Campaign members call for Micklegate traffic restrictions

Ninety-seven percent of York Cycle Campaign members want restrictions on motorised traffic in Micklegate, according to a poll of members. The poll was carried out in preparation for a Campaign statement to the 13 September Decision Session of the Executive Member for Transport & Planning, Cllr Peter Dew. Cllr Dew was being asked to make decisions on a number of transport issues, including whether motorised traffic should be temporarily restricted in Micklegate, and if so how.

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Motorised traffic entering Micklegate from George Hudson street. But for how much longer?

By far the most popular option for restricting motorised traffic amongst Campaign members, at 69%, was that which both prevented motorised traffic from entering Micklegate at George Hudson Street and exiting through the Bar. Second most popular, at 25% of Campaign members, was the Council’s recommended option, of preventing traffic only from exiting Micklegate through the Bar. Members were however united on the desirability of reducing motorised traffic in Micklegate, saying that it had “always been a terrible route for cyclists” due to traffic, and that removing traffic would boost air quality, make cycling there “less stressful” and make it easier to stop at shops.

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Cllr Peter Dew considering transport issues at the Decision Session

In response to a statement made at the Decision Session on behalf of York Cycle Campaign by its Communications Officer Robyn Jankel (the webcast for which can be viewed on YouTube here), Cllr Dew acknowledged that cyclists preferred the most restrictive option being considered. He said however that this was only a temporary restriction, and could be amended after six months following further representation. He subsequently gave his approval that motorised traffic should be prevented only from exiting through Micklegate Bar, adding that this should be made sufficiently clear to those entering at George Hudson Street to ensure traffic did not simply enter and exit at the same point.

 

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The result of Cllr Dew’s decision: motorised traffic will be able to enter Micklegate through its Bar, but not exit the street through its Bar

Also considered at the Decision Session was the proposed design of the widened Monks Cross roundabout. Following a public consultation earlier in the year, the proposals for the roundabout had been revised to include provision for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate it safely. The proposed addition of this infrastructure enjoyed support from 88% of York Cycle Campaign members, who felt it would future-proof the roundabout, and allow for a largely off-road east-west route from Clifton Moor in the west to North Lane in the east. In his response, Cllr Dew asked the engineer whether he felt the proposed infrastructure would provide sufficient safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The engineer confirmed that he thought it would, as the revisions included plans to acquire sufficient land to provide the necessary links. Cllr Dew duly gave his approval.

 

Finally, in her statement Robyn welcomed the detailed consideration of equalities legislation by Council officers when examining the effect that adverts on pavements could have on disabled pedestrians. She called for such consideration to be more routinely published for transport decisions that affected cyclists, given the evidence that a lack of segregated infrastructure is disproportionately dissuasive to would-be cyclists who are female, disabled or elderly.

The full statement follows below:

Two items on this agenda have direct implications for cyclists in York, and we have again polled our growing membership for their views, 34 of whom responded.

Starting with item 9, namely whether motorised traffic should be prevented from using Micklegate, and if so how, 69% of Campaign members supported Option 2 i.e. motorised traffic be prevented from both entering via George Hudson Street, and exiting through the Bar. Members felt this would make cycling uphill in Micklegate “less stressful”. It would also improve road safety and air quality, create the opportunity to widen footways, replace car parking with parklets, and make it easier to stop at shops. Finally, members called for enforcement with bollards rather than signs which might be ignored.

By contrast, option 3, that traffic should only be prevented from exiting through Micklegate Bar, and indeed the option recommended in the officer’s report, was supported by just 25% of Campaign members. These members said they were “especially keen to see traffic restricted through Micklegate Bar” as it had “always been a terrible route for cyclists” due to traffic, which makes that route dangerous and slow.

Turning to item 5, the design of Monks Cross roundabout, an overwhelming majority of members – 88% – said that the roundabout’s widening should include infrastructure allowing cyclists to navigate it safely. Members felt that such infrastructure would future-proof the roundabout for cyclists and provide for a largely off-road east-west route stretching from Clifton Moor in the west to North Lane in the east. In fact we wonder why such infrastructure is not built as standard, considering its relatively low cost and high benefits. We therefore welcome the cyclist and pedestrian facilities provided in the updated plans.

