show the number of people killed or seriously injured in road
accidents in 1998 was almost half that in the 1980s.
Three new reports from the DETR also show decades of decline in bus travel is beginning to turn around and the growth in road traffic is slowing.
'This government has always regarded transport safety as paramount.
The drop in the numbers of people involved in serious accidents in
our cities is great news and a tribute to the excellent work of all
those involved in road safety.
'It shows the importance of traffic calming and other traffic
management measures. It would be reckless in the extreme to endanger
our good record, and people's lives, by removing these measures and
encouraging people to drive faster.'
Mr Prescott continued:
'It is also good news that more people are giving public transport a
try. Road traffic growth is now just 1.5 per cent a year, less than
half of what it was historically. These are the first vital signs of
a shift in confidence to our public transport network.
'The fact that there are large regional differences shows that local
authorities still have a lot they can learn from each other and also
shows how important local transport plans are.
'On the downside, there is evidence to show that people are still
driving far too fast in town. This is an obvious danger to
pedestrians and will be tackled by our new road safety strategy, due
out in the autumn.
'We have always said that there is no quick fix to the transport
problems that have been building up over the last two decades.
However, I hope these figures show we have turned an important
The reports out today are Transport Statistics for Metropolitan Areas
1999, Road Traffic Statistics 1999 and Vehicle Speeds in Great
the numbers of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents
in 1998 in metropolitan areas was almost half those in the early
the rate of decline in bus usage in metropolitan areas has reduced;
for metropolitan areas as a whole, the number of bus passenger
journeys decreased by only one per cent during 1997/98; in the West
Midlands bus passenger journeys increased during 1997/98, by five per
nearly half journeys to work took less than 20 minutes and more
than 90 per cent of such journeys took less than an hour in 1998;
Greater Manchester has the lowest road casualty rate (killed and
Tyne & Wear has the highest proportion (21 per cent) travelling to
work by public transport.