Meeting documents

Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 28th March, 2017

Streets, Environment and Homes Scrutiny Sub-Committee Minutes

Tuesday 28th March 2017
6:30 p.m.
Council Chamber, the Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Councillor J Buttinger, Councillor S Fitzsimons, Councillor S Mann, Councillor S Winborn, Councillor S Bashford(Also In attendance), Councillor A Butler(Also In attendance), Councillor S King(Also In attendance)

Also present:
Steve Iles, Director of Streets; Mike Barton, Highway Improvement Manager; Clive Whittle, Senior Engineer, Highway Improvements; Zoe Cotton, Transport for London; Professor John Whitelegg, Vision Zero UK; Jeremy Leach, 20s Plenty; Nicola Wass, So-Mo (attendance via live video-link); Tom Sweeney, Walking and Cycling Programme Manager, Planning and Strategic Transport.

Item Item/Resolution

The Committee RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the last meeting held on Tuesday 28 February as a correct record.


There were none.


There was no urgent business.


The item began with a video on Vision Zero. At the conclusion of the film the Chair of the Sub-Committee gave the floor to the invited guests who delivered presentations.

Professor Whitelegg spoke on the successes of Vision Zero in Sweden which had seen a considerable drop in the numbers of deaths on Stockholm's roads, and had been in place for 20 years. A multi-agency approach had been undertaken to implement the project, with a strong public health focus, and this was key to its success. Focus groups had indicated an overwhelming support for the scheme. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified road safety as a key issue and cities across Europe and North America were now adopting versions of Vision Zero. A number of different cities implemented bespoke measures for their own contexts but common measures included 20mph zones on all residential streets, strong links with public health, and a complementing social media campaign.

Zoe Cotton drew the Sub-Committee's attention to the Transport for London (TfL) "Healthy Streets for London" strategy that had been recently launched. The strategy linked with the public health agenda, the business plan and the transport strategy. Reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on the city's roads was a key priority. A safe system approach to London's roads would be utilised, including enforcement alongside technology to promote behavioural change. The safer junctions programme would look at how junctions could be designed to be safer and consider every vulnerable user in the design. There was also a roll-out of intelligent speed technology on buses to restrict the speed of the vehicles. TfL was also looking at its own contracted services such as deliveries and construction sites and ensuring that all contractors complied with safety measures. The strategy cannot be implemented solely by TfL, it would require cross-party support and working well with all the London boroughs.

Nicola Wass stated that behavioural change was the key issue for the So-mo organisation. Behavioural change is utilised for many societal issues such as public health and crime reduction. The traditional method or incentives and enforcement would not succeed with a scheme like Vision Zero - they key would be to work with human behaviours rather than fight against them. Reduced resources for the police and local authorities made enforcement measures harder to afford, thus highlighting another important reason for using behavioural change for Vision Zero to be effective. There were some important factors to consider when attempting to influence behavioural change:

  • Draw on people's emotions; an example was a "kid's court" that was held in which children held speeding motorists in their local area to account. The use of children had more of an emotional effect on the motorists.
  • People are more responsive to messages from individuals they can relate to. Non-traditional figures were used to promote road safety messages such as the Everton and England football player Phil Jagielka.

Jeremy Leach brought to the Sub-Committee's attention a recent report on the impact of 20mph zones by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The research found that in 20mph zones casualty rates fell by 42%. It was also noted that three quarters of accidents happened on main roads or junctions. There were creative measures undertaken that reduced average speeds in different localities. On example was the removal of white divider lines on roads - the uncertainty this created for drivers produced a more cautious attitude and so speeds dropped. New York City found a huge reduction in incidents through measures such as physical segregation of cycle lanes. TfL were looking to trial the introduction of average speed cameras in some key roads in London and intelligent speed technology was intended to be rolled out on all the capital's buses. Community RoadWatch was welcomed as an exciting new initiative that would be introduced in all London boroughs and be community-led.


Mike Barton talked the Sub-Committee through the report that had been made for the meeting. In 2015 the number of fatal deaths on Croydon's roads was three, which was a good reduction from previous figures. There were a number of exciting TfL schemes being implemented in Croydon such as "Safe Drive Stay Alive". Croydon were leading in the introduction of speed reduction technologies such as speed and number plate indicators.

