose expertise includes environmental and safety impacts, public transport operation, traffic signal control and transport modelling. We also work closely with specialist groups, including York Bus Forum, York Cycling Campaign, York Environment Forum and York Walk Cycle Forum to share skills and avoid duplicating our efforts.
York Civic Trust has recently run a major City wide transport consultation to find out what residents think are the key issues in York and how to tackle them.
Partnering with the York Environment Forum and York Bus Forum, The Trust conducted this survey throughout September 2019.
The surveys asked residents and those commuting into York to work to outline what they feel are current issues with transport in the City, how and why they move around the City and how they would like to see transport changed in the future.
The results of the surveys of residents, commuters and visitors are now available:
The response to the survey will feed into the Council’s new Local Transport Plan, work on which is expected to be started next year.
This consultation was funded by York Civic Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, York Environment Forum, York Bus Forum and York BID.
Citizens’ Transport Forum
Working with York Bus Forum and York Environment Forum, we have established a Citizens’ Transport Forum, drawn from those who completed our September 2019 survey. Citizens’ Transport Forums enable a representative group of residents to come together to agree on transport policy. They are still novel; the first UK Transport Forum was held in Cambridge in 2019.
We invited all 1,388 residents who replied to our survey to volunteer to take part in the Forum. 440 did so, and from these we selected 100 to join the Forum. The Forum met for the first time in February 2020 in three identical 3 hour sessions of around 35 participants in five groups, each with a volunteer facilitator. Each session focused in turn on problems, policy objectives and possible strategies. Findings were compared in short feedback sessions. Facilitators and volunteer reporters recorded all points made, which were collated into a draft report sent to all participants for comment. 30% responded, commenting also on the conduct of the Forum. A report of the key findings can be downloaded here.
40 members of York’s Citizens’ Transport Forum met by Zoom in early December 2020 to discuss their experiences since their initial meetings in February, and how the Covid-19 pandemic might have affected their views. They congratulated the Council on the speed with which it developed measures to support active travel, in particular the extension of foot streets and of foot street hours. They also welcomed the Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the Groves. They want to see streets treated first and foremost as places where people live. Members would like to regain the benefits of reduced traffic, noise and pollution achieved during the initial lockdown. In their view, increases in working from home and in online shopping are here to stay but, unless action is taken, the most serious transport problems in York will continue to be congestion, air pollution and impacts on climate change.
Forum members confirmed their recommendations made in March for York’s new Local Transport Plan. They want the new Plan to ensure that York’s transport system is more efficient and less polluting, enhances safety, public health and equality of access, and supports the recovery of York’s economy. They argue that the strategy should improve public transport, walking and cycling and achieve a reduction in car travel especially in congested and sensitive areas of the city. A report of the key findings of this December 2020 Citizens’ Transport Forum can be downloaded here.
We have also reviewed how representative the Forum is, and made suggestions for ways of broadening its coverage. We hope to be able to work with the Council in involving the Forum at key stages in the preparation of its new Local Transport Plan, such as selecting and assessing policy measures, developing an implementation plan and reviewing achievements.