Finally, on item 6, we are pleased to see detailed consideration of the Equality Act 2010 and public sector equality duty in the officer’s report on how adverts on pavements might affect disabled pedestrians. Less encouraging in our view is just how rare such acknowledgements are in officer reports, particularly those on measures affecting cyclists. Attitudinal surveys and evidence from the Netherlands show that separated cycleways have a disportionately positive effect for female, disabled and elderly cyclists, all of whom are underrepresented in York. Electing to omit such separated cycle facilities in our transport network is thus arguably discriminatory, putting the Council at risk of legal challenge. So we call on council officers to routinely publish their detailed considerations of equalities legislation for transport decisions affecting cyclists.

In summary, a clear majority of York Cycle Campaign members want motorised traffic to be prevented from both entering Micklegate from George Hudson Street and exiting through Micklegate Bar. A still larger majority back proposals to include infrastructure enabling cyclists to navigate Monks Cross roundabout safely. Lastly, we remind Council officers of the importance of equalities legislation for cyclists.

Bike Share Scheme Proposed for York

On Thursday 12th July 2018 the Council’s Executive Member for Transport and Planning met to discuss proposals to pave the way for introducing a Bike Share Scheme to the city. In the run up to meeting York Cycle Campaign polled its members to see if they supported a bike share scheme.

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Results of the York Cycle Campaign bike share poll

87% were in favour of a bike hire scheme, of which: 39% supported only a docked scheme; 16% supported only a dockless scheme; and 32% expressed no preference. The remaining 13% opposed a bike hire scheme.

York Cycle Campaign had the opportunity to share the results of the poll, as well as comments it had recieved from its membership at the executive meeting. You can read our response in full below.

The decision from the session was to allow Council officers to pursue a dockless system to be operated by an independent operator, with the final decision on implementation to be made by the Executive. This was under the following conditions:

  • If implemented, the scheme would be trialled for an initial year period, and that the scheme must not require ongoing public sector revenue to ensure its continued operation;
  • Council officers will agree the detailed specification of the scheme with key York partners: LNER, York NHS Trust, and the Universities;
  • To undertake further consultation and incorporate representation in the interview stage of the procurement from the following groups: Make it York, The York Bid, York Walk and Cycle Forum, and The York Cycle Campaign and,
  • When preparing the tender documents, seek views from the following groups:
    • groups representing people with mobility impairments (such as the York Blind and Partially Sighted Society),
    • representatives from bike retailers,
    • representatives from Como UK (the body representing much of the bike share industry,
    • parties implementing counter-terrorism measures,
  • To build-in safeguards to allow the scheme to be withdrawn in the case of harm to public safety or to the environment.

(Read the decision in full)

The Campaign’s report to the executive session is as follows:


‘The introduction of a bike hire scheme has prompted much discussion amongst York Cycle Campaign’s growing membership. We polled them for their thoughts on the options being considered; here are the results.

There is strong support amongst our members for a bike hire scheme. 87% of members who responded to our poll back the introduction, of which 39% expressed explicit support for a docked scheme, 16% explicit support for a dockless scheme, and 32% expressed no preference.

Members’ enthusiasm came from their experience of using similar schemes in cities throughout the UK and the world. Other reasons for support generally included the belief that a large number of different users could benefit, the fact that its operator, not the Council, would mostly foot the cost, and that “anything that encourages cycling is a good thing.”

The Campaign members who expressed support for a dockless scheme hailed its flexibility, and their view that insufficient space exists in York for bike docks.

Of those members who expressed a preference, more than twice as many preferred docked over dockless. Perceived advantages included: more certainty over where bikes could be found; prevention of bikes cluttering up streets or worse, being vandalised and dumped.

Although overwhelmingly supportive of a bike hire scheme in York, Campaign members are keen that it be implemented in as flexible a way as possible. Payment will presumably be made via an app, but we wonder if an Oyster Card-type system, where pre-paid cards are bought from local shops, may be possible. Secondly, the bikes should be suitable for the majority of York’s population, and not too heavy to manoeuvre. We understand that child seats and cargo-carrying abilities won’t be available initially but our members hope that if the scheme is a success, the council will consider ways of making this possible in future. Thirdly, well-maintained, conveniently-located bikes were seen as critical.

