Storms: Drivers and passengers need better data - MPs

A motorway sign warning of bad weather

Related Stories

Better real-time information should be provided to rail and air passengers and drivers when bad weather strikes the transport system, MPs say.

The transport committee said it was "vital" information was provided which was up-to-date and broken down to specific areas and services.

Chairman Louise Ellman also said more action was needed to clear pavements of ice and snow in future.

Rail firms said they were reviewing how they communicate during disruptions.

In its report, the cross-party committee said regulators must also seek to avoid a repeat of last week's problems at Gatwick.

Delayed passengers at Gatwick Passengers delayed on Christmas Eve at Gatwick

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport, which is south of London, as a result of a power cut during the stormy weather.

Mrs Ellman said: "The Civil Aviation Authority must get to the bottom of what went wrong and how airports across the country can avoid similar situations in the future."

In a wide-ranging report the committee said that transport problems had a direct impact not just on passengers and drivers but on the economy as a whole.

Since its previous report a national "salt reserve" had been created to avoid any future shortages for use on treating roads, the committee said.

But a national advertising campaign was needed to alert residents to the right to clear snow and ice from pavements outside their homes without fear of being sued by anyone slipping over.

A woman clears snow outside her north Wales home in March There is no legal risk to clearing snow from outside your home, the MPs say

The report quotes evidence given by Living Streets, a charity "that stands up for pedestrians", that councils "could do more to help organise teams of volunteer snow wardens".

During the course of their inquiry the committee heard that weather forecasts had played a key role in preparing for bad weather - most notably with the pre-emptive cancellation of train and air services during the St Jude storm at the end of October.

But Mrs Ellman said "it is vital that passengers receive up-to-date information of changes and disruption wherever possible", including airports and rail operators clearly signalling how long delays might last.

A road being cleared of snow near Burnley last March Improvements to clearing roads in recent years was praised

Drivers should also get better details before and during bad weather, with the MPs urging the Highways Agency to "identify technological and other solutions" to provide "comprehensive real time information to drivers... across the strategic road network".

'Taken by surprise'

The committee report quotes evidence given by the Institute of Advanced Motorists that information is "not yet tailored to the individual needs of drivers".

"Blanket warnings about 'essential' journeys are of little value without a full definition of 'essential'."

Mrs Ellman said: "Transport is vital to economic growth and while we recognise that some progress has been made by the government and transport to improve public information and passenger welfare during severe weather... we believe there remains considerable scope for further improvement.

"It is vital that the UK is ready and waiting for adverse weather and not taken by surprise."

The Rail Delivery Group, which speaks on behalf of train operators and Network Rail, welcomed recognition of the "significant improvements" made by the industry in how it kept travellers informed when services were cancelled or delayed.

"The rail industry is already carrying out a review of the code of practice on how we communicate with passengers during disruption," a spokesman said.

"It will listen carefully to any proposals to improve further the service we offer to travellers."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    What did we do before television and internet? It wasn't that long ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    @129 southwestsam: "Gvt need to stop mothering the semi-privatised services. They make the profit, up to them to make the investment, too"

    How can they invest effectively if they don't have full control over their operations? How can they invest effectively when they have the government's boot on their neck? How can they invest effectively when they have to keep appeasing bureaucrats/politicians?

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    The environment agency spend too much on large scale technical defence systems instead of cleaning the silt and debris out of rivers. Too many men on 50 grand a year with clean shoes and lap tops as oppose men in waders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Instead of paying business' to do Council jobs like road maintenance etc, keep it in house, keep it keen and efficient, and just get on with it like many other countries that have severe weather.
    Leaves on the line and icy roads should hardly ever occur in a well prepared country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    "Storms: Drivers and passengers need better data - MPs"
    Despite years of growing budgets & staff, our government's management of our transport is so woeful.

    *Sorry guys, I can't provide my contrarian opinion, or address your valid and interesting questions. Either someone here is referring my comments, or the Moderators are, or both, and I don't want to get my account restricted. Apologies!

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    We don't need better information - we need better accountability! We dont need a service that pays it's senior execs. Millions when targets for passenger numbers and profits are met. We need a system that sees their bonuses and basic salary eroded substantially every time there is a delay by more than 5 minutes.That is the only thing that will improve the service very quickly indeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Gvt need to stop mothering the semi-privatised services.

    They make the profit, up to them to make the investment, too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    'Information wont mean a thing, whose going to risk losing a days pay!'

    I'd rather lose a day's pay than my life. I can see what the conditions are like this morning at home. I want to know what they are like along my route and what they'll be like this evening. If they are too bad I may give up a day's holiday and stay safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Thing that gets me most about freezing cold snow weather is the stupid BBC reporters who stand doing their news report in freezing weather without a hat on, which is absurd with BBC normal H&S.
    Before xmas in Ukraine protests , soldiers & public had hats, scarfs & big heavy coats, weather was freezing, as it normally is, BBC reporter, no hat, no scarf, coat undone so neck & chest was open.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    I think the articles is a wonderful idea and should be applauded. MPs have got it completely right well done. This is ON TOPIC...

    I see I'm on the list of referrals for asking for debate rather than referring Sally's comments. Cheers for now then, until the self appointed censor logs off...

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Unfortunately, most companies will dock pay from staff who do not turn up due to adverse weather, so, when you hear the authorities saying do not travel, you tend to think, okay, so who will pay me for the day? As the answer is no one, you take the risk & try to get to work! One thing that should happen though, is the ban on high sided lorries travelling in adverse weather!

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Public transport's ability to pass on accurate information is particularly poor as is the record of certain companies in running services. As a start we should stop these blanket cancellations of services every time iut snows or is windy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    I used to live in Germany, in the south of the country where it snows most of the time. Travel chaos doesn't tend to happen. Can't we find out what they're doing right and we're doing wrong?

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Has HMG not listened to the song detailing the restrictions on the weather "In Camelot"?

    All that is necessary is that HNG enacts comparable legislation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    This country is obsessed with the weather and is obsessed with how much it costs the country if we have a few bad days and workers stay off the roads etc, I would rather see libraries/leisure centres etc closed in bad weather therefore keeping transport routes clearer for essential workers and highway services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    A lot of the travel problems are caused by roads flooding, yet this government is cutting jobs in the environment agency who do the flood protection. Do not worry if you live in a flood prone area your government is looking after you (not) :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Not what we need is a better infrastructure. So rather than cutting jobs how about creating more jobs and invest in protecting as? On a side note, it really shows what a complete and utter failure privatisation of "our" services has been

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Re 112: Private industry has massive, international IT networks. They all work virtually faultlessly. Forget the banks - take a look at major engineering companies - Ford, GM, Toyota. Huge amounts of data, all in real time, and no issues with retrieval or security.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    @ 99 the private sector always being more efficient is an outright lie (just look at the results from private companies getting people off benefits vs the jobcentre) but it's a myth that can earn people a hell of a lot of money so it gets promoted constantly.

    I believe there are things in life too important to be left to the vagaries of profiteering and capitalism, like energy, water & transport

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Information wont mean a thing, whose going to risk losing a days pay! Evidence strongly suggest people travel all weathers, and at speed!


Page 13 of 19


More Politics stories



  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP

  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.