Independent Transport Commission
|Independent Transport Commission|
|Motto||Carpe Iter Itineris|
|Type||Public Policy Think Tank|
The Independent Transport Commission, abbreviated to ITC, is a research charity and think tank based in the United Kingdom, devoted to exploring issues in the fields of transport, planning and land use. It is politically neutral, and has established a reputation as a nationally respected independent voice on transport and planning policy.
It played a key role shaping policy in the 2000s (decade) with the publication of a series of authoritative and groundbreaking reports on road pricing, suburban planning, long distance travel, and the future of transport.
The Commission delivers its work by publishing reports and policy papers, hosting special lectures and discussion evenings, and meeting with senior officials. It is currently chaired by Simon Linnett, Vice-Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons.
Following the publication in 1998 of the Labour government's transport white paper entitled 'A New Deal for Transport: Better for everyone', Stephen Joseph, director of Transport 2000, suggested to Bernard Jenkin MP, the then Conservative Shadow Transport Secretary, that he would benefit from the services of a 'think tank'.
In the event, putting together a think tank to serve the Shadow Secretary of State proved impractical. Many of those approached liked the idea but did not want to serve a political party. This impasse was resolved when, thanks to Professor Mike McDonald, the infant ITC was offered a home by Professor Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton. The 'Independent Transport Commission', as it was then christened, was formally launched at the Royal Society of Arts in October 1999.
The New Labour Era
In 2000 the Commission invited Sir Patrick Brown, former Permanent Secretary to the Department for Transport, to be its Chairman. Sir Patrick led the Commission through several major projects, encouraging greater boldness in Labour's transport policy, and leading debate on a number of issues. He was succeeded by Dr David Quarmby CBE, who steered the Commission through the development of a new Long Distance Travel forecasting model, the first of its kind. In 2009 Quarmby left to lead the RAC Foundation and was succeeded by Simon Linnett, Executive Vice Chairman of Rothschild.
The Coalition Era
The election of the Conservative led coalition in 2010 led to fresh opportunities after the spending cuts saw the demise of the government's own transport quango, the Commission for Integrated Transport, leaving the ITC as the main think tank in the field. The ITC's own work on Transport Appraisal and Spending was later submitted to the Transport Select Committee for discussion.
'Forward Thinking' Discussion Evenings
The Independent Transport Commission hosts a regular series of Discussion Evenings at the Alan Baxter Gallery in Farringdon. The Commission uses these to develop new policy thinking, and guest speakers at previous events have included Sir David King, Professor Stephen Glaister, and Andrew Haines.
In response to the Labour Government's Transport 10 Year Plan the ITC released in 2001 a report on 'Tomorrow's Transport' calling for bolder policy initiatives to tackle potential future problems. The report was widely reviewed, particularly the conclusion that traffic would eventually become increasingly unmanageable in suburban and rural areas, and helped shift policy in the direction of 'liveable streets'.
Road Pricing – The Commission published a series of reports on Road Pricing in the mid-2000s (decade) led by Professor Stephen Glaister. The reports were welcomed by the government as evidence that road pricing could pay for new roads. At the same time the ITC noted that the government would have to be clear where the extra money would be spent, and warned that there was a risk of increasing congestion on rural roads.
Long Distance Travel – In 2010 the ITC published the results of a three-year project developing a model to forecast long distance travel demand in Britain. The study indicated that economic growth remained the single biggest factor affecting long distance travel demand in Britain, and noted that in the absence of major policy measures the demand for air travel would accelerate. The findings have recently been seized by the opposition to High Speed 2 to show that passenger growth arising from High Speed Rail could be limited.
Land Use and Planning
Suburbs – The Commission asked Professor Marcial Echenique of the University of Cambridge to report on the future of British Suburbs and Exurbs. Echenique's report warned that current policies would encourage suburban expansion, increasing both commuting times and carbon emissions, forcing a rethink of government policy.
Land Use Effects of the 10 Year Plan – Fearing that transport and land use policy had become increasingly disconnected, in 2002 the ITC commissioned Sir Peter Hall to investigate the land use effects of the Government's 10 Year Plan. Hall's conclusions that the Plan would encourage urban sprawl and threaten regeneration was credited with encouraging a re-orientation of policy towards more brownfield development.
- Long Distance Travel in Britain, Professor Joyce Dargay, 2010
- Road Pricing in Britain: Winners and Losers, Professor Stephen Glaister and Dr Dan Graham, 2006
- The Future of Suburbs and Exurbs, Professor Marcial Echenique, 2004
- The Land Use Effects of the '10 Year Plan', Professor Sir Peter Hall, 2002
- The Independent on research by the 'respected' Independent Transport Commission, The Independent, 17 June 2003
- 'Pay as you drive now firmly on government's agenda', BBC News, 27 November 2006
- David Quarmby appointed new ITC Chairman, Local Transport Today 2 August 2007
- Government kills off Commission for Integrated Transport, Road Transport, 15 October 2010
- Cars Threaten Betjeman's Homes fit for Heroes, The Independent, 20 March 2001
- ITC Report shows that Charging could fund new Road, BBC News 26 November 2006
- ITC warns Road Pricing 'wont deter drivers, BBC News 18 April 2006
- ITC Report offers Six Scenarios that will change the game for long distance travel, New Transit May 2010
- ITC predict only 35% in passenger numbers from HS2, Stop HS2 Campaign
- Suburban Commuting times to rise, says ITC, The Independent, 19 July 2004
- ITC warns that transport plans 'threaten' urban regeneration, The Guardian, 14 October 2002