This area of assessment is one that needs further work, as it is currently a knowledge gap. It has been identified as an area of concern through consultation, but there is currently little local research and evidence available on the subject.
Access to efficient, affordable transport options is a key issue underpinning well-being and improves social inclusion and connectivity. Good transport links facilitate existing relationships and can help develop new ones – both in an economic context for businesses, service providers and their workforce, but also for people and communities, as transport connectivity effects social interaction, access to retail and essential services, and the opportunities to participate in cultural and leisure activities.
In particular people at risk of being socially excluded often experience real difficulties in getting to places. Regular and reliable public transport services are not always available in every community, are sometimes unaffordable for people on low incomes or simply do not take people where they need to go. Walking and cycling may not be suitable options for accessing services which are distant or in environments where traffic levels and accident rates are high.
Within the economy, transport affects the ability of businesses to undertake trade with customers and suppliers and to recruit a workforce. The availability of good transportation routes in an area can influence the location of business and encourage new investment. Shifts within the wider UK economy from industries based on transporting primary/secondary sectors to the service sector means that many of our existing transport routes may not fit new ways of working.
Despite increasing traffic volumes overall figures suggest road traffic accidents and casualties are generally both reducing over time. The rise in accidents caused by driver distraction due to mobile phone usage are a concern however.
Transport is currently responsible for about 34% of the UK’s carbon emissions[i]. There is significant potential for public sector bodies to help reduce transport emissions through local authority funded transport systems and infrastructure, and travel planning which can be undertaken by all public sector organisations. Promoting cleaner vehicles within our own transport fleets and facilitating the provision of alternative fuel points (for example electric car charging points) is also within the remit of public sector organisations.
The principal means of access to, from and within the area are the A55 coast road (Euroroute E22), the parallel railway from Manchester and London to Holyhead, and the A5 road to the south. In Conwy, the A470 provides a north-south road link which is paralleled by a railway linking Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog. In Denbighshire the A525 also runs north to south and links the market towns of St Asaph, Denbigh and Ruthin.
Some of the issues around transport that we need to understand better are:
Road capacity – including traffic flows, constraints on expansion, and increases in traffic volumes following road improvements.
Impact of lack of integrated public transport provision particularly for peripheral communities. Particular concerns were raised about evening travel (whether for participation in social event or for employment which requires shift or unsociable hours working) and about travel difficulties associated with attending Job Centre appointments.
Promoting active travel (safe walking and cycling routes).
Provision of safe school transport routes – including subsidised bus services (particularly in areas where population is dispersed) but also traffic flow round schools, walking to school, drop off zones.
The environmental impacts of transport, including air quality, impact of flooding events on transport infrastructure and carbon emissions.
The impact of tourism on local transport.
[i] 2017 annual provisional emissions results, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy