16/12/2016

Peter James & Partners News 28

TRANSPORT NEWS

A new study into transport preferences has found individual car use is decreasing among younger people (under-35s), while rail ridership is increasing across all age groups, in spite of the 2008 financial crash and above-inflation rail ticket costs. The Independent Transport Commission looked at at 1995-2014 data to produce its report. Using National Travel Survey data, the findings identify the pattern of road and rail travel trends in England between 1995 and 2014. The main findings of the report found that total miles travelleved by English residents fell sharply in 2008-09 and stabalished at this lower level, and the weekly distance travelled is now 10% lower than in the mid-2000’s.

At the same time, English residents are taking slightly fewer trips overall compared to 1995, but the average trip is now longer in terms of time and distance. Although the aggregate national traffic levels are rising, individual car driving mileage per adult has declined significantly, from 1995 to 2014. Individual car use amongst younger people, especially men under 35, is falling fastest. At the same time there has been a significant rise in the personal car driving mileage (and licence holding) of older women (over 60).

Drink drive campaign THINK! Is targeting young men during the Christmas period as they account for nearly two-thirds of fatalities. The campaign will target young men through Facebook, Twitter and Spotify, with 5.4 million British males aged 25 to 34 on Facebook alone. A new advert will be posted on Twitter or Facebook everyday throughout December playing on the concept of FOMO ‘fear of missing out’. The adverts aim to make it clear to young men that they have plenty to live for the following day, which they may not see if they choose to have a second drink.

Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world and deaths from drink driving have fallen significantly over the last 30 years, but it is still responsible for the deaths of 5 people every week. This Christmas we are specifically targeting the biggest perpetrators of this devastating crime – young men, but our message to everyone remains the same: don’t drink and drive.”

 Crossrail Minister takes a ride on the new Elizabeth line train as testing is set to move to London for further test runs on the Shenfield to Liverpool Street line. Taking a tour of Bombarbier’s V Shop facility in Derby, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad met Bombardier apprentices and saw some of the skills and experience they are gaining delivering the new Elizabeth line trains.

The Crossrail Minister said: “The new Elizabeth line trains are a great showcase of British design and manufacturing and I am delighted to take my first ride on the trains that will be running on part of the network from May next year.” “The project is also investing in the next generation of underground construction workers. The skills gained by apprentices here at Bombardier as well as over 600 across the project, will be crucial in helping build the transport network of the future, such as HS2.”

 There have been calls for more accessibility focus when developing new transport interchanges. Campaigners say Political will and ring fenced funding are crucial to ensuring accessibility for disabled and older people are fully taken into account. “There is no excuse in 2016,” commented campaign group Transport for All director Faryal Velmi. “Every single new transport interchange we build needs to be fully accessible with step free access.”

She said interchanges can be a big source of frustration for disabled and older Londoners, adding that it is vital to involve these groups in the development and design process for new projects. “They are the experts in knowing what works for them,” she said. Delegates also heard about the value of ‘quick wins’ such as changing the lighting in stations to be friendlier to visually impaired travellers and ensuring good quality signage to aid wayfinding.

HIGHWAYS & INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Track and train operations will be merged together in new franchises under plans announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. This will mean that management teams, which will include representatives from train operating companies, will look after infrastructure maintenance. This in turn could improve the high amount of delays experienced by many on the rails, and significantly improve customer satisfaction. However, Unions fear the move signals the start of a privatisation of railway infrastructure and a return to the Railtrack model, which ended badly two decades ago. But sector specialists argue that the announcement is more about encouraging closer working on the railways and should be welcomed.

A new East West Rail company has also been announced that will look after the proposed Oxford to Cambridge route. The company would deliver design, construction and operation separately from Network Rail. Chris Grayling says: “We want to see closer working across the industry, to resolve problems more quickly and put the needs of the passenger first. When things go wrong, a lack of a joined up approach can make things much worse. Our railway is much better run by one joined up team of people.”

Details of where nearly £92Bn of transport investment will be spent over the life of the Parliament have been published by HM Treasury and the Infrastructure & Projects Authority. The National Infrastructure Construction Pipeline sets out where £300Bn of infrastructure spending will be made across 15 sectors including energy, transport and utility investments. The largest investment listed in the Pipeline is High Speed 2, which will be around £55.7Bn. Rail maintenance and renewals will be receiving less, at around £22Bn, with Crossrail coming in at £14.5Bn.

