TRANSPORT THEME ACTION PLAN

Transport and climate change

At UK level, emissions from road transport represent around 33% of the total15. In Reading, the equivalent figure is just over 20%. As well as carbon emissions, pollutants from vehicles are a major source of air quality problems in the town. Taking action to reduce emissions from transport therefore offers scope to improve public health, reduce congestion, stimulate low carbon sectors of the local economy and improve the quality of life for Reading residents.

The COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ had an immediate and a profound impact on travel behaviour, and although the long-term impacts on future travel demand and mode share are difficult to predict, some changes, such as more working from home, seem set to endure. Our Transport theme action plan was developed before the ‘lockdown’ and therefore our baselines and targets may need to be reviewed as the longerterm impact of the crisis become better understood. Reading Borough Council has, however, set ambitious targets for walking and cycling and is implementing a large number of active travel measures, including segregated facilities, in an attempt to ensure that positive changes in travel habits, such as more walking and cycling, are sustained. The ongoing success of our active travel targets will, however, be partly
subject to Central Government funding to implement measures on a permanent basis.

Whatever happens to future transport demand, the UK’s transport infrastructure remains exposed to climate impacts and Reading is no exception. In the coming decades we can expect:

  • Disruption of transport networks impacting on wellbeing and the local economy
  • Flood risk to transport infrastructure and access to key transport hubs
  • Heavy rain/high winds leading to more accidents, treefall, road closures and delays
  • Risk of slope/embankment failures due to heavy rain
  • Risk of rails buckling, cables sagging and roads softening in extreme heat
  • Increased discomfort on public transport
  • Overheating/failure of signalling and communications equipment

These risks underline the importance of continuing to reduce the need to travel by more polluting modes of travel in the first place. More positively, a warmer climate may enable more outdoor lifestyles, making ‘active’ forms of travel – walking and cycling – more attractive.

Progress to date

Investment in the transport network in recent years means that Reading currently has enjoyed a good level of sustainable transport provision in terms of:

  • Public transport with good rail links, an extensive bus network with a modern, clean fleet using bio-gas fuel, fast-track public transport priority routes and the initial phases of an effective series of park and ride schemes
  • Provision for active, sustainable modes of travel via an extended cycle network and a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames
  • Early adoption of ‘smart city’ technology which has potential to support efforts to reduce emissions in future

Reading has also bucked the national trend for bus use – while bus use went down 0.7% across England in 2018/19, in Reading it rose by 4.2%. The figures mean bus use in Reading has increased by 40% since 2011/12. However, despite these advantages Reading still experiences high levels of traffic and congestion, with carbon emissions and air quality problems arising from this. While transport related emissions temporarily reduced during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, action is required to make these reductions permanent, particularly as use of public transport has been reduced at the same time.

Priorities on the pathway to net zero for transport

To achieve the target of a net zero carbon Reading by 2030 will require:

  • Substantial reductions in the need to travel: to be achieved through careful planning to locate employment, services and leisure facilities close to where people live, and to integrate opportunities for sustainable living, working and shopping in new developments
  • A significant switch from cars to more sustainable modes of travel: requiring a shift from the most polluting modes of transport (cars, HGVs) to less polluting modes (public transport, walking and cycling) and from motorised transport to the ‘active’ modes of travel (walking and cycling)
  • Electrification of the vehicle fleet: even after reducing demand and encouraging modal shift, there will still be a significant need for motorised transport. As electricity supply is decarbonised, replacing fossil fuel-based vehicles with electric vehicles will be a key stage on the journey to a net zero carbon Reading

The key mechanism through which Reading’s transport future is shaped is Reading’s Local Transport Plan, produced by Reading Borough Council. A new Local Transport Plan, entitled the Reading Transport Strategy 2036, has been prepared and was the subject of public consultation process during 2020.

Ensuring that the new transport strategy supports the ambition of achieving net zero carbon by 2030 will therefore be important. This is a statutory process and as such needs to go through a formal process before the ambitions set out in the action plan below can be adopted – however, Reading Borough Council has already made a commitment in the climate emergency declaration that the ‘forthcoming revision to
the Local Transport Plan… reflect the urgency of this resolution’.

Beyond this, the choices we all make about how we get around will be a critical success factor in meeting the ambition for a net zero carbon Reading by 2030. This means we may all need to make difficult decisions about flying less, driving less, and using public transport, walking or cycling for essential journeys. If we do so, we will be fitter and healthier, our air will be cleaner, our public transport services will be better supported and more frequent, and the high cost of maintaining our roads should fall, freeing up resources for other much needed public services and/or further improving sustainable transport options.

