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04 AUG 2022

Evoke’d Thoughts: Manual for Streets Update; A Revolutionary Design Guide or More of the Same?

Manual for Streets was introduced to me on my first day in the industry. This will be your bible, they said. Read it, learn it, sleep with it under your pillow... you get the idea.

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Manual for Streets (MfS) was published in 2007; followed by MfS2 in 2010. Both documents provide design guidance, primarily for residential development and quiet streets (MfS2 extends these principles to busier streets) across England and Wales. The guidance document is currently being updated by CIHT in partnership with WSP, with MfS3 anticipated to be published later this year.

The guidance document is one very important tool in our transport planning toolkit and many, if not most, existing streets and new developments use it in some way.

A key concept when preparing MfS 1 and 2 was flexibility in the application of design guidance; a move away from the overly prescriptive standards of Design Bulletin 32 (DB32) days. At the time of publish, I’m told it represented a sea change away from designing of the car-dominated streetscape of almost every decade which came before.

However, whilst still used by practitioners, some Local Highway Authorities (LHAs) struggled to adopt the more flexible principles of the guidance at first. More recently, MfS1 and MfS2 have become somewhat out of touch and their place in design less and less valuable with the introduction of newer, more innovative documents over the last five-or-so years.

Take, for example, the introduction of Transport for London’s Healthy Streets for London and the National Design Guide which both provide principles of well designed, healthy places. The Healthy Streets guidance represents a new approach for the way in which we plan for, consider and design new development and off-site connections and is becoming favoured in some areas outside of London as an exemplar design guidance for new development within urban centres. The guidance takes highway design a step further from MfS to not just consider the design of new streets for all, but considering how they make us feel, how they support flexibility in use and user, and how they can contribute to the Governments’ wider Net Zero agenda.

The principles of LTN 1/20 and Inclusive Mobility also represent a change in the way in which streets are designed with a much greater emphasis on inclusively prioritising active modes. An example of this is the current pause on shared surface streets due to their unsuitability for the visually impaired, and the move away from shared surface walking/cycling routes to separate spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.

MfS has a place in design guidance. Healthy Streets focuses primarily on cities and urban centres and, whilst its principles can be applied elsewhere, it is less useful for suburban, residential streets which is where MfS can come to the fore.

The forthcoming update to MfS is a welcome move, though when drafting we would encourage CIHT and WSP to take the opportunity to adopt a similar style of guidance to Healthy Streets; one that turns the traditional transport assessment and design of new streets and development on its head to allow for truly sustainability-focused innovation. Perhaps a similar design toolkit and rating system could be adopted, but with an eye on development outside of major urban centres.

We are told that the latest revision will detail how and where the guidance fits with other guidance and policy which will be key to understanding its’ purpose. It is also understood to contain some design details including for parking, design, cycling, green and blue (water elements) infrastructure and last mile freight. Some of these elements are new to MfS, some are updated to reflect changes over the last 15 years-or-so.

But what doesn’t appear to be included is a new way of approaching the requirements for and design of development, similar to Healthy Streets. It would be beneficial, since the majority of us live in ‘MfS’ style suburbs and residential or semi-rural areas, to give as much innovation to the design of these places as was considered with Healthy Streets. This should include not just ‘new’ streets, but also detail how the principles of MfS (and perhaps the key ‘indicators’) can be tailored to improvement of existing streets too.

The document should be future proofed as far as possible, particular in relation to consideration of autonomous vehicles, the inevitable rise of electric vehicles, cycles and scooters, alternative forms of transport such as DRT and MRT, and transport and mobility hubs. The way we design our streets to be able to flexibly and inclusively respond to known and unknown changes is critical if we want to take real steps towards tackling climate change, the obesity crisis and to support the government’s health and wellbeing agenda.

Alongside this, there is a balance of caution – the guidance needs to encourage use by all and not to become so radical that we are too shy to adopt it for fear that its principles will not be supported by LHAs (and Members). We need to consider adoption of streets by Local Authorities too; is clearer guidance needed on what should or shouldn’t be adopted? This was certainly a key point picked up in the Housing Design Audit for England (2020).

When drafting, CIHT and WSP must continue to involve all potential stakeholders as this is an opportunity that cannot and should not be missed and the industry needs to come together. If MfS3 is not revolutionary enough, my fear is that we will have another 15 years of potentially not poor; but definitely not innovative design which does not truly prioritise people and movement and does not put placemaking at the forefront.

I look forward to reading and using MfS3 and hope that it goes far enough to be considered ‘revolutionary’ for all new streets and developments, rather than a simple update which is pushed to the back of the line in favour of other documents. The new guidance is set to be published towards the end of 2022/early 2023 and we will certainly be among the first to study its contents and provide a further update once it is available.

- Beth

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20 JUL 2022

Introducing our Birmingham Office!

We’re incredibly excited to announce the official opening of our Birmingham Office!
Jon Williams will be heading up the office in the Alpha Works building on Suffolk Street, central Birmingham.

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Have a read of our article below where Jon Williams and Richard Stacey have shared their thoughts. Thanks must go to TheBusinessDesk.com for such a warm welcome.

We look forward to all the challenges and opportunities that Evoke’s Birmingham office will bring!

If you’re ever in Birmingham, pop in and say hello!

Read TheBusinessDesk.com article.

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27 JUN 2022

Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, South Oxfordshire

We are delighted to see the outcome of South Oxfordshire District Council's Planning Committee and the resolution to grant permission for the redevelopment proposals at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, A Belmond Hotel. The proposals included a wellness spa, a ‘Bistro Deluxe’, new garden villas and suites, new pavilions and storage barns, together with a new access off the A339, providing highway safety improvements.

A great project to work on and a fantastic team to work alongside. Congratulations to all the team! 

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27 MAY 2022

Success at North East Chichester

We are so proud to have been part of the team that have helped the North East Chichester Strategic Development be granted outline planning permission through the appeal process. The development will comprise up to 165 dwellings and will effectively form a third phase of a wider SDL residential development in Chichester.

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The proposals for phase III were initially refused at planning application stage with one of the reasons for refusal relating to access and highway safety. The Team worked hard to resolve these issues with WSCC in advance of the Inquiry and it is noted within the Decision Notice that the information provided by Evoke was sufficient grounds for the Council to not pursue highway safety as a reason for refusal. Richard Stacey still presented evidence at the Public Inquiry in relation to design, overall accessibility and access impacts as well demonstrating that the proposals would not have a material impact on events at the Goodwood Estate.

Thank you to all staff involved and congratulations to the wider project team and other expert witnesses on a successful Appeal!

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10 MAY 2022

Issy Smith joins Evoke Transport

The team has expanded to 10 with the appointment. Issy, who has just over 12 months experience working for a transport consultancy in Berkshire, undertook a Geography degree at the University of Leicester.