The Chair of the Sub-Committee brought Members' attention to page 27 of the report that set out the high economic costs of collisions. The Chair also reported back to the Sub-Committee on his recent visit to Stockholm. Vision Zero was considered not just a transport issue but part of planning and mobility generally and was not considered a stand-alone campaign. The project had support from both national and regional government and this inter-governmental collaboration appeared to be key to the project's success.
A vital step was taken when measuring collision and accidents rates; whilst traditionally relying on police statistics, the city authority began integrating hospital figures as well. Officers found that this gave a much more accurate figure on the real rates of road incidents, particularly for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, who were less likely to report incidents to the police. With this more accurate data there was a renewed focus on pavements and cycle lanes. Another crucial step was integrating Vision Zero into the public health agenda.
Sweden was still a country with a high number of car-owners and there were still issues around cars being used for short journeys such as the school-run and shopping. Behavioural change campaigns were being utilised to deal with this. There was an issue with the implementation of average-speed cameras due to data protection laws in Sweden.

Councillor King, the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, stated that the Council shared TfL's long term vision of zero deaths on the country's roads. It was recognised that the Council played an important part in the delivery of the Mayor's strategy. It was noted that many of the key measures mentioned had already been introduced in Croydon.

Councillor Butler, Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration and Planning, stated that good planning and regeneration would deliver many of the aspects of Vision Zero. The Local Plan was also an important instrument to meeting the objectives of a safe borough. There was still an over-reliance on cars in Croydon, highlighted by recent opposition to 20mph zones. Wellesley Road was an example of historic poor planning, a dual carriage that cut the town centre in two. The current administration were taking steps to address this by planting trees and introducing zebra crossing. The Council was also promoting public transport which fed into the air quality measures the Council were embarking on.


At the conclusion of the presentation, the Sub-Committee asked questions of the invited guests and received the following responses:


Behavioural Change


  • Nicola Wass stated that for behavioural change to have the biggest effect, the largest scope of the population must be targeted. So whilst there was important work that could be done on the minority of road drivers who drive recklessly and irresponsibly, a greater impact would be achieved by focussing campaigns on the majority of motorists who were responsible.
  • Nicola Wass pointed to Birmingham as a city that had undertook successful behavioural change campaigns in recent years. The local authority there understood the importance of such campaigns to be resident-led and the importance of a strong communication strategy. The campaign was all the more impressive in the context of the city's car manufacturing history.
  • Professor Whitelegg noted that Vision Zero in Sweden adopted behavioural change with institutions as well as individuals, as ultimately it would be institutions that would deliver the change. It was also important to note that the more people that took up walking and cycling, the safer those activities became. Therefore measures should be implemented to encourage those forms of mobility as far as possible; Berlin and New York City had found success in this by introducing all red junction light systems, which made crossing busy junctions a far quicker and easier process for pedestrians.
  • Professor Whitelegg stated that Stockholm had similar car behavioural challenges as other modern cities such as residents using cars for the school run and shopping. However a key difference was a stronger respect for vulnerable road users. There was a starting point that drivers had no rights on the road but only responsibilities; this in turn created a calmer attitude amongst motorists.
  • Steve Iles noted that, in the morning of the Sub-Committee meeting, a significant road incident had caused long delays throughout the south of the borough. The department had been inundated with complaints from residents which highlighted the importance of behavioural change coupled with modal change, as it was possible that measures to promote cycling and walking would cause challenges to motorists.

Road Incidents Statistics


  • Mike Barton confirmed that road incident statistics were documented by the Metropolitan Police and the compiled by TfL and sent to individual boroughs. He confirmed that they did not include statistics on report of injuries from local hospital.
  • Professor Whitelegg stated that that road incident statistics were inaccurate as they only accounted for incidents that received a notification to the police. There were many minor and non-injury collisions that were therefore unaccounted for. Hospitals already record incidents at A&E so the accumulation of this data would not be too arduous a task.

