The DfT’s Hidden Document

This is a guest article by Colin Allen.

HS2 – “60% of Surveyed Business Passengers said they would do no work in the time saved” – The DfT’s Hidden Document.

The civil servants within the Department for Transport (DfT) who caused the West Coast mainline fiasco also hid a critical document from both the Transport Select Committee and the Major Projects Authority regarding HS2.
This was their own impressively rigorous 170 page passenger research document calculating the economic benefit of shortening rail journey times published internally by the DfT in June 2009, and only put on their website in April 2012 – (91 days after the decision to proceed with HS2 was made).
This document does not mention HS2 but was clearly done with HS2 in mind. It concludes that as of 2008 an impressive average of 46% of all scheduled rail journey-times was being worked.
It also asked passengers how they would use the time a shorter rail journey would save them and “60% of surveyed business passengers said that they would not do any work in the time saved”- The DfT.
Combining the research of how business passengers use the time on train, with how they would use the saved time, it concludes:-
“A reduction in scheduled journey time by, for example 10 minutes, would increase the average amount of time spent working by all business rail passengers by just 0.75 minutes” – The DfT.
This is the DfT’s definitive research document on business passengers use of time and it clearly shows that 92.5% of the total time saved by all business passengers from having shorter journey times has no economic benefit at all.
The DfT knew this, and created the HS2 business case on the basis that there is economic benefit in 100% of the saved time, when they knew this to be false. They then hid the evidence until after the decision to proceed with HS2 had been made.
This report was produced at the very start of Lord Adonis’s tenure at Transport and it may be the last document to be un-corrupted by the DfT’s desire to get HS2 built.
Either Lord Adonis saw this document and decided to hide it, and to proceed with HS2 at any cost to us poor taxpayers, or civil servants hid it from him.
Perhaps the BBC would like to ask him?
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