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She said: “I am extremely excited to be joining the team at Evoke Transport and begin to get involved in a variety of interesting projects."

"I am eager to contribute the skills I have developed over the past year to tasks, whilst having an innovative approach to new challenges I may face."

"The team have been extremely welcoming throughout my first week and I look forward to attending various events inside and outside of the office."

Managing director Richard Stacey said: "This is an exciting appointment for us and achieving the milestone of ten employees is a key step in the Evoke evolution."

"Issy will provide valuable support for the team as well as enhancing our overall transport planning and development capability to assist with project delivery."

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19 APR 2022

Head up, off the highway!

With the news breaking earlier this week of a new Drone Test Corridor named Project Skyway, connecting airspace above cities including Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby, we asked David Fletcher, Associate Director at Evoke Transport, Reading for his and other industry professionals views on the proposals.

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The drone industry, as a whole, is definitely at the start of its technology curve with the future significance they have to play in our day to day lives still relatively unknown. Over the last few years there have been some important and exciting trials taking place all over the world from the Volocopter drone passenger taxi trials in Singapore, to the Royal Mail drone parcel delivery trials, to the Isle of Mull and Scilly Isles and the medical supply deliveries from St Marys Hospital to the Isle of Wight.

Speaking with Gareth Whatmore, CEO of DronePrep, who have lead consortia’s of technology providers to undertake a number of real world trials, including the aforementioned Isle of Mull and Scilly Isles trials.

"At present the regular connection by sea and air to the Scilly Isles are unable to run 90 days a year due to poor weather conditions, or other factors, meaning that parcel deliveries, medical supplies and essential supplies are delayed impacting people and businesses".

On the Isles of Scilly project the Drone Providers used were able to carry approximately 100kg of mail and parcels, including essential PPE and COVID testing kits, to the Scilly Isles to help combat the impacts of the pandemic. The trial was able to reduce journey times and vehicle emissions as well as improve reliability, efficiency, connectivity and safety with autonomous drones able to continue to operate in adverse weather conditions unlike the planes or boats which traditionally serve the Isles.

Similarly Gareth stated

"The NHS Airbridge Trial operated by Skyports between the Isle of Mull and the mainland in Scotland was used to transport diagnostic tests samples and prescriptions with journey times reduced from 48 hours to 2 hours".

What is clear is that drone deliveries offer significant journey time savings for remote parts of the UK whilst also offering increased reliability and reduced human risk. The ability to continue to operate throughout when other travel modes are disrupted being a key benefit.

What is interesting about the proposed Project Skyway is it looks at a new challenge in an area that, unlike the above two examples, is far from being considered remote but is actually well connected by other forms of transport; as such the potential benefits are different, perhaps greatest for middle mile logistics from distribution centres to retail stores.

With the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway road cancelled in 2021 could Project Skyway offer an alternative and more cost effective, technologically advanced solution? The East-West Rail link will still help to improve connectivity for passengers between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge but offers more limited potential for the movement of good, with drones offering a more enhanced door to door service for all.

As such Project Skyway could help to unlock the way for reducing the number of goods trips by road. Likewise the potential extension to Southampton could help ease the burden on the A34 corridor which experiences high levels of goods traffic from the south coast ports at Portsmouth and Southampton. At present the Amazon drones only carry weights of up to 2.2 kilograms but some heavy duty professional drones can carry a weight of up to 220 kilograms. Meaning you would need at least four drones to replace the payload of a single transit van. However given the infancy of drone technology the carry capacity is likely to only increase over time.

drone news article

Furthermore with the corridor connecting a number of the world leading hospitals, it offers great potential to dramatically reduce journey times and increase reliability for medical deliveries, particularly time sensitive ones, such as organ transplants, which if the delivery is delayed can result in it being unsuitable for transplant. The journey time from John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to Addenbrook’s Hospital in Cambridge by car during peak hours can often be anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, whereas a Drone flying at 60mph un-delayed by road congestion could perform this journey in little over an hour. Importantly, the journey time would also be consistent for each trip. As such the creation of a drone superhighway could potentially save lives.

A number of garden villages and strategic developments are proposed along the Superhighway route there and there is a pressing need to bring drones and drone deliveries into masterplanning exercises to help minimise the number of delivery vehicle trips. Larger drones require small runways and therefore safeguarded land for drones to land safely is key. Furthermore incorporating drone landing stations and parcel lockers into Mobility Hubs within sites will all help to minimise the need for people to travel.

In my opinion this is just the start of an evolving technology. There are clear benefits to using drones, decreased journey time, improved reliability, the ability to operate in all conditions without risk to humans but for them to make a major contribution rather than just being a ‘specialist solution’ there needs to be significant advancements in technology and legislation needs to catch up. In speaking to two drone operators they agreed, Stacey Dix, owner of Kestrel Surveys (a drone survey company), stated

"Project Skyway highlights the changing shift in attitude towards drones. Whereby, once they were seen as pie in the sky (if you excuse the pun) they are now being seen as a real potential to be used for good and improve our lives. As a drone operator, I’m finding the technology is there, but regulations and legislations are somewhat slow in catching up, if this does get funded, hopefully it will mean the regulation side of things also has to catch up, which can only be a positive thing".

Gareth Whatmore stated "Drone deliveries may not be the best solution for all deliveries, some people still want the human face, however its all about establishing where drone deliveries provide a better solution and where they add value. Project Skyway can help to unpack issues with regulations, establish acceptable routes, undertake large scale community engagement and help showcase that you can fly planes and drones in the same airspace".

It is evident that Project Skyway is a real statement and could be a world leading project that leads to greater investment in the drone industry and greater exploration of travel via autonomous drones. Will the idea ever take off? The test corridor offers the industry the chance to trial different delivery options and establish the market where drones offer an enhanced service whilst also offering the chance for legislation to catch up with technology which in my opinion can only be a good thing.

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21 MAR 2022

Evoke’d Thoughts: Micromobility – what can we learn from other countries?

Micromobility has the potential to increase connectivity, reduce reliance on the private car, while reducing environmental impact. Micromobility sales are increasing globally with e-bikes and e-scooters representing the fastest growing models. This has led to increases in diversity of new devices and new operating models, such as shared-use models including docked and dockless bike and scooter share.

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Despite the significant opportunities presented by the use of micromobility, e-scooters and other forms of electric micromobility, they are still illegal to use on public roads, cycle paths or footpaths. Whilst e-bikes are only legal under certain conditions.

What is the difference between e-bikes and e-scooter legislation in the UK?

An eBike is legal to ride as long as it complies with the construction and use regulations, which allows the bike to be provided with special status to not be treated as a motor vehicle and is therefore exempt from the road traffic act.

E-scooters, however, are currently illegal to use on public roads, cycle lanes or pavements as they are recognised as “powered transporters”, and therefore require the same legal requirements as motor vehicles. Currently the penalty for the use of an e-scooter on a road is 6 penalty points and/or a £300 fine.

