Travel Plans

All local plans must conform to the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was issued on 27 March 2012. Section 34 in the document states that plans and decisions should ensure that developments that generate significant movements are located where the need to travel will be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes maximised while Section 35 mentions the need to give priority to cycle and pedestrian movements and create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists and pedestrians. Section 36 follows this up by stating that a key tool to facilitate this will be a travel plan. All developments which generate significant amounts of movements should be required to provide a Travel Plan. The Framework's Planning Practice Guidance on Travel Plans, transport assessments and statements in decision-taking can be downloaded from here.

A Travel Plan is a long term management strategy, articulated in a regularly reviewed document, to deliver sustainable transport objectives through action and provides employees and visitors of commercial, public and retail organisations, students and staff in schools and colleges and residents in large developments with greater information as to the alternative modes of travel available.

Travel plans can offer real benefits not only to the organisation and its employees, but also the community that surrounds it. It may help to relieve local parking or congestion problems or improve public transport connections across the area. It may also relieve stress on employees through reducing delays.

For cycling this includes:

• Safer and Better Quality Cycling Routes
• Showers and changing facilities
• Lockers at key locations
• Good quality Secure Cycle Parking
• Cycle Training
• Cyclists’ Breakfasts/Bicycle User Group (BUG)
• Assisted Bicycle Purchase (Salary Sacrifice) Scheme
• Pool Bicycles.

A “Welcome Pack" or "Travel Guide" would normally be supplied containing:

• Local bus routes, bus stops and timetables
• Information to encourage cycling, including details of local cycle shops, local cycle route network map, cycle training schemes, etc.
• Information on local schools within the catchment area and details of safe walking routes and other travel options
• Information on other key local amenities (e.g. schools, colleges, shopping areas, health care facilities, public libraries, etc.) together with a map-based presentation to incorporate, for example, approximate cycling and walking distances or times
• Information on local car sharing opportunities and schemes.

Once a travel plan is created and approved a travel plan co-ordinator is appointed to oversee the monitoring and management of the plan and to keep it up to date. In the case of businesses, employees are encouraged to cycle to work through the establishment of a “Bicycle User Group” (BUG) to represent the views and interests of cyclists or potential cyclists.

For large housing developments a travel plan officer would liaise with the local cycling officer within BBC and seek to promote local authority-sponsored cycling safety and training schemes amongst residents, particularly young people. Local residents are then encouraged to become involved in such a way that the community eventually takes responsibility for continuity of the BUG.

Travel Plan Targets

DfT guidance recommends that Travel Plans should include challenging targets for modal shift in favour of sustainable travel modes. However, this must be balanced against the ability of a development to support incentive measures and the need to ensure that the requirements placed on a developer are fair and reasonable in relation to the scale of the development’s impact.

Bedford Borough Council has a threshold based on Use Class above which a Travel Plan is required, for example, C3 Dwelling Houses have a threshold of between 50 and 80 dwellings for Travel Plan Statement and 80 plus for a Travel Plan (reference BBC's Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Statement (SPD) adopted in July 2013).

Travel Plan Enforcement

An up to date Travel Plan is a compulsory element of all relevent planning applications submitted to Bedford Borough Council and are enforced through the planning process.

References

If you are thinking of writing a travel plan for your organisation or development please refer to Department for Transport’s website

Look also at the Bedford Borough Council's Green Office Guide - Business Version particularly Chapter 3 on Transport and (3c) on cycling.

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