Highways England’s regional investment programme of 60 schemes comes in at just under £3.4Bn, with £4Bn for renewals. The Smart Motorway Programme of 19 schemes is valued at £2.4Bn and modernisation of four Underground lines in London is valued at nearly £2.4Bn. Roads and local transport schemes are set to receive £1.6Bn of investment. Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “The infrastructure pipeline is a crucial tool that enables companies to plan ahead and deliver optimal outcomes for clients, taxpayers, and communities.”

 A new railway has opened up between Oxford’s central station and Oxford Parkway, which is being described as a big step forward towards delivering a much called for East-West Rail project to Cambridge. The link also completes a new route connecting central Oxford with London Marylebone – the first new railway to the capital from a major British city in over a century. Pictured is the Wolvercote tunnel near Oxford, which was refurbished to accommodate the new line.

This £320M project, conceived by Chiltern Railways and delivered by Network Rail, also saw a station at Oxford Parkway – on the city’s outskirts – and another at Bicester Village open in October last year. The new route now provides an alternative way of travelling into London for Oxford commuters, who can expect journey times of around an hour.

STRUCTURES NEWS

 A footbridge on the A127 in Southend has been successfully removed by Eurovia Contracting and will allow work on a £6.5 million junction upgrade to progress. The main structure was removed last weekend with operatives returning on Sunday night to take away the stepped ramps either side. The Kent Elms footbridge was removed to make way for a new one, which has accessible ramps and new stairs.

Tony Cox, the councillor responsible for transport in Southend, said: “Removing the bridge at Kent Elms is the first major milestone in this important £6.5m project and I am glad that the work was carried out both professionally and quickly over the weekend. Our contractors, Eurovia, were able to finish both mornings 90 minutes ahead of schedule which minimised any unnecessary disruptions.”

MIDDLE EAST NEWS

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have agreed to commission a private sector-led feasibility study of proposals for a second causeway linking the two countries. The proposed new causeway would run parallel to the King Fahd Causeway and aim to alleviate traffic pressure on the existing road link. Arabian Business reported last year that plans for a second causeway including both road and rail infrastructure had been escalated due to current high levels of congestion on the King Fahd Causeway.

In an interview last October, Kamal Bin Ahmed, Bahrain’s minister of transportation and telecommunications said, “it made economic sense” for a new causeway to combine road and rail access to eliminate the need to build two costly bridges. The two rulers described the agreement as a “milestone” in progressing long awaited plans and evidence of “strong fraternal relations” between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Emirates airline has said it expects the end of this month to be its busiest of 2016, as travellers head home or abroad for the holiday season. A total of 307,000 passengers are expected to pass through Emirates’ Concourses and Terminal 3 between December 14-17, according to the latest booking figures. To make the journey as seamless and trouble-free as possible at the airport, Emirates said it is deploying extra staff to assist customers.

Emirates is also reminding customers to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before flight departure, and plan extra time to get to the airport to avoid heavy traffic during the holiday period. Customers are also urged to check-in online before departure. This was recently extended to 48 hours to 90 minutes before departure.

Dubai is reportedly planning to spend $35.7 billion to develop its second airport and the Dubai South logistics hub, with the emirate likely to rely on debt funding for a significant part of the financing. Investments will be made in Dubai World Central and associated facilities, including Al Maktoum International airport, over the next 12 years. Sources close to the matter are saying that the spending plan is outlined in documents inviting banks to bid for a $3 billion loan the government is seeking to raise for initial expansion.

Last month, Dubai’s government announced plans for an initial $3 billion financing deal to support the expansion of the emirate’s two international airports. As part of the funding, the airports are set to grow to serve up to 146 million passengers by 2025. The financing will be raised by a consortium of Dubai state entities, comprising of the Department of Finance, state-owned fund Investment Corporation of Dubai, and the Dubai Aviation City Corporation.

Sources : Local Transport Today, Transport Xtra, Jobs in Transport, Department for Transport, RAC Foundation, Highways England, Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation, Institution of Structural Engineers, LinkedIn, Transport Planning Society, ArabianBusiness.com, Gulf News, The Telegraph.