D – Creating a Better Transport System
7.1 Our commitments and key functions
An effective transport system is vital for Leicestershire people and businesses. For success, we must provide access to facilities and services in a safe and convenient manner, at the same time minimising the environmental harm which transport can cause. We must also ensure that the transport system supports the wider objectives of the County Council, including those related to delivering quality services, health and education.
Our strategies are detailed in the two Local Transport Plans (LTPs) covering Leicestershire which set out policies and programmes for the five-year period to 2006. Progress on these is reported in the Annual Progress Reports (APRs), which also act as bid documents to Government to confirm provisionally allocated capital funding for the coming year.
The LTPs translate policy objectives into service delivery programmes. Our key functions in transport are to:
- Maintain Leicestershire’s 4000km of highways, with the many street lights, traffic signals and bridges, in good condition;
- Improve the highway network, particularly by carrying out local safety schemes, traffic calming, traffic management and other measures to reduce road accident casualties and improve the environment;
- Improve walking and cycling routes and road crossings, both to encourage more walking and cycling and to reduce road accident casualties;
- Support public transport by direct subsidy to local bus and rail services and community transport, by improving passenger information and by providing improved bus infrastructure and interchange;
- Support the mobility of elderly and disabled people by jointly funding a countywide concessionary travel scheme with the district councils;
- Work with schools and businesses on travel planning designed to reduce the environmental impact of transport and with schools and others to deliver road safety education;
- Ensure that the impact of new housing and commercial developments on the transport network is minimised.
7.2 Our Priorities
The main priorities, which have been informed by major consultation on the two recent Best Value reviews and reinforced by consultation on the Leicestershire Community Strategy, are:
- To improve highway services by successfully carrying through the key, recommendations of the Best Value review of the service carried out in 2001/02;
- To improve the availability and quality of bus services, by carrying through the key recommendations of the Best Value review of the service carried out in 2001/02;
- To bring about a further reduction in road accident casualties.
This Section assesses our progress against these three priorities and sets out our commitments for moving them forward in 2003/04. More detailed analysis including other supporting activities is contained in the Highways and Transportation Service Plan, local action plans and LTP/APRs.
Priority – Improving highway services
A Best Value review of Highway Network Management was completed and inspected in 2002. The review has a clear action plan to bring about defined improvements and we now have management arrangements in place to deliver that. We need to ensure that we meet the delivery targets whilst ensuring that all staff have ownership of the new approaches.
7.3 Progress to Date
Our progress against key priorities for highways identified for 2002/03 is as follows:
- Leicestershire APR rating improved from ‘below average’ in 2001 to ‘average’ in 2002 while Central Leicestershire APR stayed at ‘average’;
- Draft Travel Plan for County Hall approved for consultation by Corporate Management Team in March 2003;
- Funds allocated to tackle the backlog of highway maintenance resulted in improvements in the standard of principal and unclassified roads;
- Revised winter maintenance routes and the increasing use of computerised ice prediction systems has generated improvements in our responses to freezing conditions and expected savings are approximately £150,000;
- Most of the actions from the Highways Maintenance Review have been completed. The publishing of a Highway Network Management Strategy document is due to be completed during 2003/04;
- Key actions arising from the Best Value Review of Highway Network Management were implemented at 1 April 2003. Good progress is also being made on most of the remaining actions;
- The Customer Care Module of the Highway Management System will be purchased in June 2003. This should result in improvements in dealing with customer enquiries by monitoring and managing public contacts.
7.4 Current Issues
Our comparative performance with regard to the condition of roads is very difficult to judge. This is because authorities are permitted to use different definitions of the main performance indicators and also because there have been recent Government changes in the definitions and methods of calculation. We do know that in 2001/02, we had slightly below average performance for the proportion of non-principal roads with significant defects. Our performance in 2002/03 for all road classes was close to target figures, although the published figures appear to show a deterioration due to definition changes (see Appendix 5 for details). In practice, this does mean that the target of halting the deterioration in the condition of main roads by 2004 is being achieved. Equally, a positive start has been made to removing the backlog of worn out carriageways by 2010. However, this still represents a major challenge as high inflation within the industry is leading towards completion of less resurfacing schemes.
Our Leicestershire LTP APR in 2002 was judged the 5th most improved in the country, moving us up into the ‘average’ band nationally. We need to ensure that this progress is maintained this year.
7.5 Priorities for 2003/04 and beyond
Our key priorities for the coming year in improving highway services are to:
- Provide better information for the public and stakeholders by publishing a Highway Charter by autumn 2003;
- Increase user satisfaction with the service from 36% in 2001 to at least 55% by 2006 by improving information about planned roadworks and contact information for customers;
- Set up Local Highway Forums during summer 2003;
- Develop and introduce the Highways Management System Customer Care module which will result in improvements in contact arrangements for the general public;
- Develop and agree by the end of 2003/04 a revised Highway Network Management Strategy following publication of the new national code of practice;
- Develop during 2003/04 and implement during 2005 a new procurement strategy for the future delivery of Highway Network Management Services;
- Reassess by spring 2004 our procedures for the development of the highway improvement programme and assessment of scheme outcomes in order to improve the delivery of the objectives and targets in the LTPs and APRs.
