Transport is now the most important local issue across the country with people looking for radical solutions funded by higher public investment, according to one of the country's largest transport surveys published today by the Commission for Integrated Transport.
39% of the 2,200 people questioned in the MORI poll spontaneously cited a transport concern as the major local issue - even higher than crime. 67% said road congestion was a serious problem in their area.
39% of people said they were prepared to pay higher taxes to fund better public transport and 54% backed both congestion charging and motorway tolling if the money from them is ploughed back into transport improvements. No more than 30% were against.
Nearly half said that they would use public transport more if services were better, but they did not think the necessary investment was yet going into public transport. 44% said they would cycle more if the roads were safer and 65% said they would consider walking more if conditions such as pavement maintenance, safety and street lighting were improved.
Last year's CfIT survey showed that 92% supported better road maintenance. This is borne out this year with many more people dissatisfied with road and pavement maintenance than with public transport services.
The survey showed there is clear support for action to change behaviour patterns. Two thirds of people think parents should be persuaded not to take children to school by car, even among families with schoolchildren. 81% back more park and ride schemes, 69% want priority lanes for lorries on motorways and 68% are in favour of traffic calming in residential areas. 66% support the introduction of more bus priority measures.
The survey also shows that the public have some clear and basic priorities for transport. For car drivers, the priorities are action on congestion, pollution and the cost of using their vehicles.
Service improvements for buses and trains are similar focusing on punctuality, reliability and fares - with bus users demanding greater frequency too.
There is recognition that it will take several years to significantly improve the transport system, but 80% say much more investment is needed in public transport before measures to reduce car usage can be introduced.
Professor David Begg, the Chair of the Commission for Integrated Transport, said: "There are some powerful messages for Government here."
"The public are saying we want better transport, we want it quickly, we are willing to pay more to introduce it and then we will change our behaviour."
"The Government's transport priorities as expressed in the 10 Year Plan clearly match what the public are telling us and there is a strong recognition that services cannot be improved overnight."
"But the fact that the public are prepared to accept radical action and higher public investment is a clear sign of their impatience at the pace of change. I would urge the Government to listen to this message."
- MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 2,002 adults aged 16+, including a boosted sample to 490 in London. All interviews were conducted face-to-face in respondents homes between 9 June - 5 July 2001 in 204 enumeration districts throughout England. Data was weighted to reflect the correct geographic and demographic profile of the population.
- The full report is published on the CfIT website at www.cfit.gov.uk
HIGHLIGHTS OF MORI'S CFIT SURVEY
- Transport is the most important local issue across the country - with 39% spontaneously citing it as the major concern
- This is even more than for crime and local services
- Congestion is a local problem for 67%
- And 68% say traffic congestion is going to get worse in the next 10 years
- 39% are prepared to pay higher taxes for improved public transport
- Over half support congestion charging for city centres if the revenue was spent on improving local transport
- Half support motorway tolling if, at the same time, VED is abolished or the price of petrol reduced
- More park and ride schemes are backed by eight out of ten people (81%)
- Two thirds of people think parents should be persuaded not to take children to school by car
- Seven out of ten (69%) back motorway priority lanes for HGVs
- 70% want motorways widened where there is a lot of congestion
- 68% want traffic calming in residential areas
- Nearly as many oppose building new motorways (37%) as support them (40%)
- However, support for new motorways is up 6% since last year while opposition has gone down 9%
- 8 in 10 believe much more investment in public transport is needed before measures to reduce car usage should be introduced
- 6 in 10 are unhappy with the cost of using and owning a car
- Only around 1 in 7 think the necessary investment is being made in the railways
- Punctuality and reliability of trains is the most important of all transport issues that need addressing for a quarter of people
- 42% think that the quality and performance of train services will improve over the next ten years
- The cost of fares is the main reason stopping people using rail services more
- 9 in 10 believe all new public transport services should be made easy to use for everyone, including disabled and elderly people, even if this makes the services more expensive
- Safety will improve over the next ten years according to half
- 7 in 10, in the wake of Hatfield, support stronger public control of the railway
- 45% of people are satisfied with their local bus services although almost half would use their car less if the services were better
- Eight out of ten want to see the number and frequency of services increased
- 72% want to see night and off peak services increased
- Two in three support more bus priority measures
- 63% would travel by public transport more if the services were better connected
CYCLING AND WALKING
- 44% would cycle more if roads were safer
- 65% said they would consider walking more if things like pavement maintenance, safety and street lighting were improved.
- Two thirds of people think parents should take their children to school by public transport, walking or cycling instead of using the car