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We are concerned about the emphasis given to larger, higher capacity long-distance roads. While we are not against these per se, the Plan should avoid parroting that larger roads are essential for economic growth; no less an authority than the US Congressional Budget Office is refuting the economics behind publicly funded major infrastructure (https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51628). More data is needed rather than blind acceptance.
At the same time, we should be looking at intelligent use of the roads we have, recognising that traffic expands to meet capacity. We should be incentivising a reduction in the need to travel and thus making the most of our road network, especially at peak times.
It should be acknowledged that these larger roads will hugely increase traffic in towns unless restrictions (filtering/unravelling -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJhGSxDb5wQ -- and/or congestion charges) are put in place; there should be an overall thrust to reduce car journeys by reducing daily car dependency and short journeys, and encouraging living near to work or a public transport hub (part of new employment contracts?), flexible hours and workplace car park charging (http://www.localgov.co.uk/Workplace-parking-levy-raises-millions-for-council-/41008). All of these measures should be in the Local Plan, building on the ECC Transport Strategy.
Note our earlier comment on climate change, which applies particularly to this section. There is considerable doubt on whether electric vehicles will reach their potential (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/31d68af8-6e0a-11e6-9ac1-1055824ca907.html#axzz4JVSvcOhn)
Congestion in towns is bound to worsen when and if high quality alternatives for buses, cycles and walkers are provided. If such facilities are to be usable, they will undoubtedly take road space from general motorised traffic. The Local Plan needs to recognise this and provide a framework for dealing with it.
We note the NEA's ambitions for the new garden villages, but it must be stressed that connectivity is dependent on huge changes in the existing town: all personal travel should be based on a "from the garden gate" approach to help anticipate transport choices.
Finally, it would be ideal if councillors put the next stage of the Local Plan in front of transport experts such as John Whitelegg or Rachel Aldred to canvass their opinions of the likely effects. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Whitelegg and http://rachelaldred.org)