6. Role of Authorities
6.1 Authorities have a vital role to play in the effective development of appropriate Park and Ride sites.
6.2 If planned bus infrastructure and networks are to be fit for purpose now and in the future, it is essential that strategic bus planning is undertaken in the context of long term spatial development at local and regional levels. As highlighted in Buses for Scotland, Progress through Partnership, published in September 2008, effective land-use planning:
- should help to reduce the need to travel and reduce dependence on the car;
- create the right conditions for greater use of sustainable travel modes;
- should avoid or mitigate adverse environmental impacts; andensure that new development should connect to local services by walking, cycling and public transport.
6.3 The early engagement by bus network providers in the preparation of development plans is more beneficial than ever as we seek to build sustainable futures for our communities. Nowhere is this more transparent than in the location, capacity and design of Park and Ride facilities. Experience tells us that a collaborative approach is vital to success in the modal shift agenda.
Joined Up Thinking
6.4 If Park and Ride is to succeed in encouraging drivers out of their cars, the public transport alternatives provided will have to be fast, reliable and affordable. This suggests that where it is being considered, it may be highly beneficial to consider in tandem other bus priority measures which increase journey speed and connections. These might include physical infrastructure measures such as segregated bus lanes and prioritisation measures at junctions. It may also be beneficial to include improved bus service information and innovative integrated ticketing options, and where Park and Ride facilities are intended to encourage motorway car commuters to transfer to bus, the provision of hard shoulder running, during congested peak periods, may be beneficial. Such bus priority measures, if appropriate in an area, may be provided as part of Punctuality Improvement Partnerships or Quality Partnerships between Authorities and bus operators.
6.5 Similarly, the environmental benefits of Park and Ride provision may be significantly enhanced when complemented in town and city centres by measures such as reduced parking supply and the introduction of traffic calming and improved walking and cycling facilities. In other words, Park and Ride schemes should demonstrate how they will best provide an attractive alternative to car travel for the whole trip, door-to-door.
6.6 Opportunities to integrate rail and bus at Park and Choose sites should be considered. For example, existing rail stations may offer the potential to facilitate easy integration with feeder buses, possibly drawn from existing bus services operating in the local area. A recent example of an integrated rail and bus Park and Ride site is at Wallyford, East Lothian.
Quality of Infrastructure and Services
6.7 To encourage modal shift, Park and Ride schemes ought to be developed to the highest design standards, incorporating environmental and safety factors, provide high quality facilities with secure parking that are attractive, safe and convenient for car users, pedestrians and cyclists, and be sensitive to the needs of disabled users.
- To encourage drivers out of their cars, high quality buses should be made available.
- Good quality, accurate, accessible and up-to-date bus service information is essential for regular and occasional bus users, for tourists and other visitors, and for non-users who argue that a lack of suitable information prevents them from using buses. (see Buses for Scotland: Progress through Partnership, Scottish Government, September 2008).
Shields Road Park and Ride is situated at the interchange between the M8 and M77 and next to the Subway station. The 800 space multi storey car park opened in October 2006 at a cost of £9.6m and was developed in partnership by Strathclyde Passenger Transport ( SPT) and Glasgow City Council, with funding from the Scottish Government.
It is the first SPT car park at a Subway station to receive the Park Mark award and provides a safe environment for the public to leave their vehicles. The purpose built facility includes dedicated disabled/child spaces, lift, toilets and CCTV. A recent survey showed a high public satisfaction rate with the facilities at this site.
6.8 This Framework does not address the technical and engineering design considerations of Park and Ride. Available design guidance and standards, including the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges ( DMRB) and Local Authority roads development guidelines, should be used where applicable. Other existing documents which may also be helpful include the English Historic Towns Forum's " Bus-Based Park and Ride: A Good Practice Guide May 2000" referred to earlier. It is recognised nevertheless, that safety and security at sites is important, and robust design, construction and planning should address these issues as part of any investment.
Partnership and Innovation
6.9 At the high level forum of senior bus stakeholders in March 2008, partnership between Authorities and bus operators was identified as an essential element in any approach to bus service improvement. It is a recurring theme in the bus policy guidance Buses for Scotland - Progress Through Partnership.
6.10 The Forum saw Partnership as essential to release private sector investment in bus infrastructure and vehicles. Without this investment the innovation sought in the development of customer-focused approaches to modal shift will not materialise. Authorities are encouraged to consider the benefits of joint cost and profit sharing ventures with their private sector bus operator stakeholders.
Regional and Local Park and Ride Strategies
6.11 A number of Local Authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships have been preparing Park and Ride strategies. These fit well with the National Strategy since Authorities can prepare such strategies according to their own assessment and knowledge of local circumstances. In this process a key step is close liaison and consultation with bus operators and potential users at an early stage, to explore the potential for joint working and innovative approaches either for developing existing sites or considering new ones.
6.12 A robust regional or local Park and Ride strategy would set out how it fits with relevant Regional and Local Transport Strategy objectives, and develop specific objectives for Park and Ride. It could then set out the Authorities own proposals for action to promote either new or existing Park and Ride sites.
6.13 Authorities have direct experience of developing an integrated approach along bus corridors and routes associated with sites, including quality measures for bus, and associated approaches to traffic management and car parking. In addition, the appraisal work undertaken in developing Regional Transport Strategies, and any sub Strategies for Park and Ride, provide a good starting point for appraising specific schemes.
6.14 Managing demand on the road network has a vital role to play in ensuring more reliable journey times and reducing congestion. In Scotland, responsibility for all traffic management including provision of parking and any subsequent charges, lies with Authorities. Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Authorities have a general duty to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic.
National Performance Framework and Single Outcome Agreements
6.15 Single Outcome Agreements ( SOAs) have been developed under the Concordat between the Scottish Government and CoSLA. They set out at a strategic level the local outcomes, indicators and targets to be delivered by Community Planning Partnerships ( CPPs) in each area, which in turn will support delivery of the Government's Strategic Objectives under the National Performance Framework ( NPF).
6.16 The Bus Guidance (para 9.2) explains how bus polices fit with the National Performance Framework ( NPF). It illustrates how the policies in the Bus Actions Statement of March 2008 contribute to National Outcomes and National Indicators and Targets. A series of Cross Referencing Spreadsheets detailing ways in which bus improvements contribute to the delivery of the Scottish Government's National Outcomes, Indicators and Targets can be obtained from the CPT (see contacts in Annex A).
6.17 Authorities should be able to draw from this Framework where Park and Ride can contribute to achieving the outcomes being sought under SOAs.