In August 2022, the Local Government Association commissioned a programme of Action Learning Sets (ALS) that will bring together local authority councillors and officers to address challenges they currently face relating to decarbonising transport. The blog summarises the outcome of the third session.
As we pass the halfway point, all groups have been making the most of the sessions and have been discussing a diverse range of topics. This blog summarises the discussions from session three. All groups have provided similar feedback over the value of the ALS process, including:
- it is comforting to know everyone is in the same boat and facing very similar challenges
- it is also very interesting to hear about topics even if they don’t apply directly to everyone.
Challenges and enablers
The following challenges were discussed during the third ALS session:
What can I do to encourage young people to see public transport as a viable option for their travel needs?
As young people gain independence and have new opportunities presented to them such as learning to drive, how can public transport be attractive.
- Understand the role of social media and celebrity endorsement – how could this help market public transport?
- When young people make the jump up into an adult fare, are they in a place where they can afford that? Could there be a young person’s fare available?
- Public transport needs to be ‘sexy’ to make it attractive. Could other features such as free WIFI or USB Charging make it more attractive?
- How can we bring different types of transport into play, e.g. micromobility for access that could make it ‘cool’ for young people.
How do we show due-diligence when considering new technologies and approaches?
With lots of new opportunities to decarbonise on the horizon, it can be challenging to manage your risks whilst stepping outside the box.
- Look into industry standard certification when investigating into a new idea to check something is as it seems.
- Is there a way of knowledge sharing with groups who have tested new ideas to share experiences with those interested?
- Is it possible to trial or pilot an idea before fully installing it to test it out?
How do we decarbonise transport in rural areas in an equitable way?
What role can local authorities play to champion this? Is it fair to accept the view that rural areas should be the last to decarbonise?
- How is success measured with regards to equality and how could that help to understand how a just decarbonisation can be achieved for rural areas?
- With the lack of funding available for electric vehicles, could car clubs have a part to play?
- Is there anything we can learn from how people lived and travelled in the past?
- Where could grass roots community action take place or where has it taken place in the past that could support this?
- Motivation and willingness can help accelerate change: how can rural areas be motivated?
- Could we adopt an approach of taking actions of least regret?
- What role does active travel have to play?
How do we avert the crisis of building new roads?
How can we convince people that we can facilitate growth without relying on new highway construction?
- Why are we building a road, for urban extension? What are the objectives of the urban extension? Is it really needed? Could brownfield sites be used instead?
- Are we hanging too much onto legacy schemes? Why is it hard for people to give these schemes up?
- It is key to understand the different viewpoints for the scheme, what is the role of engagement in this?
- Could case studies of more sustainable options help?
- Is there a predict and provide mentality?
What makes a really good mobility hub, where you bring your sustainable travel options together?
What are the right ingredients? Does this differ between urban and rural areas? What is the right setting? How do you make it a reality?
- What is the mobility hub trying to solve? Is the problem around air quality, parking, congestion, something else?
- What modes should / can you include in your mobility hub? What behaviours are you trying to encourage? Is there a hierarchy of modes you are trying to encourage for journeys, e.g. walking, cycling, rail, bus, electric vehicle, ICE vehicles?
- Do hubs support person transport as well as freight deliveries?
- What other services need to be there to make it successful, e.g. coffee shops, Amazon lockers, etc.?
- How close do people need to live to these hubs for them to be functional? Can you link these with your land-use plans, e.g. transit-oriented developments?
- Can you use existing assets, e.g. park and ride sites, schools, other assets?
- Can these be developed with support from commercial partners, e.g. local shops, supermarkets?
- What are the views of bus operators?
What does it take to make transport sustainable in the future, in light of bus service challenges?
Buses aren’t always percieved to be working well in many places, what can we do about this?
- How can we better partner with bus companies to improve reliability?
- What affect does the lack of funding have?
- What partners are out there with a suitable skillset?
- Have bus operators promised more than they can deliver?
- Why do people not want to drive the buses?
What are the alternatives for last mile delivery?
Especially in a setting for freight going to ports, what alternatives are available here?
- Is there an incentive for people making the deliveries?
- How could mobility hub funding or S106 support here?
- Collaboration with ports is key, have you engaged with them about their freight and where it is coming from?
How should colleagues manage expectations about EV charge points?
Everyone with an EV wants a charging point outside their house even if they don’t have a drive, but how do we manage these expectations?
- What existing infrastructure is already available to support EV charging points, has this been reviewed?
- Could you collaborate with electricity providers?
- What other alternatives could come into play, car sharing?
- Is there funding available to support this?
- Has a hierarchy of EV charging services you wish to provide been established? Who should be prioritised?
- How could reaching out to other councils doing similar work support this challenge?
- What would enough charge points look like?
How can you work efficiently with a two-tier authority to holistically approach topics like active travel?
How to challenge different thinking across a two-tier authority, such as an ambition for higher levels of cyclists contrasting a slow move towards providing active travel infrastructure?
- How could external advisors, such as Active Travel England, help to understand what improvements are required?
- What is the role of the community infrastructure levy?
- Do you know what the right thing to do is, and if so do you know how to do it?
- Are there other local authorities that you could use as a model?