CycleSheffield’s response is below.
CycleSheffield response to Sheffield City Region Transport Strategy 2018-2040
Modelling the benefits of transport schemes
Currently the Sheffield City Region (SCR) creates or evaluates business cases for transport schemes which focus on the benefits of journey time savings for the existing transport modes. These business cases would be strengthened by capturing the wider benefits of transport schemes. We urge the SCR to monetise the health benefits of transport schemes that increase active travel using two tools: The World Health Organization (WHO) Health Economic Assessment Tool for walking and cycling (HEAT) and The Sickness Absence Reduction Tool (SART). The new transport strategy should include a commitment to use these for new transport schemes.
HEAT is able to monetise deaths prevented in the population as a result of increases in physical activity and SART is able to monetise the lower levels of sickness absence from work as a result of increases in physical activity. Both tools are recommended in the DfT’s Transport analysis guidance (WebTAG) and the TfL Business Case Development Manual (BCDM).
The outcomes of these two tools can be added to the benefit cost ratio (BCR) of a scheme, which is the amount of benefit expected to be produced compared to the cost of implementing the scheme.
More information about the tools is available here.
Encouraging or enabling active travel?
We welcome the positive comments about active travel in the strategy. However, the strategy repeatedly refers to ‘encouraging’ active or sustainable travel. For example; policy 5 ‘encourages sustainable travel choices’ on page 8, ‘encourage mode shift from car’ page 22, ‘encourage mode shift from sedentary modes’ on page 28, ‘transport measures that promote physical activity … should be encouraged’ on page 37, ‘encourage other forms of travel’, ‘we will encourage walking and cycling’ and ‘we must encourage our people to choose greener and healthier forms of transport’ on page 54, ‘Policy 7: Strategic Interventions. We will encourage people to adopt sustainable travel modes over private cars’ on page 56 and ‘encourage sustainable travel’ on page 57.
The transport strategy should at all times ‘enable’ rather than ‘encourage’ active transport. People will choose to make their journeys by walking or cycling if it feels safe, convenient and direct. Therefore the only way to increase the numbers of people walking and cycling is to enable it through improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure. ‘Encouraging’ active travel through promotional activities has proved totally ineffective at increasing cycling and walking rates which can be see by the flatlining modal share for walking and cycling in the region and across the UK.
More sustainable transport … through broadband?
The strategic intervention for Policy 7 states that ‘we will encourage people to adopt sustainable travel modes over private cars … This includes investment in communications technology to reduce the need to travel. The Superfast Broadband scheme in South Yorkshire is part of this’. Whilst we are sure there is a role that improved communications technology can play in allowing people not to travel in order to work, this intervention will not increase sustainable travel modes, unless staying at home is regarded as sustainable transport. This intervention should be moved to another section and more appropriate intervention should be identified.
Policy 4: Make our streets healthy places where people feel safe
We strongly support this policy. However, the cycle route intervention must be far more ambitious. Currently it states ‘major segregated cycle routes into the main urban centres of the city region will be identified to provide safe, direct and convenient access to our towns, cities and interchanges’. This intervention should be reworded as a commitment that ‘‘major segregated cycle routes into the main urban centres of the city region will be identified, funded and prioritized to provide safe, direct and convenient access to our towns, cities and interchanges’.
Electric bikes and electric cargo bike deliveries
Whilst the Transport Strategy looks at electric vehicles and the importance of adopting new transport technologies, for example in policies 8, 10 and 11, it does not mention electric bikes.
The Propensity to Cycle modelling shows that Sheffield could attain a cycle modal share of 24 to 27% if the use of e-bikes is factored in (current cycle model share in Sheffield is around 0.8% according to the most recent Sheffield City Council figures). Almost 30% of all new cycles sold in the Netherlands are ebikes and in the UK ebike sales rose from 5% of the bike market in 2015 to 12% in 2016.
E-bikes offer a credible option for people of all ages and abilities to undertake short to medium journeys by bike instead of by car with consequently far less road congestion and with air quality and health gains. The transport strategy should consider ways the city region could enable the take up of ebikes particularly with those who may currently consider cycling an unsuitable transport option. This must not be considered as an alternative to providing high quality cycle infrastructure, but rather a complementary measure.
The potential of electric cargo bikes is not considered when the Transport Strategy examines freight and logistics and final mile deliveries. These would be a viable alternative to vans and lorries within our towns and cities, zero emission vehicles which do not cause congestion problems.
The transport strategy should consider ways the city region could enable the use of e cargo bikes for final mile deliveries.