Transport for the North (TfN) has set out its Major Roads Report strategy that states policy measures to reduce travel by car and the future investment needed to make roads less carbon intensive.
The report highlights how highways, including footpaths and cycleways as well as roads, are part of every journey made – essential for getting to work, school and leisure opportunities and for the deliveries needed for homes and businesses.
It also sets out the scale of the challenge as TfN looks to enhance the road network’s safety and reduce its environmental impact.
It reveals that:
- 97% of personal journeys in the North of England use the region’s highways.
- Of these, 61% are by car or taxi, 26% walking, 9% on buses and 2% cycling.
- Just under 90% of car trips are under 10 kilometres.
- 88% of freight movements in our region use roads.
- Commuting and business trips account for around one-third of carbon emissions from cars.
In the North of England, more than 95% of the 26 million tonnes of transport-related carbon emissions per year are from road transport.
On average, rural residents drive more than twice as far per year as people living in urban areas and are more dependent on private transport to access jobs, education, and other essential services.
The report also aligns to the recently published Transport Decarbonisation Strategy for the North of England.
That strategy, and the Major Roads Report, state that policy measures to reduce travel by car, and future investment to make the use of our roads less carbon intensive, will be vital in meeting ambitious emission reduction targets.
TfN analysis of what is required to meet the goal of near-zero carbon emissions from surface transport in the North of England by 2045 reveals that 55% of all new car sales need to be zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2025.
Road transport distances must be reduced
It also said the distances travelled by car, van and HGV must be reduced.
Martin Tugwell, chief executive of Transport for the North, said: “In the last century motorised transport revolutionised our way of life, and as we move towards the second quarter of the 21st century our highways will continue to be a fundamental part of our transport system.
“However, as we look to address climate change, we will need to make choices about how we use the available highway space, with greater priority given to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
“We will also need to consider and agree on how we will pay for investment and indeed on how we pay to use our roads.”
Tugwell said there is a need to do things differently, but ensure the way forward does not disadvantage those where travelling by car is the only practical option.
He added: “If we’re to have that debate then we must seize the opportunity to look at how the relative cost of motoring, bus travel and rail travel influences the choices we make.
“For only by looking at transport in the round will we be able to ensure that our investment choices are sustainable for the longer term.
“As the ‘One Voice’ for the North, TfN is committed to ensuring that our roads are fit for purpose.
“We will work with the Government and its agencies to identify a way forward that is fair and sustainable, as part of a multimodal transport system that is truly fit for purpose.”