Transforming Travel TCF Position on behalf of the Dorset Emergency Services and BCP and Dorset Councils
Dorset Police, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and the South-West Ambulance Service Trust operate across the BCP and Dorset councils’ region. All three emergency services fully support the key objectives of the TCF Transforming Travel programme to enable safe and active travel choices for cyclists, pedestrians and users of public transport, whilst reducing congestion on roads and improving traffic flow on the network.
Traffic congestion and busy roads are the main cause of delay to emergency vehicles when responding to calls. Reduced congestion and traffic on the road will help reduce the response times.
The TCF programme aims to reduce congestion by offering sustainable, safe and reliable active travel alternatives to the car, particularly for short journeys.
In terms of negotiating traffic when under blue lights, emergency vehicle drivers are highly trained to handle all traffic and road conditions to ensure their safe and timely arrival at their destination.
Generally, space can always be made for the emergency services to continue their journey as road users manoeuvre out of their way. Motorists should always follow the Highway Code when they encounter emergency vehicles under blue lights, by carefully pulling over to the edge of the carriageway, where it is safe to do so, and stopping until the emergency vehicle has passed.
Whilst a single emergency service vehicle may at times be seen to be held up in pockets of congestion, it is important to note that many ‘blue light’ incidents attract a multi-agency response with emergency service vehicles travelling to the scene from various directions as part of the response plan and to overcome potential delays.
Both BCP and Dorset Council’s work closely with the emergency services to ensure that information relating to any road works and closures are shared in advance and this continues throughout the TCF programme.
The Dorset emergency services were consultees throughout the design process of the schemes, including Whitelegg Way, and given the opportunity to raise any safety or access issues. Comments received from all the stakeholders are addressed ahead of the final designs.
The TCF schemes that are implemented align with the national standards set out by the Department for Transport (DfT) to ensure they can be used safely by all vehicles, including the emergency services.