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Last edited 15 Sep 2021
Inclusive cities and transport investment
[Image credit: Chris Shipton]
The submission’s core recommendations are:
- That government should ensure that future investment decisions account for the reality and diversity of everyday lives and individual attributes.
- That these decisions broaden the concept of productivity beyond paid employment.
- That government fully considers a range of outcomes - including outcomes which fail.
 Treating people as people
For example, deciding to lay a new section of track purely on the needs of commuters would often downplay the requirements of people with disabilities, who tend to travel less or at different times, or for different purposes.
Such decisions contribute to a general exclusion of people with disabilities, furthering the inaccessibility they face and indirectly increasing their cost of living. When people with disabilities can’t access public transport, the alternative often has to be private taxis.
 Redefining productivity
Informal social care provides £57 billion worth of ‘in kind’ contributions to the economy – yet this work goes largely unremunerated and where it is recognised, through carer’s allowance, this support in no way meets the carer’s costs.
Such unpaid work doesn't feature as part of the Web Based Transport Analysis Guidance, which sets objectives and creates transport models for projects that require government approval. This guidance focuses instead on the travel patterns of business users and commuters.
By focusing on data which yields a financial impact, measurable through wages, the emphasis is explicitly on formally employed transport users, judging the time of others as less valuable as a result.
The government should consider working with digital services, such as Citymapper and Google Maps, and making better use of a wider dataset. This could help inform future investment decisions that better serve a wider group of people and ensure transport provision better meets inclusive needs.
One example of this is Ebbsfleet, where the planned garden city development – promoted as a benefit of constructing the Channel Tunnel Rail Link – had only delivered 65 of the proposed 15,000 homes by 2016.
While socio-economic benefits are included in a scheme’s evaluation, more robust measures that explore a range of outcomes would better inform decision-making. This should include making a measure of probability as to likelihood of occurrence to help facilitate contingency planning.
Evaluating people’s needs by their individuality, valuing the contribution – economic and social – they make to society and planning for a wider range of outcomes are three concrete ways this can be achieved.
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