Key adaptation issues for transport

As we make these changes, we need to prepare for increased disruption and damage to transport systems and infrastructure arising from climate impacts. As with mitigation, the best way to increase our resilience to these impacts will be to reduce the need to travel in the first place, with technology and digital access to information and services playing a key role in this. Beyond that, transport planners and operators need to consider individually and collectively how to make their infrastructure and services more resilient to the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.

Transport Theme Action Plan: Our aim is for a low carbon future for transport in which emissions are cut by reducing the need to travel by more polluting modes of transport, shifting more journeys to sustainable modes of transport and supporting the transition from petrol/diesel to electric vehicles. In the process, we will improve health and wellbeing, while making transport infrastructure more resilient to climate impacts.

NB: Some of the actions included in the action plans below, and the scale and pace at which they can be progressed, will be subject to the prevailing national policy context and/or the provision of additional powers and resources by central government, as made clear in Reading’s climate emergency declaration (see section 3.2 above).

Action plans

Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone
(NB numerical targets subject to confirmation in final Local
Transport Plan still in development at time of publication)
Target
completion date
Delivery partners
T1
Reduce the need to
travel through well
planned development
Ensure that services, leisure facilities and employment opportunities are
located close to where people live and/or in locations easy to access by
sustainable transport services via planning policy and decisions
Links: Business, Community, Health, Energy and LCD
Reduction in transport-related emissions across
Reading
Implementation of Reading Local Plan policies
2025 Reading Borough Council
Developers
T2
Develop demand
management measures
to reduce traffic and
encourage shift from
high carbon transport
Consider introduction of individual or combined policies via the
forthcoming Local Transport Plan such as:
» Workplace Parking Levy
» Clean Air Zone
» Alternative demand management measures
Links: Business, Community, Health
Initiate consultation
Develop business case for preferred option(s)
Implement preferred measure(s)
Q2 2020
2021
2022-23
Reading Borough Council
Local Businesses
Neighbouring Authorities
Department for Transport
Reading BID
T3
Enhance provision for
Pedestrians and cyclists
to encourage low
carbon travel choices
Provide space for walking and cycling improvements, including segregation
and road reallocation (where feasible), surface improvements, crossing
priority, safety improvements and increased cycle parking hubs/facilities
as set out in Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
Links: Health
Increase proportion of adults who walk at least
3 times per week from 30.8% (2019) to 40% by
2025 (en route to a 60% target by 2036)
Increase proportion of adults who cycle at least 3
times per week from 5.1% (2019) to 9% by 2025
(en route to a 15% target by 2036)
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Local User Groups
Thames Valley Police
T4
Enhance Town Centre
and Local Centre Public
Space to improve air
quality and reduce
carbon use
Improve the pedestrian experience in Central Reading and local centres
by providing better access to key destinations for walking, cycling and
bus passengers Green up the local environment to encourage use and
enjoyment of local facilities
Links: Business, Community, Health
Increase active travel mode share of trips to/from
Reading town centre from 32% (2017-2019 avg) to
34% by 2025 (en route to a 38% target by 2036)
Increase public transport trips to/from Reading
town centre from 44.5% mode share (2017-2019
avg) to 45.5% mode share per day by 2025 (en
route to a 48% target by 2036)
Decrease car trips mode share to/from Reading
town centre from 23.5% (2017-2019 avg) to
20.3% mode share by 2025 per day (en route
to a 14% target by 2036)
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
Reading BID
Local User Groups
Developers
Businesses
Residents
T5
Promote Sustainable
Travel to School and
other education sites to
encourage low carbon
travel choices
Establish dedicated and safe walking and cycling routes for each school.
Reduce the danger and pollution from ‘the school run’
Roll-out Play Streets/School Streets programme – supporting local
communities and schools who want to organise street closures
Increased shift from private car use to active travel
Improved health and fitness of schoolchildren
Improved air quality
Trial school street closures at selected schools
before a wider roll-out across the borough
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
School Communities
Bikeability Provider
Thames Valley Police
Local User Groups
Residents
University of Reading
T6
Improve major and
radial routes to promote
switch to sustainable
modes of travel
 Improve the transport options on main corridors and radial routes
