The Transport Act 2000, as amended by the Local Transport Act 2008, has provided a new policy framework benefiting all local transport authorities. The framework gives greater certainty of funding, while encouraging more strategic transport planning with local consultation, and increasing local flexibility and discretion over resources. It was accompanied by a significant increase in capital funding: support from my Department for transport investment in Gloucestershire, within which transport authority Stroud falls, has risen threefold over the last decade.
Investment in the Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan has delivered a number of improvements to the quality, safety and accessibility of the local transport network. Between 2004 and 2008, bus patronage per head of population increased by 24 per cent., and the number of people killed or seriously injured on the local highway network decreased by 36 per cent. in the period 2001-07.
In 2002, Gloucestershire county council received a total of £631,500 from the Department's Rural Bus Challenge fund to establish the Village Link rural bus service. Village Link is a demand-responsive bus service for the elderly, and those with disabilities or mobility problems, who have difficulty accessing employment, education, health care and leisure services due to a lack of transport.
The Stroud Valleys Car Club was launched in June 2003 with grant funding from the Countryside Agency, Gloucestershire county council and Stroud district council. The Car Club is designed to reduce unnecessary car use by giving members flexible access to cars without the costs of car ownership.
In April 2009, the Cotswold Lorry Management Zone Trial came into force. The scheme, developed by Gloucestershire county council, sets clear routes for lorries to use through the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes a 7.5 tonne weight restriction on all routes throughout the zone other than the two designated 'through-routes' (the A417 and A419). The scheme aims to achieve a 30 per cent. reduction in heavy goods vehicle flows on the B4008 between the junction 12 of the M5 and the A419, and on the A46 at Painswick near Stroud.