Record of a one-day seminar, Wednesday 21st March 2018
Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building.
Cardiff faces the multiple challenges of being the highest growth city outside London (both population and jobs), increasingly stringent and legally enforceable air quality controls, growing traffic congestion, and higher expectations of improved quality of life from its residents all in a critical (for Wales) business environment. The city council requested support from the Cardiff Civic Society and Cardiff University to help find a way forward, leading to this seminar.
I am indebted to my colleague, Senior Lecturer Dimitris Potoglou, for organising most of this seminar, and to professor Kevin Morgan for the original idea. My thanks also go to the speakers who gave freely of their time and expertise, and to the attendees, from all walks of life and sharing a common interest in Cardiff and transport related matters.
In my opening remarks I referred to a planned sequence of events and contributions this year that lead up to a revised Local Development Plan scheduled for 2019:
a) The launch at this seminar of a Green Paper on sustainable transport options for the city, coordinated by Cynnal Cymru for Cardiff Council following a council debate in October 2017.
b) The conclusion of the Transport for Wales search for a partner to develop and run the Welsh transport network; this is due in May 2018 and should cover the heavy rail network and the launch of the Metro network based on the Core Valley Lines running into Cardiff Queen Street.
c) Air quality audits this summer mandated by government.
d) A Cardiff Council White Paper on future transport plans scheduled for Autumn 2018.
This seminar provides a city centre perspective on transportation needs to complement the TfW work and identify local initiatives that will need to be taken by the council to support it’s ambitions.
2. CARDIFF COUNCIL GREEN PAPER ON TRANSPORT AND CLEAN AIR (Cllr. Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Transport)
Cllr. Wild presented a brief overview of Capital Ambition, highlighting the need for affordable and accessible transport. The Green Paper launched publicly today seeks to establish the level of support for 18 ways in which transport can be changed to meet the objectives of improved ways of moving around a growing city and simultaneously improving air quality. This paper takes the form of a consultation that concludes on 1st July 2018.
3. LIVEABLE CITIES AND TRANSPORT IN THE 21ST CENTURY (Alison Dutoit, Gehl Copenhagen and University of the West of England)
Alison illustrated the Gehl motto of ‘regain the streets’ with a focus on people and reclassification of the street as public space. Active priority measures for ease of movement of people over cars, giving priority to children, walking and cycling were prominent.
4. SHARED SPACES: KEY SUCCESS FACTORS AND LIMITATIONS (Dr. Mike Biddulph, Cardiff Council)
Mike was cautious on the viability of shared space, social interaction is inconsistent with traffic! The best examples of successful jointly used space use simple, consistent signage and design to slow down traffic and encourage respect for all users, especially the most vulnerable.
5. THE REGULATORY NEEDS OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES (AV) AND IMPLICATIONS FOR URBAN PLANNERS (Prof. John Parkin, University of the West of England)
Trials of AV will explore the capability of machine intelligence to cope with unplanned behaviour, and how conflict can be handled; this needs to be clarified legally. Speed reduction is key in urban environments, and a new generation of signage is needed to facilitate mixed user environments.
6. CARS: A POTENTIAL FUTURE? (Prof. Mark Barry Cardiff University)
Modern urban designs focus on how to accommodate the car, not how to move around the city effectively. Walking, cycling and public transport use is declining as car use increases. AV offers a low cost approach to ‘last mile’ transport, both as taxi and bus alternatives, and represents a major culture shift.
7. CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVs AND AVs INTEGRATION (Dr. Liana Cipcigan, Cardiff University)
The take up of electric vehicles will depend on battery technology development (fast and dynamic charging is in trial mode) and government plans to ban polluting vehicles by 2040 or earlier which will erode the conventional market very quickly and reduce oil dependency. Grid capacity is critical but manageable. We are on the cusp of change.
8. HEALTHY TRAVEL: AIR QUALITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH (Dr. Tom Porter, Cardiff & Vale Local Public health)
Five of the top ten causes of death are car pollution related. Air quality is responsible for 5% of all deaths and in 20% of low weight babies, and is the highest reason for deaths of children. There is no safe level of pollutants. Our schools and hospitals are amongst the worse polluted locations. This is a crisis, investment in air quality improvement must increase.
9. SUMMARY OF WORKGROUP OUTPUTS.
My thanks go to the four post-graduate students who recorded and have summarised the work group sessions. They are: Melissa Dickinson, Hannah Browne Gott, Damilola Akosile and their leader Georgina Thompson.
The main recommendations include :
- Transportation use; active prioritisation away from car use, favouring mass/sustainable transit modes and embracing technology.
- Integrated Public transport and Connectivity; putting sustainability, easy access and efficient transport needs at the heart of city policy. Transport hubs should be a focus of many more services, such as parcel collection.
- Behavioural change; led by policy focus on people issues such as child safety and public health. This requires a long term policy approach attentive to public needs and opinion.
- Economic concerns; creation of a business efficient environment that contributes to a sustainable city.
The main threads of policy and infrastructure development needed are, in order of ease of implementation:
- Adopt transport orientated development for the future.
- Prioritise people, especially children, in all development.
- Prioritise pedestrians over all other modes of transport.
- Reduce vehicle speeds.
- Lead by example, reducing car use at all public service locations.
- Encourage business into the city, especially service industries.
- Reduce the number of vehicles accessing the city. Make a plan with deadlines.
- Increase and enhance sustainable public transport.
- Embrace technology, we are on the cusp of change.
- Build on the TfW program and jump a generation with EV/AV.
CARDIFF CIVIC SOCIETY