including A4, A33, A327, A329, A4074, A4155 and the Inner Distribution
Road. Make space to encourage changes in travel choice to low/zero
carbon modes
Links: Business, Community, Education
 As per T3 and T4 2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
 Reading Borough Council
Neighbouring Authorities
TVB LEP
Transport Operators
Local User Groups
Residents
Businesses
T7
Improve Quality Bus
Corridors
Improve branded local routes with faster, more reliable and more frequent
services, changing people’s travel habits away from dependency on cars
especially for commuter and school journeys
Links: Business, Community, Education
Increase bus journeys per year by 9% from 22.5M
(2019) to 24.6M (en route to a target increase of
25% by 2036)
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
Businesses
Residents
Schools
Health Services
Department for Transport
T8
Establish Fast-Track
Public Transport
Corridors
Improve speed and reliability of key public transport routes through
establishment of key Fast-Track Public Transport (FTPT) corridors on
strategic routes (including south, west, east and north)
As per T7 2025 Reading Borough Council
Wokingham BC
West Berkshire BC
Oxfordshire CC
Transport Operators
T9
Extend Park and Ride
provision to encourage
car users to change
onto low carbon
alternatives to access
Reading
Provision of new and expanded Park & Rides to intercept traffic on main
corridors into Reading
Links: Business
Increased annual number of P&R trips to/from
Reading by 25% from 550,000 trips in 2019
to 690,000 trips by 2025
New P&R at Thames Valley Park opened
Winnersh Triangle P&R expanded
New P&R sites identified
2025
2020
2021
2025
Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
Royal Berks Hospital
Businesses
Wokingham Borough
Council
Thames Valley Park
W Berks BC
Oxfordshire Borough
Council
TVB LEP
Businesses
T10
Deliver Railway Station
upgrades to encourage
car users to use low
carbon alternatives to
and from Reading
Improved access to railway stations at Reading, Reading West and
Tilehurst by walking, cycling and public transport. Improved customer
experience (including fully accessible platforms), interchange and public
space enhancements, including new and improved cycle parking hubs and
facilities
Increase public transport trips to/from Reading
town centre from 44.5% mode share (2017-2019
avg) to 45.5% mode share per day by 2025 (en
route to a 48% target by 2036)
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Network Rail
Great Western Railway
TVB LEP
T11
Open Reading Green
Park Railway Station
Provide new station for access to Green Park and South Reading and
interchange with integrated bus services
Links: Business
New station completed and served
by GWR services
Interchange open with provision
of integrated bus services
2021 Reading Borough Council
Network Rail
Great Western Railway
Transport Operators
TVB LEP
Department for Transport
Businesses
T12
Implement traffic
management schemes
to support low carbon
travel choices
Provide effective management of the existing network to meet changing
mobility demands of Reading
Provide safe roads and pavements including crossings and reduce crossing
conflicts and interruptions to the flow of walking and cycling
As per T4 2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
Emergency Services
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone
(NB numerical targets subject to confirmation in final Local
Transport Plan still in development at time of publication)
Target
completion date
Delivery partners
T13
Develop a zero emission
vehicle strategy for the
Borough
» Study suitable locations
» Identify potential network constraints
» Assess potential demand
Strategy development to follow Local Transport
Plan
2020/21 Reading Borough Council
T14
Decarbonise the Council
Vehicle Fleet
» Increase electric charging points at Council buildings
» Consider phased replacement of Council vehicles with electric
powered units wherever possible
» Charging points to be installed at depot that can allow vehicles to
power buildings
» Carbon Plan will set targets for reduction in diesel/petrol
RBC Carbon Plan
Feasibility report,
Business case,
Budget approval* (subject to above)
Q4 2020
2022-2024
Reading Borough Council
T15
Increase Public Electric
Vehicle Charging Points
Install electric charging points in
» Council car parks
» Leisure centres
» Lamp columns (trials)
» Business premises
» Taxi ranks
Links: Business, Transport
First car park project
All suitable car parks
First leisure centre
All leisure centres
2020/21
2023
2020/21
2022
Reading Borough Council
Reading UK
Taxi and Private
Hire Associations
Leisure provider
T16
Increase zero emission
vehicles uptake
Work with vehicle sales outlets in Reading to increase zero emission
vehicle uptake
Links: Business
Zero emission vehicle uptake compared to national
benchmarks
Ongoing Reading UK
Reading Climate
Action Network
T17
Establish and promote
eBikes
Identify charging locations for electrically assisted pedal cycles and
investigate potential for e-bike hire scheme
Develop strategy for location TBC Reading Borough Council
Site owners
T18
Planning policy for
EV charging in new
properties