Many members, including the few who oppose a bike hire scheme at all, have called for better infrastructure to support cyclists in York. Outright opponents question what evidence exists that bike hire schemes lead to people taking up cycling, and some fear that the proposals are more of a box ticking exercise than a serious effort to encourage cycling in York.

The Campaign would also like to know who will evaluate the qualitative elements of the tenders. We urge that a diverse panel is selected to better represent the requirements of the end users and the city as a whole. 

Overall, the attitude of York Cycle Campaigners towards the proposed introduction of a bike hire scheme is one of firm support, with a docked scheme enjoying strongest explicit backing, so long as the docks don’t take space away from existing cycle parking. Should the decision be taken today to proceed, the Campaign would be happy to work closely with the Council, offering the benefit of our diverse membership’s expertise and views, to help ensure the scheme is a success.’

You can watch the full decision session here:

York Station Front Masterplan

York Station Front Consultation was launched by City of York Council on June 11th 2018. York Cycle Campaign has submitted this response based on feedback and comments received from its growing membership. A online survey was created by the Campaign to allow its members to submit their comments on the proposals for cycling infrastructure. As well as being asked for their overall thoughts, the survey asked for comments on four key aspects of the proposal, which were identified from initial discussions on social media at the launch of the consultation.

A 3D virtual tour released by the Council of the proposed changes


Overall Reception

The overall reception of members to the proposals is in the majority positive, seeing them as an opportunity to greatly improve the quality of cycling, and walking, around the station but also within the city as a whole. However this positivity was often on the  condition that the proposals are delivered fully realised and finished to a good quality, and not watered down through cost cutting and compromise resulting in incoherent provision.

Cycle Lanes/Paths

The proposals for introducing cycle lanes along the front of the station were seen positively by the respondents, with over 90% saying they felt the proposals were better or significantly better than the current provision of cycle lanes in-front of the station.

From the comments received from respondents, the most frequent issue raised was the need for physical segregation between cyclists and motor vehicles, with more than 70% of respondents raising it an issue. These comments all raise the need for a continuous physical barrier, such as a stepped kerb, verge or other obstruction to provide meaningful protection from motor vehicles.

Mandatory/advisory on-road cycle lanes, regardless of width, were not seen as being suitable in any form along Station Road and a number of members expressed  frustration with this. For example, where the proposals suggest a protected cycleway in front of the station, with cyclists then directed towards an advisory cycle-lane towards Lendal Gyratory.

There needs to be consistency about the type of cycle provision throughout. It is confusing and dangerous to have segregated cycle lanes that suddenly have to join the road, or shared space with pedestrians that then turns into dedicated cycleways. Any shared cycle/pedestrian space needs to be clearly marked in consistent ways, and give clear indications to both cyclists and pedestrians as to how the space is to be used.

The shared cycle/pedestrian path directly in front of the station was similarly not seen as suitable due to this being a very busy environment, and numbers of pedestrians and cyclists only expected to increase in coming years. Having a shared pedestrian/cyclist path is generally viewed as creating an unnecessary source of conflict, and that a physically defined cycle path, as proposed on the westbound side past the bus stops, would be a safer provision for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Better going West, but in front of the station is a disaster. They are expecting the number of passengers to triple and therefore it will be almost impossible to cycle at the front of the station going East.  There needs to be a dedicated cycle path (otherwise many will feel forced to use the road)

A large number of respondents emphasised the importance of cycle lanes crossing junctions used by motor vehicles in a manner that was safe and convenient for cyclists & pedestrians. The consensus in the comments was that in order to provide this, where cycle paths & footpaths need to cross these junctions, clear priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists over vehicles turning into the junctions (this reflects the sentiment in many of the policies in the submitted Local Plan that transport provision should “clearly prioritise” cycling and walking).

The need for provision to be able to cross Station Road to access/exit the station from the westbound side in a safe manner was also raised. Providing the new pedestrian crossing directly outside the main entrance as a toucan crossing, detailed in a way that made it easy to join/leave the westbound cycle lane was seen as important in providing that safety.