UK Government Trials

In Spring 2020 the government consulted on legalising scooters, calling for evidence to regulate e-scooters to be treated in the same way as e-bikes. In July 2020, the DfT launched a trial pilot rental scheme for e-scooters to be used on public roads. The trial still treats e-scooters as motor vehicles, with insurance arranged by the hire company and riders requiring a valid driving licence. The e-scooters are limited to a maximum speed, with riders allowed on roads and cycle lanes. The Transport Committee welcomed the trial which they said should draw on lessons from other countries so as to avoid potential negative impacts on pedestrians and disabled people.

The official trial has now been extended till 31st March 2022 to ensure the ‘most comprehensive’ evidence is gained from the trials and therefore legislation is now considered unlikely to come into effect until mid-2023. The trials are current running in 55 locations throughout the UK, including Slough and Oxford. Therefore despite the clear benefits, e-scooters are likely to remain illegal to use on public roads for a while...

So what can the UK learn from others?

ZAG Daily estimated in June 2021 that there are over 360,000 e-scooters available for hire on European streets, with the UK trial programme making up less than 5% of the numbers. It is therefore clear that many countries have successfully legalised e-scooters for private use, as well as rented use. So what laws do other countries have in place, which our government could use to serve as an example:

Belgium were one of the first countries to embrace e-scooters, with laws stating that you can drive an e-scooter as long as it doesn’t exceed a maximum speed, with a driver’s license required if you wish to ride at top speeds.

Spanish riders aren’t allowed to use their e-scooter on the pavement, motorway or city tunnels and must have a maximum speed. Users have to comply with the same laws as cars and motorbike users, requiring a front and rear light and must wear reflective vests.

Germany have allowed e-scooters on public roads since June 2019 and have enforced a maximum speed limit with riders only using designated cycle paths and lanes. Each scooter must have a comprehensive braking system and a front and rear light, with users requiring an operating license and a valid insurance policy. Research from Destasis, showed in 2020 that e-scooters represented only 1% of all traffic accidents.

Norway has enforced strict rules with only one person allowed on a scooter and clear signage where your scooter can legally be ridden. Users can ride on the pavement, however a reduced maximum speed limit is enforced. Parking fines will be enforced if leaving a scooter in specific locations.

Singapore currently have the strictest regulations in place for e-scooters, with restrictions on the speed and specs of e-scooters. If restrictions are not adhered to, riders could receive a fine of $10,000 (approx. £5,600) and up to 6 months jail time. The scooter also needs to be registered. You are allowed to ride on public paths, however a theory test is required for all riders, with a fine and jail time if you fail to obtain a pass certificate.

Final Thoughts...

Analysis undertaken within the London Cycling Campaign research paper in 2020 from worldwide data showed that micromobility use, particularly e-scooters, resulted in a mode shift mostly from private vehicles (36%) and walking (37%), with some shift from public transport (13%), cycling (9%) and 6% from unknown modes. It is clear that e-scooters can bring environmental benefits, as well as convenience benefits and increased accessibility and inclusivity, however the main concern is regarding safety.

Further, ZAG Daily reported in April 2021 that shared e-scooter riders in the largest UK trial areas are travelling for an average of approximately 6km, suggesting that the trials are generating new trips altogether or replacing car trips or other transport modes. These distances are in excess of the prescribed IHT Walking distances and therefore it is evident that many e-scooter journeys are not just replacing walking trips, as speculated.

While the UK government is making positive moves to look into the opportunities presented by micromobility, if e-scooters are to be legalised for private use in the UK, the government will need to put in place clear restrictions to ensure safety for all. What regulations should the government enforce and when? I personally think e-scooters should be legalised throughout the country, as soon as possible, with riders treated the same as cyclists.

One thing is for certain, e-scooter usage is increasing throughout the country despite their illegal status and the longer the Government wait to legalise e-scooter use, the more unregulated e-scooters will continue to increase, risking safety for all.

We await the government’s decision and conclusions following the trials in March.

Olivia

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06 JAN 2022

Welcome Paul Kelly!

What better way to start 2022 then with the announcement of a new member of staff. Please join us in welcoming Paul Kelly to Evoke. Paul has over 15 years experience and joins from AECOM where he previously led the Development Planning team in Basingstoke. Paul has an MSc in Transport Planning and Engineering from the University of Southampton, which is where Paul first met David Fletcher back in 2010!

Richard says: "I am excited to welcome Paul, who will bring a wealth of experience to Evoke. Paul is our most senior recruit since our formation and I look forward to working with him to expand our client base and diverse project portfolio".

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Paul says "I am very excited to join Evoke and start a new chapter in my career after 15 years working in transport planning and development planning with AECOM (formerly Scott Wilson and URS). I look forward to working with the Evoke team to deliver considered transport strategies and solutions to a diverse portfolio of development projects and applications, and relish the opportunity to utilise my extensive experience in sustainable transport and lessons learnt in assisting clients during the COVID-19 pandemic to address evolving challenges in the development planning industry including the response to the climate change agenda."

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21 OCT 2021

Evoke'd Thoughts: Transport Reports: A New Approach?

Transport reports provide a much-needed expert evidence base to support developments at various stages of the planning process. But they can be too technical, complicated, not easily accessible for non-transport professionals and are not always fit for purpose in our fast moving world. Some may even say dull! (though we‘ll have to agree to disagree...)

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The Department for Transport’s Travel Plans, Transport Assessments and Statements Guidance (March 2014) is used to inform the content of these technical reports. It sets out general guidelines for scope and content, with further guidance often (though not always) prepared at a local level. The guidelines recognise the importance of encouraging sustainable travel and creating accessible, connected, inclusive communities, in accordance with the NPPF and its role promoting a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. However, the guidelines do little to promote new and innovative ways of thinking when it comes to the preparation and presentation of these reports.

Transport for London’s Vision Zero and Healthy Streets Approach uses 10 key indicators to drill down on the issues that affect the experience of using a street or place, ensuring development seeks to enhance its surroundings. Whilst still in accordance with the NPPF and DfT’s Guidance, it goes one step further to cut out some of the ‘bumf’ that has historically been the norm. TfL’s approach requires that a Transport Assessment should be ‘clear, simple and complete enough for a borough planning committee or member of the public to understand all transport impacts.’

Whilst only adopted in London at present, I feel that the industry needs a shift away from a traditional Transport Assessment structure of reports towards one closer to TfL’s approach. One that is more focused, less wordy and is still technical enough to provide appropriate justification, whilst also being interesting enough for a layperson to digest; and to truly understand the consequences, and the benefits, of development. That being said, a balance needs to be struck in terms of prioritising sustainability whilst not ignoring the private car.