Modal Change


  • Jeremy Leach stated that public transport was as key as walking and cycling and was embedded within the active travel policy.
  • Tom Sweeney noted that walking and cycling were integrated into the Council's town centre masterplan. Junction design was a major challenge for Croydon and officers used a huge amount of data tracking and analysis before implementing junction changes.
  • Mike Barton stated that the Council had considered introducing all red junction lights in some parts of the borough however it was not considered a practical option. The light phasing would have introduced longer delays on roads which had the potential to spill into other junctions. With all such measures the issue was how to balance competing issues.
  • Councillor King emphasised the importance of looking beyond the "hard" approach of road traffic interventions and to consider "soft" measures as well. Examples of such schemes included the school safety awards that recognised work done by schools to reduce car traffic in their vicinity during peak times. There were also broader measures that could promote modal change such as more flexible working practices to discourage parents using a car for the school run as part of the commute to work. The Council had reduced daily deliveries to the Town Hall which also contributed to reducing road traffic in the borough.



In reaching its recommendations, the Committee made the following CONCLUSIONS:


  • Adopting Vision Zero approach to road safety has significantly improved road safety in Sweden over the last 20 years.
  • Recognised that Croydon has over the years implemented many of the good practice suggestions in regards road safety and that accidents have reduced in both numbers and severity.
  • Recognised that Croydon Council is trying to improve the public realm infrastructure of Croydon to make it easier to walk and cycle.
  • Recognised the budgetary constraints that Croydon Council officers worked under.
  • Protecting vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, should be Croydon's priority in regards its policy towards road users.
  • For Vision Zero to be a success, residents must be involved in the process and their cooperation attained.
  •  A "one size fits all" approach would not work for Vision Zero to succeed; different parts of the borough would require different solutions for implementation.
  • The rates of road incidents will never be accurate if police statistics alone are relied upon. Data from hospitals was critical in achieving an accurate data set on road safety incidents, particularly for vulnerable road users, whose accidents are likely to be under reported. Evidence from Stockholm City showed the importance of this data.
  • The key to success of Vision Zero in Croydon would be a combination of behavioural change coupled with modal change; the more residents that took up walking and cycling, the safer those options would become.
  • A critical lesson from the Stockholm experience was the support for Vision Zero from local and central government and the multi-agency approach to implementation.
  • That road traffic collisions and injuries created a significant cost to the economy, as noted in the report the Committee received. This put the borough's spending on road traffic measures into a context of potential savings for the Council.
  • Vision Zero will have a benefit in terms of improving air quality as one it its aims is to reduce congestion by smoothing out traffic speeds, which would decrease emissions.

The Committee RESOLVED to recommend to Cabinet that:

  1. They give strong consideration to making Vision Zero an integral part of Croydon's Road Safety strategy, which should strongly inform the creation and implementation of a Mobility Strategy.
  2. The dataset on road safety incidents used by officers must include hospital statistics alongside police data, and in the short-term acknowledge that vulnerable road users' accidents have likely been under-reported in the past.
  3. Working with Croydon Public Health, transportation officers should undertake a review to see how unreported accidents of vulnerable road users can be collected from local hospitals and health centres, and used to inform decision making.
  4. Council should consider a behavioural change policy, especially with the introduction of 20mph zones across Croydon, to encourage adherence to speed limits. In particular to work with local police teams, community organisations and schools to achieve this.
  5. Croydon Council should ensure that if Vision Zero is adopted that this feeds through to other strategies and plans such as planning, new school place planning, public health, school travel plans, etc.
  6. Consider supporting UN Global Road Safety Week of 8-14th May 2107 as a sign of its commitment to road safety.


The Committee RESOLVED to recommend to Mayor Of London and Transport for London that:

  1. To work together with Croydon Council to help support a Vision Zero approach.
  2. To recognise that the current dataset on road accidents used by TFL is likely to undercount the number of accidents experienced by vulnerable road users.
  3. If Vision Zero for London is to be truly effective the datasets on road safety incidents used by transport planners must include hospital statistics alongside police data.
  4. To consider whether TFL and the Met Police traffic division could work in partnership to trial the use of Average Speed Cameras on a select number of roads in Croydon including some with 20mph.
  5. To consider supporting a behavioural change programme for Croydon.

The Chair noted that the meeting was the last for the Sub-Committee in the 2016/17 municipal year. There was an intention for a stronger focus on planning and housing in the work programme for the next municipal year.


The Sub-Committee NOTED the work programme for the 2016/17 municipal year.


Not required

The meeting finished at 8.57pm