Travel Plans

Sustainable travel continues to become increasingly important in not only highway considerations, but also in air quality concerns, the fight against climate change and improvements in the publics mental and physical wellbeing. As the Travel Planning discipline has matured, more and more guidance, good standard documents and policies have been produced. Although now archived, in 2009 the Department for Transport (DfT) published The Good Practice Guidelines which continue to be a useful resource. The document provides an overview of the content that should be included and guidelines as to how to evaluate and assess the quality of the final Travel Plan document.

More recently, additional government advice has been provided, which helps to differentiate between the commonly produced highway documents which accompany planning applications (Travel Plans, Transport Statements and Transport Assessments). The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) accompanies this government advice, but ultimately the most recent guidelines fail to provide as much of a detailed resource as the 2009 Good Practice Guidelines.

Most developments of a reasonable size will require a Travel Plan. Whether you are a developer, Local Authority Officer, resident, or staff member, it is important to know the differences which exist between the various varieties of Travel Plan documents. Fastnet are here to provide an overview of the differences between these documents and the stages in a developments lifecycle at which they are most appropriate.

Framework Travel Plan

Framework Travel Plans are typically produced for development sites of a large nature, which may have a mixed user group, such as a collection of businesses. The end occupiers are typically not known, and as such this document sets out a ‘framework’ in which subsequent Travel Plans can be produced later. If any of the individual elements of the site need their own Travel Plan, the overarching document will have already set out the parameters required. These subsequent documents will still be required to provide targets, measures, outcomes, and monitoring procedures in relation to the specific end users.

Interim Travel Plan

Similar to a Framework, an Interim Travel Plan may be applicable for a proposed development where multiple land use permissions are sought. An example of this may be a proposal which encompasses both B1 and B2 / B8 uses. Until either the end occupier or the exact ratio split of uses is identified, then a Full Travel Plan cannot be produced.

Interim documents will outline targets in terms of modal shift, how these will be achieved, and the accessibility of the site. Ultimately, how the Full Travel Plan will be delivered following the Interim document can be confirmed upon verification of the ratio split of uses. This can form part of a reserved matters application, or it can also be included as a planning condition.

Full Travel Plan

In scenarios where end users are identified (i.e new residents of a housing site) then a full Travel Plan is likely to be appropriate. These documents will include clear targets, often based on real life data, i.e residential surveys. They will also identify clear measures to achieve these targets, promotional tools, and marketing strategies.

Uncertainty of an end user may not automatically mean that a Full Travel cannot be produced or isn’t required. Developments such as retail shops, medical practices, residential units, care homes, gyms, or employment hubs (to name but a few) will all likely require a full Travel Plan. All these uses will share comparable travel habits and behaviours to those of similar types throughout the UK. As such, travel plans can still be produced, with their accessibility needs identified and an outline target highlighted (subject to amendment at a later time).

Travel Plan Statement

Smaller developments may not necessarily require a Travel Plan to be produced, i.e they may not be large enough to trigger thresholds for the formal submission of such documents. However, in certain scenarios it may still be considered appropriate for plans to be put in place to help to mitigate private care use.

Travel Plan Statements may be suitable in such situations. They will set out measures to encourage sustainable modes of transport and they will also often include an ‘Action Plan’. It is unlikely that such documents would include formal monitoring, or even set out specific targets, but correct implementation can be an effective way to encourage walking / cycling / public transport.

Area Wide Travel Plan

Although not commonly produced, Area Wide Travel Plans can form an integral part of the Travel Planning process. They are mostly associated to large areas, or as part of a Master Plan, where multiple sites could be under consideration.

These documents are often progressed significantly enough when it comes to formal submission for Full, Interim, or Framework Travel Plans to be completed. Nevertheless, they can be effective ways to outline the general principles and goals which are sought for large areas of development space.

The first step in implementing an effective solution to reducing private car use is to understand what needs to be written and when. Following these crucial first steps, then successful and impactful measures can be determined, robust targets can be achieved, and a well thought out ‘Action Plan’ can commence.

Fastnet are experts in all the above and encourage any persons, company or developer to contact ourselves for an easy, no strings attached chat. Why not contact us now to find out how we can help you deliver benefits for your organisation?

You can find more information on Travel Plans by visiting: Travel Plan2