When setting up Evoke, our aim was always to be a leader in our field; maybe not by size, but in terms of setting ourselves apart from others by challenging the norm and through innovative thinking. Our mission statement reflects that sentiment:

Our mission is to bring a fresh approach to transport planning...

Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right. Our industry needs to evolve and keep up with the times, which is particularly important when considering the role of transport in the NPPF’s key test of sustainability and particularly as we adapt to reflect key issues surrounding climate change, health & wellbeing and air pollution. With that, our way of approaching the preparation of transport reports needs to respond.

As we prepare these important reports for our clients, which often come as an end-result of a long process of advice, discussion and evolution of a scheme, at Evoke we are constantly dissecting and looking for innovation; not for the sake of it, but to streamline our services and bring about a progressive way of supporting our clients and their schemes.

There are of course certain elements that one would expect to see in a Transport report and these are there for a reason; the very reason we do what we do and are experts in our field. But, there are many ways to bring about good and thoughtful change which will lead to a better understanding of our discipline and hopefully with that a more engaged audience.

As we look to evolve our processes the structure and format of our reports will come first; focusing not just on technical evidence but on delivering it in an interesting, digestible way. We hope to bring you on this journey with us and, as always, any feedback is welcome.

Watch this space...

- Beth

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21 SEP 2021

Changes to EV Legislation

The Transport Secretary recently outlined the intention for new legislation later this year that will require new residential and non-residential buildings to provide EV charging points as a step towards meeting the Road to Zero targets. The legislation will require all new residential buildings with an associated car parking space to provide a chargepoint and all new non-residential buildings with 10 or more parking space to provide one chargepoint per five spaces.

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Additionally, residential buildings undergoing major renovations with more than 10 parking spaces will require the provision of cable routes for EV charging facilities for every space and for existing non-residential buildings with 20+ parking spaces, at least one chargepoint will need to be provided from 2025.

The chargepoints will be required to be ‘smart’ and will be set to cease operation between 08:00-11:00 and 16:00-22:00. This raises the question of whether a new peak electricity demand period would be created as a result of the restricted charging times, but the smart chargers will also be required to have a function that randomises the charging start time to reduce the risk of grid instability. However, consumers will be able to edit or remove specific time and randomised delay settings which will accommodate shift-workers or houses already using smart energy tariffs.

This mandate is a step in the right direction for reaching the targets and will likely see the UK taking more of a global lead on the electric vehicle adoption path. However, this still leaves a lot of questions...

What impact will this have on local parking standards? Will EV parking be favoured over modes that can help to reduce congestion and promote health benefits? LHAs and LPAs will need to ensure they get the balance right. We can focus on reducing emissions from travel, but still need to be addressing the huge issues of congestion across the country.

The mandate, of course, does not address the current lack of and slow rollout of public charging infrastructure, but will a greater presence of charging facilities at workplaces and houses help to reduce range anxiety and benefit those living and working in areas with a lack of public charging infrastructure? On the contrary, could it result in an increasing number of people driving to work if this becomes the easiest place to charge their vehicle? Especially for those without the charging infrastructure at their place of residence.

What impact will this have on house prices? Will the legislation vary for affordable housing?

Could it possibly promote a shift towards public transport and active travel for those that cannot afford EVs? Will it widen the wealth gap? i.e. those that can’t afford EVs (affordable housing, those that rent flats etc.) will be pushed towards public transport and active transport, so their travel destination options are far more limited...

Yes, the legislation will make EVs a more attractive and more viable option for a lot of people, but we still need to be focussing on improving and promoting active travel and public transport provision from a congestion and health perspective.

For further reading view the Government's report

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15 SEP 2021

Evoke 2 Year Anniversary

We’re celebrating our two year anniversary this month. Here are some of our key milestones over the last couple of years.

View infographic

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06 SEP 2021

Newbury’s opportunity for a post-Covid resurgence

With the latest PwC report on store closures painting a grim picture for retail on the High Street this short article looks at how Newbury is looking to develop its town centre. With some exciting projects there is the opportunity for Newbury to find its niche with ambitious plans.

Read the full article

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02 JUL 2021

Does Reading need the city link?

Evoke Transport Planning managing director Richard Stacey asks if Reading’s latest bid to become a city is quite as worthwhile as others suggest. There is a certain sense of déjà vu – rather like the English FA repeatedly bidding to host the World Cup – about Reading Council seeking city status despite numerous rejections.

Read the full article

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25 MAY 2021

Welcome Olivia Hennessy!

Please join us in welcoming Olivia Hennessy to Evoke. Olivia joins us with three years' experience including having previously worked with some of the team and so we're positive she will fit right in!

Richard says: "I am very pleased to welcome Olivia to Evoke and am looking forward to working with her again after a gap of a couple of years. Olivia will add to the core strengths of the team and assist in the delivery of our project workload. An excellent addition to the team".

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24 Apr 2021

Promotion for Beth Wilson

Beth Wilson has been promoted to Principal Consultant at Thames Valley transport planning consultancy Evoke Transport Planning. Beth, who has been with the firm, which is based at the White Building in Reading, since its formation in September 2019 has helped deliver some key strategic projects, both in the Thames Valley and beyond.

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Managing director Richard Stacey said: "I am pleased to congratulate Beth on her well-deserved promotion."

"She has worked extremely hard in helping to deliver key projects and assisting us with our ongoing growth. I look forward to working with her in her new senior position."

Beth said: "I’m extremely happy that my hard work has been recognised and look forward to some new challenges over the next year."

"It has been great helping Evoke get to where they are today and I have really enjoyed the variety of projects we have been involved in over the last couple of years."

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28 JAN 2021

E-Vokal January 2021

Our January 2021 E-Vokal newsletter is live! Click the link below to have a read and subscribe to future updates.

Read and subscribe to future updates

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25 JAN 2021

Meg to attend University of Reading Science, Health and Environment Week

We are pleased to announce that we will be attending the University of Reading 'Science, Health and Environment Week'. The week will involve virtual panel events showcasing a wide range of companies that work in the science, health and environment sectors to provide students with insight into their possible future career options.

More information can be found at https://lnkd.in/dhppfwS or via the LinkedIn Event https://lnkd.in/dRfhyXr

We look forward to seeing you there!

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16 DEC 2019

Welcome for Heathrow Expansion Ruling

A monumental decision for the Thames Valley and West London which presents a much needed economic signal that the region will lead the economic future of the country.

Read the full article

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11 DEC 2019

Welcome to Rhys Harries!

Following on from last weeks promotions... we have decided to break away from the Rule of 6, and have expanded to 7! Please welcome Rhys Harries to the team. We are delighted to have Rhys on board.

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03 DEC 2019

Promotions for David and Jon

We are delighted to announce the promotions of David and Jon to Associate Director and Senior Consultant respectively.

Richard stated: "I am pleased that we are able to recognise and reward the contributions of David and Jon; my congratulations on the fully deserved promotions and my thanks to the full Evoke team who have all made an exceptional contribution to our growth throughout 2020."