Onward Connections

Proposals for improvements to connections to and through the station area from other parts of the city were largely welcomed respondents by the Campaign’s membership. Whilst these connections are currently technically possible in many instances, the potential for the routes to be made safe through segregation from (and by the removal of)  traffic, to form viable and attractive routes past the station, was a recurring sentiment in responses. Respondents also felt that such connections would effectively unlock other existing or proposed parts of infrastructure in the city, such as Scarborough Rail Bridge, or help cyclists avoid other parts of the road network seen as dangerous and unattractive such as Blossom Street.

[The connection from the Long Stay Car Park to Scarborough Rail Bridge, via Tea Room Square] would be a huge benefit for cyclists coming in from Poppy Road and Acomb side. I have been struggling to think what use the Scarborough bridge would make to my journeys. I use the Holgate Road link through the station regularly to avoid cycling on Blossom street, however it is not easy or logical to continue via the station exit towards Scarborough Rail Bridge currently

Members hailed the potential for a new route through the City Walls giving access through and past the Council’s offices. They felt it offered benefits as a alternative route to & from the city centre that avoided the busy Lendal Gyratory which is currently lacking in cycle infrastructure.The Campaign would urge that every effort is made in order to gain the required landowner approvals to unlock this vital alternative route.

[The] route through the City Walls past the Council offices will be brilliant, as it not only removes the need to use the Lendal Gyratory, but also the Micklegate Bar junction if you want to go out or come from Skeldergate Bridge or Bishopthorpe, all on nice  quiet back roads.

The main concern of members regarding onward connections was that the high quality cycle lanes directly outside the station will come to abrupt stops at the edge of the proposal area and users will find themselves with unsafe low quality advisory cycle lanes or no provision whatsoever. In order to be meaningful the provision put forward in this proposal needs to consider how it continues at its boundaries, and further future works need to build upon this initial introduction of infrastructure.

Tea Room Square

The proposed changes for Tea Room Square generated enough interest in initial discussions to be considered in the survey in its own right. Members welcomed the proposal to remove motor traffic from this area, but were concerned about how the implementation of this removal might impact cyclists & pedestrians. Of particular concern was the proposal that the route through the Square to Scarborough Rail Bridge should be a shared pedestrian/cycle space, which in members’ views had a potential for conflict between these two user groups.  Respondents stated that they felt a shared space through this area which will be heavily used by pedestrians reaching the city and cyclists reaching the Rail Bridge will be inherently unsafe and prove dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Is this intended to be the way to bypass the station if you are using the proposed Scarborough bridge and not heading to the station? If so, I think it will be horribly congested and chaotic and no-one will benefit.

Generally, members suggested that the cycle route through Tea Room Square should be confined to a defined cycle path running through the Square away from the proposed seating area. This cycle path should have a clear distinction of its limits using physical means such as half kerbs or coloured tarmac, and crossings where pedestrians have priority.

Cycle Parking

The Campaign’s members generally welcomed the declared intention to increase cycle parking, noting how difficult it can be to find spaces and peak times. Counts by the Campaign undertaken after the recent removal of abandoned bikes found occupancy on weekdays to be around 90%, and it can be expected that with improvements to cycle infrastructure to the station, the York Central development and increased cycle restrictions on local rail services, there will be significantly higher future demands for cycle parking.

It would be brilliant if cycle parking is constructed in the same manner that can be seen in Dutch stations.

Whilst being supportive of increased parking, many caviated their support dependant on the quality and type of parking made available. Concerns were raised about making sure that parking was located in a secure location with sufficient natural surveillance, as well as CCTV. The accessibility of the parking was also raised, with many commenting that the current two-tier racks in the short stay car park weren’t suitably sized for their bikes or that they were difficult to use due to mobility issues. Similar concerns were raised about the Sheffield stand parking by platform 1 with members recommending that the stands be further apart to facilitate easier access, particularly for non-standard bikes or those with mobility issues, and to prevent damage to parked bikes.

Suggestions were also made for priority parking areas, closer to the station facilities, for those cycliists that might have disabilities and be using their cycle as a mobility aid or have an adapted cycle such as a trike. Further suggestion were made for ‘family cycle’ areas to allow the parking of larger cycles adapted for the carrying of multiple children or cargo, a common feature in continental European stations.