Priority – Improving the availability and quality of bus services
A Best Value review of public transport services was completed in November 2001. The major priorities identified by the review have been reflected in the Council’s Community Strategy. These focus on providing 95% coverage of hourly bus services, providing appropriate access to facilities for those without an hourly bus service, providing countywide coverage of accessible transport services for people with mobility impairments and providing better access to health services by public transport. Within this framework the Medium Term Corporate Strategy focuses on providing an hourly bus service to 95% of Leicestershire people whilst at the same time improving service quality.
7.6 Progress to Date
Progress in 2002/03 in implementing the key priorities identified in the Best Value review is summarised below:
- In 2002/03 61% of rural households (up from 58% in 2001/02) and 91% of all households (up from 89% in 2001/02) were within a 13 minute walk of hourly or better bus service;
- We are on target with the implementation plan for new community transport services to improve transport for the more rural areas;
- Although there has been some slippage, negotiations with stakeholders over the introduction of a bus passenger information strategy are now at an advanced stage and we expect formal agreement in summer 2003;
- We are on target with the implementation plan to expand accessible transport services for people with mobility impairments to give countywide coverage.
7.7 Current issues
In 2000/01 we were in the best 25% of comparable authorities for satisfaction with local bus services, at 65% and close to the best 25% for satisfaction with the provision of public transport information, at 69%. We have set targets for 2003/04 to improve our position significantly from there.
We need to ensure that we meet the 95% target for network coverage. Progress towards this has been good and is on target, but there is continuing inflation in the market price for contract bus services and concern that the networks of commercially run bus services are still not stable.
7.8 Priorities for 2003/04 and beyond
Our key priorities for the coming year in improving the availability and quality of bus services are to:
- Increase the percentage of households within a 13 minute walk of an hourly or better daytime bus service to 95% by 2004;
- Increase user satisfaction with bus service information from 69% in 2001 to 73% in 2003/04 by introducing and delivering on a Bus Information Strategy, in partnership with the bus companies;
- Increase the percentage of users satisfied with local bus service quality from 65% in 2001 to 68% in 2003/04 by infrastructure improvements and other measures delivered through the Central Leicestershire, Loughborough and Hinckley Quality Bus Partnerships;
- Expand accessible transport services to achieve countywide coverage by the end of 2004;
- Provide new transport services for more rural areas ensuring that the 5% of residents not on the hourly bus network have appropriate access to services by 2004;
- Reduce traffic problems and provide motorists with a high quality bus service to the city centre by progressing the development of the Leicester West Transport Scheme to provisional Government acceptance by December 2003.
Priority – Reducing road accident casualties
We want to make travelling on Leicestershire’s roads even safer. We report on a variety of different road accident statistics and have LTP targets against them.
7.9 Progress to Date
We had one key priority in 2002/03 and this was to focus efforts on our challenging road safety targets with greater use of road safety cameras and a pilot programme of 20 mph zones outside schools.
Good progress has been made towards both the killed and seriously injured (KSI) and slight injury targets, but trunk roads and motorways remain a concern. The initial road safety camera programme is fully in place with 61,000 offences detected. Eighteen 20 mph zones were also put in place during the year.
7.10 Current Issues
In 2001/02, we stayed in the best 25% of comparable authorities for the low number of people killed or injured on the roads, improving our performance over 2000/01. However, due to a change in the reporting method, which now includes trunk roads and motorways as well as County roads, performance in 2002/03 appears to be significantly worse than this and worse than our targets for 2002/03. If the indicators had not changed, our performance would have shown further improvement over 2001/02, particularly with regard to slight injuries (see Appendix 5 for more detail).
In our Public Service Agreement with the Government, we have agreed targets for further stretching reductions in the numbers killed and seriously injured on County and trunk roads by 2005, as shown in the table below. KSI casualties for both trunk roads and motorways have increased from the 1994-98 average and we are following this up with the Highways Agency.
|Performance indicator||94-98 average||Actual 1999||Actual 2000||Actual 2001||Actual 2002||Target 2005|
|Numbers of killed or seriously injured casualties on County roads.||326||302||278||277||247||235|
|Numbers of killed or seriously injured casualties on trunk roads (excluding motorways).||59||61||42||70||
7.11 Priorities for 2003/04
Our key priority for the coming year in reducing road accident casualties is to implement the action plan in the PSA including a re-appraisal of our accident investigation and road safety education procedures to reduce killed and seriously injured casualties on both County Council and trunk roads in line with the PSA targets.
The target for the above is to reduce by 28% based on 1994-98 average in the numbers killed and seriously injured to 235 on County roads and 42 on trunk roads in 2005.
The safety camera scheme, promoted by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership will be developed further through the year.
Page Last Updated: 30 June 2003