Assessing the [`]value' of new transport initiatives in deprived neighbourhoods in the UK Lucas, Karen; Tyler, Sophie; Christodoulou, Georgina

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Lucas, Karen ; Tyler, Sophie ; Christodoulou, Georgina
Theme D Since 1996, there has been growing policy awareness in the UK of the links between transport and social exclusion. Research by the government’s Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) has highlighted the fact that transport problems are often a major barrier to accessing work, healthcare, educational and other key facilities and has, therefore, become an increasingly important policy objective in moving people from welfare into work, addressing health inequalities, improving poor educational attainment and more generally promoting social exclusion and neighbourhood renewal. The SEU study puts in place a cross-departmental strategy to address these issues through a new local framework entitled Accessibility Planning, which is to be delivered by local transport planning authorities and their partners through the next round of Local Transport Plans. However, there has been little, if any, qualitative or quantitative analysis and evaluation of the contribution of new transport interventions in deprived areas. As such very little is known about whether they are facilitating increased economic and social participation for the individuals who use them. It is equally unclear if they have any positive impact on the wider process of regeneration in the neighbourhoods they serve. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they are assisting transitions from welfare into work, as well facilitating other important activities, such as health visits, educational attendance and leisure and social activities. The current funding and subsidy arrangements for transport initiatives specifically designed to support social inclusion are minimal at best and often non-existent. This paper describes case study research of four different transport projects that were funded under the UK Department for Transport’s now obsolete Urban Bus Challenge Fund. It aims to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate their value to passengers in terms of quality of life benefits and also to identify their wider value to the local practitioners charged with the regeneration of the deprived areas they serve. On the basis of this evidence study aims to offer recommendations to central and local government on how such initiatives can be better supported in the future. Its key objectives are: • To identify the changes in travel behaviour and accessibility that have been brought about through the introduction of transport interventions within deprived and disadvantaged communities; • To explore the perceptions of local people in relation to these new services and with the broader aim of identifying the impact of these on the quality of life of the people who use them; • To explore the views of local practitioners regarding the contribution of such projects to the wider process of neighbourhood renewal in these areas; • To offer recommendations to central and local government on how such schemes can be better supported in the context of policies for neighbourhood renewal and the new requirements for accessibility planning in the 2006 Local Transport Plans. The research is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a UK-based poverty campaign organisation that aims to raise awareness of the needs of people living in poor neighbourhoods across the UK. Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies. Faculty of Economics and Business. The University of Sydney
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