|South east gears up for tidy towns competition|
A lot has been written about the recent development of the UK motorway and cycle network by the government, but has it been worth the effort? In this blog, I'd like to look back and ask whether the effort has been worth the outcome вЂ“ particularly in light of the new proposals from the Department for Transport to roll out the National Motorway Network Management (NMNMM) system.
First, I want to discuss a long-term impact to communities already affected by motorways and cycling networks. The NMNMM project is intended to address the most direct challenges that communities face along a motorway route and to facilitate a reduction in the frequency and complexity of roadworks, and/or the size of motorways by encouraging local communities to set up and manage cycling and motorway networks in a more flexible way. More details of what is being proposed can be found here. The NMNMM programme is currently due to start in 2019. What we've seen is that in order to reduce road works and to reduce the overall number of people using a route, communities need to work in more localised ways to support and improve their cycling infrastructure. For example, we see, for example, a large number of cyclists using cycle paths on side streets.
The government's own research shows that, for motorcyclists, cycling on side streets is very beneficial and that, on average, side streets improve people's feelings of safety and overall safety, and improve their safety as well. We have seen some of our communities start by using cycle paths and a wide variety of other local networks as models. The recent development of the UK Motorway Network Management (NMNMM) programme is aimed at taking what community expertise they already have into consideration, and helping to increase the numbers of cyclists using side streets, and at the same time, helping to reduce the frequency and complexity of roadworks and the sizes of motorways.
The NMNMM project provides much more than just support to those areas that need help building and managing their cycling networks, such as urban areas where the traffic volume is high (particularly motorways). These areas have more and more individuals and groups interested in cycling, and are using local knowledge to do so, through the use of a variety of local networks that are well designed for cyclists and motorcyclists вЂ“ providing the benefits in terms of improved safety and other benefits to people and to the community, as well as the costs of road works. I'd also like to briefly examine how this is being achieved, and how this could be improved over time. First, I want to look at some of the issues that need to be addressed by the NMNMM effort, in both areas of motorway maintenance and cycling вЂ“ with the focus on the current state of plannin