Projects delivered under the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) have achieved their chief objectives of supporting the local economy and reducing carbon emissions, according to a new DfT report.
The £540m fund was launched by the DfT in 2011 with the aim of improving cycling infrastructure and offering better travel information.
The 96 projects across 77 local authorities were assessed for the DfT report by Transport for Quality of Life, TRL and Arup. The team calculated a Benefit-Cost ratio (BCR) of 5.2 - 6.1 for the 11 large projects. The BCR was based on: journey quality benefits, through smartcard ticketing, real-time passenger information and new cycle infrastructure; lower traffic levels, due to fewer accidents and lower greenhouse gas emissions; and health benefits from increased cycling and walking as part of bus trips.
The seven largest projects reported a rise in cycling levels according to automatic or manual cycle counts.
Also, LSTF projects helped 10% of unemployed people to get to interviews, training and new jobs, the study found.
The authors say that longer funding periods, rather than “stop-start” funding, would result in better value for money. They also suggested that projects should focus on geographical areas where there was strong community and political support. There was also a need for the right balance between capital and revenue schemes, they said.
Patricia Hayes, DfT’s director general, roads devolution and motoring, said: “This report - which sets out the findings of a full independent evaluation - contains some impressive success stories.” She added that, overall, the schemes had “achieved their intended results, with the best schemes surpassing them”.
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