The roads minister has challenged local authority transport bosses to go ‘further and faster’ to improve the safety of vulnerable road users and promote active travel.
Jesse Norman MP gave the keynote speech at the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport’s (ADEPT) 2018 Conference in Manchester on Thursday.
With 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed or injured last year, Mr Norman said road safety had to be at the heart of change, with local authorities working with government.
He challenged ADEPT members to meet the target in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) safety review for local councils to invest around 15% of their local transport infrastructure funding on cycling and walking.
Arguing that ‘getting from A to B’ is just one part of what a road network is for, Mr Norman said creating roads was not just about investment. Streetscapes need to be reconfigured to see more people benefiting from active forms of transport, he suggested.
He said roads can be ‘a means by which everyone, whatever their age, ability background or circumstances can get the most from where they live’.
The minister added: ‘And that can be the best jobs, it can be the best education opportunities, it can be people visiting their high streets without getting stuck in congestion, even possibly taking a stroll or taking some exercise on a bike without fear of getting knocked off, or speeding traffic, or noxious fumes.’
The theme of this year’s ADEPT conference was Shaping Places for Thriving Communities and the first day saw speakers from across the place-based sector.
ADEPT president Neil Gibson said: ‘Clearly, we are in a period of monumental change, with many of us facing unprecedented pressures on our budgets, resources and people.
‘Our conference this year, with its focus on shaping places, highlights both the challenges we face and the creative ways in which we respond, piloting innovation and building new partnerships. One of the best things about ADEPT members is their willingness to embrace change, and in an uncertain landscape, this has never served us so well.’