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03 SEP 2019

Evoke Year 1: Our Journey

With Evoke celebrating its’ first year anniversary, we thought it was a good opportunity to reflect on our journey so far!

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02 SEP 2019

It’s our Birthday!

This week we celebrated our first anniversary as a company with a team meal out at The Woodspeen. Fantastic food and great catching up and chatting about the challenges and celebrations the first year has brought us. Thank you everyone and roll on year 2!

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25 AUG 2019

Time to be Radical for the Future of Newbury

As Newbury Town Centre seeks to commission a new Masterplan, Richard looks at what needs to happen and what should change in the market town to overcome the challenges it and many other commuter market towns face.

Read the full article

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31 JUL 2020

Transport for South East (TfSE)

Following the release of the Transport for South (TfSE) Transport Strategy last month (June 2020), David Fletcher of Evoke Transport reviewed the strategy and its findings and outlines what the strategy will mean for the region. The TfSE group is made up of 16 local transport authorities, five local enterprise partnerships, 46 district and borough authorities and a range of wider stakeholders with the common goal of providing one voice for all of the regions transport priorities.

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Notably the strategy was produced prior to knowing what the implications of COVID-19 are on transport. TfSE state that further work on the long and short term impacts on COVID-19 will be undertaken and fed into the five area and thematic studies, which will follow on from this transport strategy.

TfSE are aiming to become a statutory sub-national transport body in order to have greater powers and funding certainty to deliver key projects within the region. Without becoming a sub-national transport body it is considered that TfSE will not be taken seriously in funding bids and questions would have to be asked as to how much of a voice they will have and how much power they will have in influencing the future of the South Easts transport network. Where they fit into the hierarchy of different bodies and authorities will also be key, especially if their forward-thinking strategy conflicts with policies at a local level.

TfSE have outlined their Strategic Vision with a target year of 2050;

  • By 2050, the South East of England will be a leading global region for net-zero carbon, sustainable economic growth where integrated transport, digital and energy networks have delivered a step-change in connectivity and environmental quality. A high-quality, reliable, safe and accessible transport network will offer seamless door-to-door journeys enabling our businesses to compete and trade more effectively in the global marketplace and giving our residents and visitors the highest quality of life.

The Strategic Vision is underpinned by sustainable goals with economic, social and environmental strategic goals to create a better connected, more reliable and greener transport network. Its common goals and vision echo those of most policy documents at a local and national level however a regional based multimodal body is welcomed to help deliver key regional infrastructure and help shape the transport network in the South East.

The strategy is broken down in to six different journey types with key challenges and responses outlined for each journey type;

  • Radial Journeys – improve connectivity and capacity on key rail corridors, improve resilience of Strategic Road Network, extend radial route public transport (e.g. Crossrail) and reduce human exposure to noise and air quality.
  • Orbital and Coastal Journeys – electrification of rail routes, enhancement where orbital rail routes cross radial rail routes, reinstate cross country services east of Guildford, build consensus on the M27/A27/A258 corridor and reduce people’s exposure to major orbital routes.
  • Inter Urban Journeys – support schemes within the road investment plan, support inter-urban bus services and deliver better inter-urban rail connectivity.
  • Local Journeys – invest and subsidise high quality public transport, improve air quality, prioritise vulnerable users, develop integrated transport hubs, improve the management, supply and cost of urban car park and advocate reduction in public transport fares.
  • International Gateways and Freight Journeys – invest in public transport access to Heathrow, improve road and rail connections to international ports, provide a lower Thames Crossing, rail freight schemes, new technologies and a develop a Freight Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Future Journeys – future proof electric and digital infrastructure, incorporate Mobility as a Service (MaaS) into public transport networks, roll out smart ticketing systems, develop a Future Mobility Strategy for the South East.

To address each of the journey type challenges various initiatives are outlined within the strategy. These schemes have been outlined below.

