What does £4.2m in transport cash buy you?

Last year, Richmond concluded the ‘Smarter Travel Richmond’ initiative, another project that’s been and gone with minor incremental changes to a few indicators. A sad indication of the overall efficacy of the project is the cycle training: 8,000 leaflets were distributed, and 162 adults went through Bikeability training of one sort or another over the period (the year two annual report mentions 4,000+ adults receiving training of one type or another – either of these pales against the population of around 190,000).

While those who are prepared to read through the detailed paperwork (see ‘annual reports’ section here) can find a plethora of small changes and improvements, the sad part is buried near the end, where you can see that the £4.2m (see page ii here) project really failed the clearest target it set: “Increase modal share for walking, cycling and public transport by five per cent by September 2011.” And it failed it by pretty much the entire target, with cycling achieving 0.3% of its 3% targeted change in modal share (table 4.1).

So £4.2m bought us a few more people on bikes, a little bit more goodwill to the idea of not taking a car, and some website hits. (NB: It’s not easy to find out what the money was spent on: the 6.7Mb first year annual report mentions budgets twice.)


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