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TRANSPORT POLICY

 

Introduction

The Democratic Party believes that people should enjoy economic and technological progress. A main theme of our transport policy, in which personal mobility plays an essential part, is a dramatic reduction in pollution and congestion.

Mobility

We believe that economic mobility is a catalyst to a full and enjoyable life and hence we would:

  • Improve mobility by road, rail, sea and air, locally, nationally and internationally by promoting and financing a fully integrated transport system

  • Reduce the cost of transport to promote mobility and release money into the economy

  • Assist new technologies relating to mobility, e.g. in-vehicle and extra-vehicle technology

  • Improve the experience of mobility by reducing pollution and anti-social behaviour

  • Make mobility of all types safer
  • Provide improved methods of mobility for all sectors of society
  • Ask people to take responsibility for lifestyle choices that contribute to traffic congestion

Pollution

Global warming is variable and research shows is caused by solar activity; human activity, especially road traffic, has a lesser effect on climate. However traffic pollution is a "Quality of Life" factor which impinges on mobility and environmental enjoyment. To improve matters we would:

  • Give substantial incentives for fitment of combustion-enhancement systems to all petrol and diesel vehicles

  • Make compulsory the fitment of pollution elimination systems to large diesel vehicles including buses, lorries and locomotives

  • Set stricter emissions standards for MoT testing for all vehicle sizes
  • Require MoT testing based on months/mileage whichever earlier
  • Support electric and hybrid electric cars, vans, buses
  • Promote new forms of low-pollution fuel e.g. fuel cell, solar-generated, cold fusion

  • Plant trees and build sound barriers as appropriate nationwide to absorb carbon dioxide and reduce visual and noise pollution of traffic on people and the landscape

  • Support alternative methods especially for freight e.g. rail, waterways, airships

Congestion

Nearly 80% of all miles travelled are by car and the proportion is rising. This is indicative of the need for personal mobility. However road congestion impedes economic and technological development and is a source of annoyance, pollution by fumes and noise, and danger to all road users; we would:

  • Ask motorists to take responsibility for lifestyle choices contributing to congestion

  • Require town planners to improve the management of traffic locally
  • Support Park & Ride schemes, light railway systems, car-sharing, public transport
  • Improve car-parking and integrate car journeys more closely with rail stations, bus services etc

  • Improve school bus services, cycle routes and road crossings for schoolchildren

  • Subsidise low-mileage car insurance policies
  • Improve traffic management on urban/through motorways
  • Make house buying more flexible to reduce long-distance commuting
  • Improve the environment to promote urban living and hence reduce commuting

  • Build by-passes and new routes in priority areas
  • Improve driving and vehicle standards to reduce accidents which cause congestion

  • Improve roads maintenance and roadworks management to reduce congestion

Public Transport

Mass transit systems are managed by private operators who respond to market forces and the priorities of shareholders, and these do not necessarily match local, national and international transport needs. The alternative to bringing these systems into public ownership is to impose public co-management in order to match public priorities with private ownership. We would:

  • Impose public co-management on all licensed private mass transit systems
  • Promote the integration of different modes of transport
  • Raise and implement the standards of service required
  • Subsidise mass transit systems where necessary to ensure adequate profitability

  • Provide grants for the improvement and extension of mass transit routes
  • Set higher standards of amenity and safety in mass transit vehicles
  • Ensure provision of cheap and secure car-parking at mass transit access points

  • Improve frequency and safety of out-of-hours services
  • Improve rural services using appropriate size vehicles
  • Improve rail infrastructure inter-city and to Europe
  • Facilitate growth and competition in air transport
  • Promote the indigenous shipping industry
  • Facilitate integration of mass transit systems through satellite navigation support

Transport Safety

The public depend on the authorities to impose tough safety standards to protect them whilst in transit; we would:

  • Impose stricter driving tests for new drivers
  • Require re-tests for drivers involved in accidents
  • Introduce MoTs based on months/mileage whichever earlier
  • Increase management of flow of motorway and key routes
  • Impose 50mph limits on some rural roads
  • Impose speed surveillance and traffic-calming methods where necessary

  • Impose higher safety standards for public transport and heavy goods vehicles

Taxation on Transport

Under recent Governments the motorist has been taxed disproportionately to the cost of maintaining the roads network. To restore a more equitable balance and provide incentives for greater mobility with less pollution and congestion we would:

  • Abolish the fuel tax escalator and introduce a phased, significant reduction in the cost of fuel

  • Use fuel tax revenue to fund incentives for pollution-reducing technologies

  • Use fuel tax revenue to fund co-management and subsidies of mass transit systems

  • Abolish vehicle excise duty
  • Replace vehicle excise duty with an enhanced MOT certificate to increase safety and reduce pollution

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