  • Radial Journeys
    • Extend Radial Routes e.g. Crossrail extension to Ebbsfleet and extend South Eastern trains to Isle of Grain;
    • Speed up journey times to London using high speed services
    • Improve connectivity by both road and rail to deprived communities – particularly potential ‘left behind towns’ in Swale, Thanet, Hastings, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Worthing and Shoreham;
    • Provide additional capacity and resilience on radial railways, particularly the busiest corridors such as the South Western Main Line, Reading to Waterloo Line and Brighton Main Line;
    • Improve the resilience of the road network, potentially by adopting holistic demand management policies;
    • Reduce human exposure to noise and poor air quality from radial roads, particularly where these run through urban areas such as Guildford and Portsmouth (e.g. by reducing speed limits, reallocating road space to cleaner transport modes, moving routes underground and/or away from urban areas, and/or supporting the uptake of cleaner technologies such as electric vehicles).
    • Facilitate an increase in radial journeys by public transport, including longer distance coach services, particularly to/from outer London and to/from Heathrow Airport, with improvements to interchange facilities to help facilitate this shift.
  • Orbital and Coastal Journeys
    • Introduce holistic demand management initiatives that address congestion across the road network while avoiding displacement effects from one part of the network to another;
    • Deliver the Lower Thames Crossing, which will provide an alternative route around the north of the M25, avoiding the south west quadrant;
    • Encourage the wider electrification of the network and/or wider use of bi-mode trains;
    • Provide capacity enhancements at bottlenecks where orbital railways cross busy radial routes, such as at Redhill;
    • Improve long distance rail and coach connectivity and capacity particularly between the Midlands, South West and North of England into the South East area along orbital corridors and support the introduction of more direct east-west services to Gatwick Airport;
    • Build a consensus on a way forward for the M27/A27/A259/East Coastway/West Coastway corridor, based on a multimodal approach that seeks to reduce conflicts between different users on this corridor and improves interchange facilities;
    • Improve orbital connectivity between Gatwick Airport and Hampshire and Kent;
    • Improve orbital links between the M3 and M4, ideally in a way that avoids directing heavy traffic through urban areas such as Bracknell;
    • Reduce the exposure to the adverse environmental impacts of road traffic on orbital corridors that pass through urban centres such as Gosport, Hastings, Portsmouth and Worthing, which may include reducing speed limits, reallocating road space to cleaner transport modes, and/or supporting the uptake of cleaner technology such as electric vehicles.
  • Inter Urban Journeys
    • Support existing Major Road Network and Large Local Major schemes (e.g. A22 junction improvements) that bring secondary routes up to an appropriate standard.
    • Support initiatives that enhance, or at the very least, maintain the viability of bus services on inter-urban corridors such as bus priority measures and improved interchange facilities between different forms of transport, including integration between public transport and cycling;
    • Deliver better inter-urban rail connectivity, such as direct rail services from Brighton/Lewes to Uckfield.
  • Local Journeys
    • Develop high-quality public transport services on urban corridors, such as Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit, as appropriate;
    • Improve air quality on urban corridors;
    • Prioritise the needs of pedestrians and cyclists over the private car, making streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users to help encourage greater use of these sustainable forms of transport;
    • Invest (or encourage others to invest) in integrated passenger information systems to provide passengers with dynamic, multi-modal travel information;
    • Develop integrated transport hubs (bus, rail, park and ride, new mobility and cycle parking), integrated ‘smart ticketing’, and integrated timetables, where feasible;
    • Lobby government to protect and enhance funding for socially necessary bus services in rural areas;
    • Lobby government to reduce public transport fares in real terms in the longer term;
    • Improve the accessibility of transport infrastructure and public transport services in urban and rural areas by investing in accessibility improvements and by ensuring streets and public places are accessible to all;
    • Encourage the roll out of integrated ticketing arrangements that enable multi- operator and multimodal journeys and new tickets that provide better value for those working flexible hours;
    • Improve the management of the supply and cost of car parking in urban areas to encourage modal shift to more sustainable forms of transport;
    • Identify the potential for technological developments to transform transport and accessibility in rural areas as part of the development of a Future Mobility Strategy for the South East.
  • International Gateways and Freight Journeys
    • Improve public transport access to Heathrow Airport through delivering the western rail and southern access schemes, and improvements in public transport access to Gatwick Airport and Southampton Airport;
    • Support the use of demand management policies at Heathrow Airport, such as vehicle access charges, to minimise traffic growth arising from expansion at this airport;
    • Provide appropriate links and improvements to the highways and railway networks at expanding and/or relocating ports in the South East. This should include improvements to road routes, such as the A34 and A326, and parallel rail routes (serving Southampton) and A2 (serving Dover);
    • Deliver Lower Thames Crossing and associated improvements on the A229, Junctions 3, 5 and 7 of the M2 and Junction 6 of the M20. Deliver improvements at Junction 9 of the M3;
    • Implementing rail freight schemes, such as electrification and gauge enhancements, to increase capacity on strategic routes and encourage modal shift from road to rail;
    • Improve the efficiency of freight vehicle operations through adoption of new technologies;
    • Help international gateways adapt to changes in trade patterns. This may include investing in facilities such as customs checkpoints away from key locations such as Dover;
    • Develop a Freight Strategy and Action Plan for the South East to improve the efficiency of freight journeys, and specifically identify potential solutions to the current shortage of lorry parking and driver welfare facilities.
  • Future Journeys
    • 'Future-proof' the digital and energy infrastructure within the South East by making provision for accelerated future uptake. The South East Energy Strategy that has been produced jointly by the Coast to Capital, Enterprise M3 and South East Local Enterprise Partnerships aims to achieve clean growth from now until 2050 in energy across the power, heat and transport sectors. The Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has produced a similar strategy for their area;
    • Incorporate 'mobility as a service' into the current public transport network (and potentially for private vehicles too), to provide better accessibility for a wider range of the population in both rural and urban areas;
    • Encourage consistency in the 'smart ticketing' arrangements across the South East, expanding the use of 'pay as you go' and contactless payment;
    • Develop a Future Mobility Strategy for the South East to enable Transport for the South East to influence the roll out of future journey initiatives in a way that will meet Transport for the South East’s vision.

TfSE aim to develop the Future Mobility Strategy and the Freight Strategy and Action Plan over the next year with the aim of having a Strategic Investment Plan in place by April 2022. The Future Mobility Strategy will be interesting to see what technologies are seen as priorities. The findings of the Department for Transport (DfT) “Future of Transport Regulatory Review” will be key to understanding what the future holds in terms of micromobility, mobility as a service (MaaS) and demand responsive buses.

The strategy calls for a move away from the traditional ‘predict and provide’ assessment of developments to a ‘decide and provide’ approach actively choosing a preferred future, with preferred transport outcomes as opposed to responding to existing trends and forecasts. This is welcomed and long overdue, however the key challenge will be convincing local highway authorities that this is the correct approach to assessments.

What will TfSE mean for developers in the region? Well at present there are a number of questions still to be answered. How involved will they be at Local Plan stage and at planning application stage especially for large scale developments? Will TfSE become another consultee? Will they become another competing body for Transport Contributions? How will their relationship be with Highways England and Local Highway Authorities? And how will conflicts between the different bodies be resolved?

It evident that the strategy has identified a number of the key transport constraints and challenges that are currently in the South East as well as identifying potential challenges that the region might face over the next 30 years. A key theme is improving east to west connections in the region and making public transport greener, more efficient, cheaper, better connected and future proof. These policies are welcomed as is the need for a more joint up approach rather than the silo based Local Highways Authority strategies that are so often present. It will be interesting to see how TfSE develops over the next 5-10 years and the role they will play. Will it reach the heights and power of Transport for London (TfL) or Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)?

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02 JUN 2020

Are we ready? A study into the preparedness of the UK for an electric vehicle revolution

During her final year of university Meg (our Assistant Transport Planner) produced her dissertation looking into the readiness of the UK for an EV revolution, focusing on public perceptions and the provision of charging infrastructure. Three focus groups, four interviews, seven months and 9,974 words later... are we ready? Read her views below.

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Through conducting focus groups of EV drivers, non-EV drivers and non-drivers, public attitudes towards EVs and their future within the UK were explored. Alongside this, senior professionals from within the transport and planning industries were interviewed to gain their expert opinion on the current state of charging infrastructure across the nation and what the future holds for EVs.

Meg’s research found that:

  • Existing public charging infrastructure provision is not considered extensive enough, particularly in rural areas;
  • Range anxiety is still an issue for non-EV owners and the provision of more charging infrastructure in rural areas has the potential to increase EV uptake; and
  • There are questions surrounding funding – who should be funding public EV charging infrastructure provision? The Government? Car Manufacturers? Fuel Companies?

In terms of public attitudes towards EVs, the UK has seen an increase (albeit very slow) in the adoption of EVs over the past few years. People’s behaviours concerning EVs are gradually changing resulting in the number of EVs on the UK’s roads increasing, but generally, the consumer market appears to have not yet extended beyond ‘early adopters’ that are environmentally conscious.

A number of incentives and positives of purchasing an EV were highlighted during the study, including tax savings, environmental benefits, enjoyment to drive and cheaper fuel than petrol and diesel vehicles. However, there was an overarching sense of negativity towards EVs and more incentives were desired by the non-EV drivers for them to make the switch. Better and honest marketing and longer trial times are two of the incentives suggested.

The key focus of the DfT’s Road to Zero Strategy is reducing the number of conventionally, fossil fueled vehicles on the UK roads, but what about other modes of transport? In order to successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from the transport sector, there also needs to be a push towards improving and maximizing public transport opportunities*, promoting active travel, ensuring key facilities are located within walking distance of developments and overall reducing the need to rely on private vehicle journeys, as set out within DfT’s ‘Decarbonising Transport’ strategy.