There were also calls for more short stay racks, in the concourse area near key facilities (ticket office, toilets, retail units) to allow cycles to be locked up for short periods whilst people use the facilities. This would be particularly beneficial for train passengers who are taking their cycles with them rather than leaving their cycles at the station.

Further Comments

An issue raised by our members against all the sections, was the need to consider cyclists that fit outside of the generalised depiction of confident adult males riding standard framed bikes. It is a concern of these members, and York Cycle Campaign, that too often, the cycle provision is designed with traditional cyclists (male, able-bodied, on diamond-frame bicycles) in mind, a focus that tends to  produce inaccessible, excluding and potentially discriminatory infrastructure.

To avoid this the detailed design should consider existing and potential cyclists that may have additional requirements and needs from the proposed cycle infrastructure due to factors such as age, disabilities, experience or use of bikes that differ from a standard frame e.g. cargo bikes, trailers & bikes adapted for disabilities. Consideration of such should inform all aspects of design, but particularly lane width, bollard spacing, parking and radii at corners.

[Cycle lanes] need to be wide enough for the person on a bike (whether trike, tandem, cargo-carrying machine, trailer-toting, etc) to: be away from the kerb, able to avoid potholes, puddles, away from the motor traffic.

Concern was also expressed about the loss of the current ‘Cycle Heaven’ store at the rail station, and the need to have a high quality cycle hire and repair shop at the rail station, to serve tourists, commuters, business travellers and residents alike.

“A cycle city needs a vibrant cycle hub at its heart, providing good quality hire cycles, left luggage facilities and on-the-spot repairs.”

Appropriate and consistent signage was also raised by respondents as something they’d like to see, with signage at key junctions indicating directions towards the station cycle facilities, and directions to onward destinations such as the city centre.

A number of respondents remarked on how having good quality cycling infrastructure at the station, a key ‘gateway’ into the city, would give a positive first impression to residents, commuters and visitors arriving to the city which is often thought of by visitors as a cycling city.

Now let’s continue these protected lanes throughout the city and make York a true cycling city. This another opportunity to take a new transport direction in York and the opportunity should not be missed.

World Bicycle Day 2018

This article was updated on the 8th June 2018 to include a response from Cllr. Peter Dew, jump to that section.

Earlier this year the United Nations declared the 3rd of June would be recognised as ‘World Bicycle Day’ in recognition of the bicycle’s, and all other types of cycle, position as ‘a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation’.

On World Bicycle Day the UN calls upon all member nations, including the UK, to:

  • devote particular attention to the bicycle in cross-cutting development strategies;
  • improve road safety and integrate it into sustainable mobility and transport infrastructure planning and design, in particular through policies and measures to actively protect and promote pedestrian safety and cycling mobility,;
  • emphasize and advance the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development, strengthening education, promoting health, preventing disease, promoting tolerance, mutual understanding and respect and facilitating social inclusion and a culture of peace;
  • adopt best practices and means to promote the bicycle among all members of society, and developing a culture of cycling in society.¹

To mark the first World Bicycle Day, we’re marking it by asking the City of York Council to commit to investing a greater share of its transport fund in cycle infrastructure, to reflect the high proportion of cycle traffic.

Our open letter to Neil Ferris, the Council’s Corporate Director for Economy and Place, and Cllr Peter Dew, the Executive Member for Transport and Planning, follows below:

Dear Neil Ferris and Cllr Peter Dew,

The United Nations has declared Sunday 3rd June to be ‘World Bicycle Day’, and here in York we are looking forward to celebrating the first official day of recognition for this popular form of transport.

As I’m sure you know for many people cycling is an important means of getting around our lovely city. Recent surveys carried out by the York Cycle Campaign show that on fair weather days cyclists constitute over one-third of the traffic crossing Lendal Bridge, and even on damp days cyclists make up one quarter of the rush-hour traffic over this busy bridge. Meanwhile the cycle counter on the Millennium bridge shows that an average of over 900 cyclists zip over this iconic York crossing every day.

