Transport and accessibility to public services

Transport and accessibility to public services

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This report looks at progress on improving accessibility since 2003 and ways of improving accessibility. Problems with transport provision and the location of services can reinforce social exclusion by preventing people from accessing key local services and undermines government policies to tackle worklessness, increase participation in education, reduce crime and narrow health inequalities. Insufficient progress has been made since the 2003 Social Exclusion Unit's Making the Connections report, many findings of which are relevant today. There is evidence that accessibility is worsening, driven by tight budgets in central and local government. Accessibility statistics show travel times to key services steadily increasing over time, particularly for access to hospitals. The Department for Transport needs to focus more closely on improving accessibility as well as on supporting the economy. Existing transport funding could be better coordinated and directed to 'accessibility'-focused initiatives, which will have a swifter impact on people's well-being than large infrastructure projects. The social value of transport and accessibility needs to be explicitly considered in policy-making and in the planning system and should no longer be seen as a second-order criterion.The Committee believes it will take time for any improvements to make a noticeable difference. Their recommendations focus on improving how government operates rather than funding. Central government cannot abdicate its role in coordinating action across departmental silos and helping local authorities and service providers to share best practice. Accessibility planning, introduced by Making the Connections, has had limited success and needs to be re-energised.There is a long history of ensuring the future growth is sustainable, targeted to those key corridors, avoiding disperse ... The Fenland access group is one such example, where that has been taken forward over the last five or six years and achieving real improvement. ... But we do try and work with our local planning authorities to impress upon them that, when looking at planning applications, accessibilityanbsp;...

Title:Transport and accessibility to public services
Author:Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Environmental Audit Committee
Publisher:Stationery Office - 2013-06-24


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