Overall, through her seven months of research, Meg concluded that no, the UK is not currently ‘ready’ for EVs. The UK is slowly becoming more prepared to accommodate an EV revolution, but we have a long way to go in terms of charging infrastructure provision, EV variety, price, better advertising and more incentives to change public perceptions in order for the 2050 Government target to be achieved. However, if these factors remain unhanged without significant progress being made and if the petrol and diesel vehicle sales ban is not brought forward to 2035, an EV revolution is not likely to be seen by 2050.

She leaves you with some questions to think about:

  • What do you think the UK’s biggest barrier to EV adoption is?
  • What impact will the global pandemic have on EV uptake within the UK?
  • Will the Government’s 2050 target be met?

* It should be of note that Meg’s research was conducted before the COVID-19 Pandemic and that current Government advice recommends not using public transport wherever possible.

Please feel free to contact Meg on m.hopkins@evoketransport.co.uk if you would like to hear more, read her dissertation in full or just have a chat.

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05 FEB 2020

Evoked Thoughts – Bye Bye Highway

Following the recent release of the first ever National Housing Audit, undertaken by The Place Alliance (UCL), David Fletcher of Evoke Transport has reviewed the report and its findings from a transport and highways perspective; overall he welcomes the call for less road dominated housing but a radical rethink is required. Read his views below.

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The report reviews 142 large housing projects across England constructed since 2007 with the findings showing that the least successful design elements of housing developments relate to overly engineered highways and infrastructure, together with the poor integration of storage, bins and car parking. This has led to residential developments that are unattractive and dominated by large areas of hard standing, tarmacadam and streets dominated by cars.

The report places the blames collectively at planning authorities, highways authorities and housebuilders. Professor Carmona of UCL states that "Highways authorities are really problematic – they’re all about getting roads as cheap as possible that can be maintained cheaply – that means large areas of tarmac with no regard for walking and cycling." It is my view that this has to change through a direction from national Government with an ongoing process of education for local authority officers and Members.

The audit seeks for highways authorities to adopt Manual for Streets (MfS) as a mandatory guidance to encourage better design and stop reverted back to DB32 guidance from the 1970’s. The audit calls for an end to the planning and highways disconnect and urges highways authorities to take responsibility for their part in creating positive streets and places and looks to see highway design and highway adoption functions working in an integrated manner with planning. Notably the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) is in talks with the Department for Transport (DfT) for the refresh of Manual for Streets. I agree the time to review MfS is here; is it in itself still fit for purpose and is it guidance that stands up to modern scrutiny, enabling developments that are planned and designed now are future proofed.

The publication of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission (BBBBC) ‘Living with Beauty’ document in January 2020 calls for Manual for Streets one and two to be brought together into one combined manual and calls for DB32 to be firmly withdrawn to stop numerous highway authorities continuing to refer to it and its archaic thinking.

It is evident within the UCL report that the inflexibility of highways authorities in their highway adoption criteria has led to unattractive car dominated roads and highways rather than pedestrian and cycle friendly streets. The audit campaigns for a ‘place first’ approach to the design and adoption of highways. Is this the time for the role and remit of adopting authorities to be reappraised? Why is it that 13 years after MfS there can still be a ‘risk adverse’ approach to anything slightly different in some adopting authority areas? Are we all scared of the increasing compensation culture?

The audit also campaigns for the creation of a national level parking design guide which looks at how parking can be successfully integrated to reduce on-street parking and car dominated streets. Does this go far enough? In my opinion any future national guidance has to adopt the ‘sharing society’ approaches to parking demand. It has to now set out a future criterion for autonomous vehicles and how will the key movements of improving our health and wellbeing and the climate change agenda be reflected?

The audit concludes by stating that schemes which do not meet minimum design requirements should be refused on design grounds and this should be supported, without question, by the Government regardless of progress towards meeting housing targets in the area.

In light of the findings of the review, it is hoped that all parties will work more collaboratively to deliver schemes which are less road oriented, less car dominated, more sustainable and more unique to give a greater sense of place.

I am of the opinion that the key transport and highways challenges that need to be resolved in order to create better quality housing developments that are less road dominated and that have a true sense of place are

  1. Designing streets for pedestrians and cyclists;
  2. Designing streets for public transport access;
  3. Designing streets to accommodate refuse collection vehicles and emergency vehicles;
  4. Designing streets that will be adopted by local highway authorities without overbearing ongoing maintenance costs; and
  5. Designing developments which reduce on-street parking and large parking courtyards

All of these different conflicting needs can be met by creating a true hierarchy of streets with housebuilders, architects, urban designers, planners, landscape architects and transport planners working collaboratively to design a hierarchy of streets that cater for all needs and soften the dominance of the road in residential developments. Collaboration is key here; it is the only way to design places where people want to live but places that can still be delivered in a commercially viable manner. Education for local authorities is required, especially to move away from the outdated thinking within DB32.

There is a need for highways authorities to show greater flexibility to allow for better quality design, to allow for innovation and to allow for the creation of sustainable communities that meet with the changing society in future years. Highway design guidance and parking standards need to be seen as just that, ‘guidance’ and not overly prescriptive; there should be increased flexibility to allow for greater place making and innovation. The whole raison d’etre of MfS was to encourage this flexibility and to move away from the previous strict standards imposed under the DB32 regime. The report would appear to suggest that the MfS paradigm shift has yet to happen in many areas, even almost 13 years after its first publication.

With the ongoing need to deliver housing, the number of large-scale housing projects and Garden Communities proposed in England it gives us the opportunity to deliver innovative, future proofed developments with a real sense of place. Developments that are sustainable and prioritise sustainable modes of transport over the use of the car. As a collective the region should look to set itself the mandate of leading the way in the provision of exemplar design and planning.

I am of the opinion that Garden Communities provide the perfect litmus test for radical forward thinking and innovative transport solutions and a new approach to design. The opportunity to change the way we live, and our lifestyles and transport choices should be explored through driverless cars, Mobility as a Service (MaaS), demand responsive public transport and increase pedestrian and cycle permeability. Whilst local highway authorities want developers and transport planners to model the worst-case transport impact do we really need to design for the worst case impact? If we design wide roads with significant capacity will we ever encourage people out of their car?

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10 DEC 2019

Manifesto Summary 2019

As the 2019 Election approaches, Evoke have provided a summary of some of the parties’ key transport policies for England, taken directly from each Manifesto. This summary covers the four main parties when looking at Transport. We have also extended our review to cover some of the other parties and their interesting transport policy proposals.

