Changing policy will eventually filter down to the decision makers and the Highway Authority, I am sure, however, it takes a (very) long time in my experience. We are still dealing with Local Planning Authorities that have 20 year old parking standards, requiring a minimum of 2 or 3 vehicular parking spaces in town centres!
Whilst I have to admit I have not had time to digest the TRICS document to the level of detail that I would like, it is evident that the “worked examples” do not provide a clear trend in change of travel demand in regard for many of the development types (Food Retail Store being the clear exception). Adopting the idea of a “fan of influence”, building in a resilience in our approach, is definitely the way forward. Scenario testing has, and always will be, useful, providing we are given the time and budget to undertake them. However, the challenge will be convincing my clients that it is worth my time, but more importantly, their money. In particular, if the Highway Authority does not give any weight to the additional analysis and still revert to the old P&P way of thinking.
Nevertheless, coinciding with the release of the TRICS document we were on the same day (22 February 2021) provided with a “Road Map” out of the prevailing pandemic by Boris Johnson, so maybe I should see this as a good sign and be less cynical and things will change for the better. Maybe the 2021 Census will also provide us with clarity when it is published; providing my profession with a clearer picture of what changes have already taken place. But, the big question will be how relevant the 2021 Census is, considering the prevailing restrictions due to COVID-19 on 21 March 2021 when it is due to be undertaken!
Whatever we do, we just need to make sure that we create better places for people in years to come; places to meet, play, work, live and enjoy life. In the words of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT): “Our quality of life depends on transport and easy access to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities, and services”.