I recently attended the 'Future of Leeds' debate hosted by the Salon debating society. One of the speakers was Rachael Unsworth from the Department of Geography at the University. One of her suggestions was for a 'People's Transport Investment Scheme'. I thought it sounded like something that might fit in with what OurSociety is trying to do & would be interested to hear any feedback or ideas on how to get something like this set up. Rachael sent me more details of what she had in mind & I've posted the info below.
> My idea is for a 'People's transport investment scheme'. Anybody could invest in a fund dedicated to public transport improvements + improved facilities for walking and cycling. It would not, of course, guarantee that their bit of the rail network or their bus service would be upgraded immediately but it would enable faster investment in infrastructure and vehicles than would otherwise be the case and 'dividends' would come in the form of improved connectivity and lower pollution, in turn improving quality of life and economic prosperity. Financial dividends might be some way down the line. Incentives could include a certain level of coupons to exchange for free tickets for those who invest, with a sliding scale for higher levels of investment, up to free public transport for life for those who invest more than £x thousand. I suspect that there are loads of people who would be willing to invest in such a fund. I'd invest if there was a fairly good chance that it would hasten the improvement of rolling stock on the Harrogate line and buy us a park & ride on the south side of Harrogate to get people into buses to go down the A61. Maybe what I'm saying here suggests that it ought to be a whole series of micro funds but all adding up to connect the city region transport system effec> Investment in road infrastructure would have to be included where it's vital to rearrange traffic flow and enable traffic to be excluded from certain areas. Re-jigging Armley Gyratory would be in this category. But the main point would be to enable 'modal shift' by making it easier and more attractive to choose an option other than the car. Should it also include whatever investment needs to be made to introduce differential car parking charges in the city centre related to emissions of vehicles?
> Bound to be loads of snags, no doubt, but it would be better than waiting unhopefully.
> How to take it forward? I have mentioned it to many people, including David Hoggarth from Metro who was there at last week's debate, but maybe it's one of those ideas that seems suspiciously obvious and people don't think beyond that.
> Rachael Unsworth (Dr)
> School of Geography
> University of Leeds
> LS2 9JT
> 0771 273 9153