Public expectations over transport are too high because people have been misled by the government, claims an industry report.
The Construction Industry Council study, Integrated Transport and Land-use Planning, says the 10-year transport plan is unrealistic, with too many competing priorities, such as speed, safety and comfort.

The report states: "No-one will admit that we can't have it all. Yet this is what the government promised and keeps on promising – it's a nonsense. There was no way Railtrack or its successor can deliver."

Published yesterday, the report predicts that the rail crisis will worsen and that simply improving public transport will not solve the problem of transport congestion.

The report says the public and the industry continue to be misled into believing that change for the better for transport is on the horizon.

It added that unless the government sets achievable targets, it will lose favour with public opinion.

The reports argues that a bipartisan approach between political parties is the way forward.

It says: "Create a partnership for the railways with clear and realistic objectives that all parties can sign up to."

The report also says infrastructure projects of national and regional importance must be fast-tracked, with investment channelled to those that give most back to the economy.

The report also urged the government to take a lead over toll charges on busy roads, with fees reinvested in transport infrastructure.

On the question of regional planning, what it calls "spatial planning", the report says the government must take a bolder approach.

It states: "Spatial planning – if we had any – would be about the government facing up to those big issues [population movements, housing and transport] and trying to counteract the downside through a masterplan, which would look at planning on a national scale."

Main points of the report

  • The public continues to be misled that change is on the horizon when things are going to get worse.
  • Spatial planning can make a difference in the long term and should be set up nationally.
  • Better public transport will not solve congestion.