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Time Saving And Accident Prevention (Report)

Volume 115: debated on Thursday 7 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has reached a decision on the proposals contained in the report, "Values for Journey Time Savings and Accident Prevention"; and if he will make a statement.

When I published the report in March, I promised to consult experts in transport appraisal and others before deciding on the final values for time and accident costs that are to be used in the economic appraisals of transport policy, projects and operations. The consultation period ended on 21 April. We are most grateful to all those who responded to our request for comments.The balance of responses gave strong support for the recommendations for substantial increases to the values for journey time savings and accident prevention in the report. Respondents confirmed our view that the recent research into travel time savings provided a sound basis for increasing the values of time.The main criticisms of the report concerned the proposed increases in casualty costs. Several respondents argued that there was adequate evidence to justify much higher values than those we propose. In 1980, we commissioned a study into how much people are willing to pay to reduce their risks of death or injury in road accidents. The research was of high quality, but like the other available research evidence it threw up both theoretical and practical problems. Interest has now been expressed in publication of the report of this study and we are considering this.A recent comprehensive and wide ranging interdepartmental review of road safety, which we expect to publish shortly, also had serious reservations about the available evidence on road casualty costs. After considering all the comments on this issue very carefully we decided that the best course was to retain the values proposed—which maintain the weight of safety vis-a-vis mobility—until we have had an opportunity to consider further the recommendations of the interdepartmental review.Another criticism was that the provision of separate values of time for retired people and children was contrary to the principle of a single appraisal value and that this may lead to inequities of investment between regions, particularly where local concentrations of retired people or children exist. It is our view that there will be very few circumstances where it would be appropriate to depart from the use of the single standard appraisal value. The use of separate values for pensioners, children and working age adults should only be considered in very exceptional circumstances.I have placed in the Library details of the new values of non-working time and casualty costs which—in the light of the proposals in the report and the comments received on it — we have decided to adopt. The Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Northern Ireland and for Wales have also decided to use the new values in transport investment decisions in their countries thus preserving a consistent approach throughout the United Kingdom.