However, our analysis of the Council’s Capital Programme for Transport 2017-2022 reveals that no more than 7% of this budget is earmarked for cycling (including the one-off investment to upgrade Scarborough Bridge). We are dismayed by the under-prioritising of funding towards York’s cycle network, and the persistent decisions at key junctions that sideline or even endanger cyclists. We believe this is preventing York from becoming the ‘Global Cycle City’ it is capable of being. The recent decision to remove a cycle lane on Station Road without adequate replacement (and despite the council’s own data showing that cyclists make up around one third of the traffic along this route) exemplifies the lack of commitment towards cycling in York, and retaining York’s status as a cycle city.

Back in the 1970s Copenhagen was in a similar situation to York. Around 20% of people cycled and the city was being blighted by traffic congestion and air pollution. The city decided to embrace cycling and invested heavily in its cycle infrastructure, to create continuous segregated cycleways, enabling everyone to cycle across the city safely, no matter what their age, experience or physical ability. This investment has paid off in a big way. Today 62% of people cycle to work and just 21% of people arrive by car. It is estimated that for every 1km cycled instead of driven in Copenhagen the city economy benefits ~1€. By comparison every 1km driven costs the city 0.89€.

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A traffic light junction in the centre of Copenhagen, with excellent cycle infrastructure in the form of a kerb segregated cycle lane, wide enough for 3 cycles.

York is often thought of as a ‘cycle city’, but in reality it is full of cycle lanes that disappear at the most dangerous points in the road, barriers that prevent easy passage for cycles, and a hotchpotch of cycle routes that fail to connect up. There are many areas of York, such as the eastern portion of Water End Lane on the city’s orbital cycle route, where only the most confident cyclists dare to venture. However, York has the potential to become a ‘Global Cycle City’, equivalent to Copenhagen, if the political will exists.

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Cycle infrastructure at the Lendal Bridge traffic light junction, where no lane ,segregated  or otherwise, leads to an ASL (Advanced Stop Line) which is often illegally occupied by motor traffic.

This coming Sunday, on the United Nations World Bicycle Day, we are asking City of York Council to commit to investing a greater share of its transport fund in cycle infrastructure, to reflect the  high proportion of cycle traffic in York. We’d like you to ‘re-imagine’ York’s future, and to embrace a city that is convenient, safe and accessible for everyone, where cycling is the major mode of transport.

In the spirit of co-operation and increased understanding we ask that you meet with us to discuss our request. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards

York Cycle Campaign    

Update

Response from Cllr Peter Dew 

(Executive Member for Transport and Planning, & member for Rawcliffe and Clifton Without (Cons))
Following  our letter, York Cycle Campaign have received the following response from Councillor Dew;
Thank you for your letter. I am certainly open to suggestions (and am looking forward to bringing my bike to the opening of the new Scarborough Bridge ramps) but have to bear in mind the need to cater for everybody. I have seen some impressive cycle provision in Rotterdam (and elsewhere) and would be delighted if all road users in York exhibited the same sense of responsibility, then we can all live and travel together in safety.
 
Best wishes,
 
Peter

 

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A Dutch ‘Fietsstraat’ (cyclestreet), common across the Netherlands including Rotterdam, where ‘cars are guests’ have been a fundamental tool in increasing cycling and reducing road deaths in the country since the 1970s. [Image: John Tarantino(CC BY-SA 3.0)]
The Campaign hasn’t yet received Neil Ferris’ reply but will update this page as soon as it is received.

¹Why celebrate the bicycle? – United Nations http://www.un.org/en/events/bicycleday/

Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

Published in April 2017, the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy set out the aim make walking and cycling ‘the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey’. Following this, the Department for Transport have launched a call for evidence to review the actual and perceived issues received by cyclists and pedestrians using the road

Over the coming weeks we’ll be discussing the issues raised in the Call for Evidence on social media through the hashtag #CWIS on Twitter and on the members only Facebook Group. However if you’re not on social media, or you prefer to send us your thought’s direct/anonymously, you can submit your answer to the questions we’ll be asking in the form below.

If you would like to respond to the Call for Evidence directly you can find it, along with an explanatory report, on the Department for Transport website here.