Have Your Say on Transport and Accessibility of Public Services
|Published: 30th July 2012 09:43|
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee is launching a new inquiry into ‘Transport and the accessibility of public services.'
The Department for Transport has published annual accessibility statistics since 2007. Data for 2010 show that the proportion of people able to access key services by public transport/walking in a ‘reasonable' time was highest for employment centres (82%) and the lowest was to hospitals (31%).
A greater proportion of the ‘urban population' could access key services in a ‘reasonable time' than the ‘rural population'. Accessibility also varied by region.
The "Transport and the accessibility of public services" inquiry will examine how public services planning reflects people's ability to get access to the sorts of services outlined above. It will consider, in the context of the transport infrastructure people need, whether Government policy is ensuring that they can get access to key services.
The inquiry will specifically look at:
- How are the Government's current transport policies affecting the accessibility of public services? Can people get to key services at reasonable cost, in reasonable time and with reasonable ease?
- Are other policies (such as planning, education, health, welfare and work etc) affecting the accessibility of public services and the environment?
- Do decisions on the location of public services adequately reflect the public transport that is in place to allow people to access them?
- Are environmental impacts considered when planning where to build/position public services? e.g. if a hospital is built far away from public transport links, do you think planners consider the environmental impact of people using cars/taxis to access it? How significant do you think this is to deciding where public services should be?
- The Government has asked that the accessibility of public services is considered when planning local transport links, do you think this is working? Do you think that the Department for Transport has taken forward the accessibility agenda?
- How should you measure how accessible a public service is by public transport?
- When planning transport infrastructure, do you think the social and accessibility needs conflicts with environmental considerations?
- Would a measure of the transport accessibility of key public services, in a similar manner as ‘fuel poverty', be useful for policy-making? If so, how do you think it should be measures?
- Do you think that having broadband networks and the internet is lessening the need for transport infrastructure to access public services?
The Committee would like to receive evidence from organisations and members of the public, setting out their views on these particularly issues, but also on accessibility to public services as a whole. The deadline for submitting evidence is the 7th September 2012 and more information on preparing submissions is set out below.
A report in 2003 by the then Social Exclusion Unit found that problems with transport provision and the location of services can reinforce social exclusion by preventing people from accessing key local services or activities, such as jobs, learning, healthcare, food shopping or leisure.The report was mainly concerned with the accessibility of local services and activities (i.e. whether people get to key services at reasonable cost, in reasonable time and with reasonable ease) and identified five barriers to accessing services: the availability and physical accessibility of transport, cost of transport, services and activities located in inaccessible places, safety and security, and travel horizons.
The Transport Studies Unit has recently concluded a research project that aimed to "promote interdisciplinary collaboration and capacity building to better equip researchers, policymakers and practitioners to address the social challenges in transport now and in the future within the UK context". The work identified a number of gaps in understanding of the ‘social impacts' of transport and urged greater engagement between research and policy-makers in this area. A study by the Campaign for Better Transport found that UK cities are among the most car dependent in Europe.
How to submit evidence to the Committee
Each submission should ideally:
- Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
- Have numbered paragraphs; and
- Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.
A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to email@example.com and marked ‘Transport and the accessibility of public services'. An additional paper copy should be sent to: Clerk of the Committee, Environmental Audit CommitteeHouse of Commons, 7 MillbankLondon, SW1P 3JA.
It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee's report can be sent to you upon publication. A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:
Guide for Witnesses to House of Commons Select Committees ( PDF 431 KB)