View PDF Guide

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05 DEC 2019

Guide To Electric Vehicle Charging Requirements

Electric Vehicle (EV) specific policies are increasingly being used by Local Authorities within local plans, parking standards and SPDs to ramp up the expansion of EV charging infrastructure and ‘future-proof’ development sites ahead of the Government’s 2040 zero-carbon target for road traffic. Evoke have a sound understanding of the EV requirements to support development and are able to provide pragmatic and tailored advice on the specific charging requirements for a range of land uses across the country.

View PDF Guide

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20 NOV 2019

Transport Review: Reading Local Plan to 2036

The New Reading Borough Local Plan was adopted on 4th November, setting out the Borough’s policies to support Reading’s development up to 2036. In parallel, the Local Plan supports the Reading UK 2050 vision; to achieve a smart and sustainable city by 2050.

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Reading is a transport hub with comprehensive rail, road, bus and walking/ cycling links to key destinations across the UK. The town has a longstanding history which has evolved and expanded through its transport links; from the Holy Brook transporting water and fish to the monks of Reading Abbey, through the controversial Inner Distribution Road which was completed in 1989, to Reading Station which proudly displays its architectural evolution through the years.

The Local Plan describes Reading as a Borough with extremely limited undeveloped land and its development locations primarily rely on brownfield sites and change of planning use within the central area; with larger residential development and dedicated employment areas primarily situated to the south.

Like all Local Planning Authorities, Reading Borough Council has a responsibility to work alongside neighbouring authorities (in Reading’s case, as part of the Western Berkshire Authorities due to its constrained nature and also as part of the wider Thames Valley and South East region) to develop a wider strategy wherever possible. Transport is key to ensuring the town centre remains an accessible and attractive place to live and work for new developments both within Reading and those in the surrounding areas which rely on the town for many everyday services.

The newly adopted Local Plan recognises the role of transport in the future growth and development of the Borough and transport infrastructure requirements, delivered in a sustainable manner, are a strand that run through almost every Policy. For example, Policy CC6 directly relates Accessibility of an area (by walking, cycling and public transport) with the Intensity of development, whilst Policy CC9 focuses on securing infrastructure to suit development needs whilst mitigating against a development’s impact on existing infrastructure where necessary.

Policy TR1 focuses entirely on 'Achieving the Transport Strategy' in accordance with the Council’s objectives set out in the Local Transport Plan (2011-2026) (with the Local Transport Plan 4 currently being developed).

Major transport projects include the Mass Rapid Transit, Green Park Station, Thames Crossing and development of bus and cycle routes. The Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) and the M4 Smart Motorway are also discussed. The Local Plan supports these schemes (albeit many are ongoing) as key to unlocking development in the Borough.

Some of these major schemes are already planned or partly underway and are therefore realistic for delivery within the Local Plan period. Whilst largely within neighbouring authorities, the ‘Third Crossing’ between Caversham & Sonning remains on the agenda, with RBC working closely with other neighbouring authorities and the LEP. A third crossing would greatly alleviate pressure on the existing two bridges between Caversham and Reading, with vehicle traffic currently causing Caversham to become highly congested in peak times. This would need to be supported by Park & Ride sites to the north of Reading as well as improved public transport links using this crossing (although there is limited ability for significant improvements further north).

The Plan provides broad and strategic transport packages which new development will be supported by, and in turn will support through CIL and Section 106 contributions, although public funding should also be sought where possible. In addition the Local Plan provides general guidance for new development and in particular (in transport terms) with regards to walking and cycling connectivity. Electric vehicle charging also features within Policy TR5, which states that, ‘all new houses with dedicated off-street parking should provide charging points’; and 'within communal car parks for residential or non-residential developments of at least 10 spaces, 10% of spaces should provide an active charging point.'

Overall, the New Local Plan has, in accordance with the NPPF, a presumption in favour of sustainable development at its core. Beth says: "The adoption of Reading’s Local Plan is great news for the Borough, helping to direct development and infrastructure to the right locations. It focuses on sustainability and supports the climate change agenda and our transport needs must follow suit; working towards the 2050 Vision for a smart and sustainable Reading. Transport remains key to Readings’ development and, whilst some major transport schemes have been in the pipeline for a number of years (decades even), their inclusion should continue to raise their profile and help to direct development contributions towards these key requirements for the Borough."

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22 SEP 2019

New Projects, Clients and Friends: All in a week (or two’s) work for Evoke!

In our first few week’s trading, each day has been a celebration of the ongoing support received from our clients, professional partners and friends in the industry. We have been busy delivering our first projects, building relationships with new clients and continuing to support existing relationships.

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We have also had the opportunity to attend key industry events and seminars in the Thames Valley, London and further afield, engaging with many familiar faces along the way. Our first few projects are extremely important to us and include, for example:

  • Provision of access design and a Transport Note to support a small residential scheme of three dwellings in Kent;
  • Transport support including EIA input for a large mixed-use hotel/ serviced apartment tall building scheme in Tower Hamlets;
  • Due diligence (with ongoing technical and access support) for a large business park campus in Hertfordshire;
  • Construction Traffic Management Plan for a basement conversion in Kensington.

We have been hard at work to provide our clients with pragmatic, commercial and responsive, transport & highways advice and support. We have also been asked to quote for a variety and wide range of potential projects which we are extremely excited to add to our portfolio.

Alongside this we have found time to attend some important networking events including the Thames Valley Property Fest on 12th September where we had the pleasure of sharing a table with some of the leading names in the industry with host for the evening Ady WIlliams, as well as networking drinks at KuPP, Westgate (Oxford). We have also been keeping up to date with transport and planning policy updates, attending some interesting and through provoking seminars and lectures.

Behind the scenes we have been developing our exciting new website which we are extremely proud of, thanks to the unwavering support of our helpful (and patient!) website developers – Dunston Graphics. We are moving into our new office on 1st October at The White Building and look forward to working from this vibrant office in Reading town centre.

Thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to welcoming you to our new office soon.

The Evoke Team

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09 SEP 2019

New Transport Planning Consultancy Evokes familiar memories for the Thames Valley

We are pleased to announce the launch of Evoke Transport; a highly anticipated new Transport & Development Planning Consultancy coming to the Thames Valley. Formed in central Reading, we provide Transport Planning advice to a wide range of clients across all land use sectors, helping to deliver and shape projects across the UK.

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Our mission is to develop strong client relationships through our hardworking and friendly, approachable attitude. As a team we are well known in the Thames Valley and are keen to establish ourselves as a leader in the market with a new and fresh approach.

We have a wealth of experience in delivering Transport Planning advice & solutions through all stages of a development site; from the initial inception and feasibility of a project, through to the planning application stage and on to post application discussions, Section 106 agreements and discharging planning conditions. Evoke are also able to offer Appeal & Public Inquiry support with Expert Witness expertise.

We are truly excited for this journey, and to share these exciting times with our clients and friends in the industry.

Meet our team

To get in touch please call us on 0118 380 0182 or email info@evoketransport.co.uk