Monitor number of additional charging units installed in new properties
Links: Business
Monitor additional units in line with planning
policy
Ongoing Reading Borough Council
Developers
T19
Reduce emissions from
the Taxi Fleet
Require all taxis and private hire vehicles to be electric or hybrid by 2030 Improved air quality, reduced carbon emissions Beyond 2025 Reading Borough Council
Taxi and Private Hire
Associations
T19A
Reduce emissions and
improve efficiency of
freight movements
Work with the freight operators and businesses to encourage use of
cleaner vehicle technology, consolidate deliveries, encourage ‘out of
hours’ deliveries during quieter times and trial e-cargo bikes and freight
consolidation parks where feasible
Improved air quality, reduced carbon emissions and
reduced congestion
Beyond 2025 Reading Borough Council
Road Haulage
Association
Logistics UK
Freight operators and
local businesses
T20
Improve Electric Vehicle
Charging infrastructure
Develop and implement policy for appropriate provision of electric vehicle
charging points across the borough
Provision of EV charging installed as per the policy
to accommodate anticipated increases in demand
2022 Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
Third Party Landowners
T21
Deploy Intelligent
Transport Systems to
encourage change to
low carbon transport
Use technology and real-time data to improve safety, efficiency
environmental performance and journey experience of users of the
transport system, particularly at signal-controlled junctions
As per T4 2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Transport Operators
T22
Embrace Smart
Solutions to reduce use
of carbon in transport
Smarter Working – maximise benefits of flexible working patterns
including working from home (to cut transport demand) and more flexible
working hours to encourage commuter travel outside of the peak periods
Smart City Initiatives – use different types of electronic Internet of Things
(IoT) sensors to collect data and then use insights gained to manage
assets, resources and services efficiently
Implement Micromobility and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) schemes
as they evolve to facilitate shift from personally-owned modes of
transportation towards mobility provided as a service, combining public
and private transportation services through a unified gateway that
manages the trip, which users can pay for with a single account
Links: Business
Decrease car trips mode share to/from Reading
town centre from 23.5% (2017-2019 avg)
to 20.3% mode share by 2025 per day (en route
to a 14% target by 2036
Reduced need for car ownership across the
borough
2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Employers
Transport Operators
Emergency Services
Highways England
Motoring Organisations
Department for Transport
Car Clubs
T23a (General):
Develop education,
initiatives, promotion
and advice to
encourage low carbon
travel choices
Undertake marketing activities promoting sustainable transport, including
national events such as Bike Week, Clean Air Day, In Town Without My Car
Day, and organising local events and activities
Enable access to any adults who want to undertake Bikeability training.
Provide courses through schools as well as to individuals and to groups
Provide up-to-date travel information to enable people to make informed
travel choices including open data apps, real time passenger information
and roadside Messaging Signs
Develop programme of training, education and initiatives to promote
sustainable transport usage
Links: Education, Health
As per T4 2025 as part of the
Local Transport Plan
targets through to 2036
Reading Borough Council
Stakeholders
School Communities
Bikeability Provider
Thames Valley Police
Local User Groups
Residents
T23b (Schools):
Develop education,
initiatives, promotion
and advice to
encourage low carbon
travel choices in school
Roll-out Mode-shift STARS accreditation scheme to all schools in Reading
to recognise efforts encouraging sustainable travel
Implement School Streets, working with the schools to provide temporary
restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times
resulting in a safer, healthier and a more pleasant environment
Enable access to anybody who want to undertake Bikeability training.
Provide courses through schools as well as to individuals and to groups
Links: Education, Health
Achieve 50% of all schools accredited to at least
Bronze by 2025
Improvements to air quality and road safety as well
as encouraging healthier lifestyles
2025 Reading Borough Council
School Communities
T24
Research and plan
for Carbon Reduction
and Climate Change
Adaptation
Participate in research programmes investigating the carbon footprint
related to transport and the air quality impact of transport
Design climate adaptation into the planning and operation of transport
network to improve resilience to climate change impacts
Links: Adaptation
Research completed and recommendations made
Climate Change Adaptation key consideration in
planning of all schemes
2022
2025 and beyond
Reading Borough Council
Transport operators
University of Reading
Department for Transport
Other Stakeholders

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