Smarter Cambridge Transport

Before we build that bus-, rail-, or AVRT-way…

Last week I pointed out that in 2014, you agreed to the County Council’s Long Term Transport Plan. Even if you weren’t aware of doing so, silence is agreement when it comes to council consultations. That Plan includes the Cambourne-to-Cambridge busway options on which the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is now consulting.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, chaired by Mayor Palmer, adopted that Plan in June. Did the mayor realise it’s a Trojan Horse? That, by adopting it, he endorsed the very busway proposals he so publicly denounced before and after his election?

But wait a moment. On the city side of the M11, the Plan envisaged that Madingley Road would get bus lanes; no mention of a busway south of the West Cambridge site.

GCP is actively considering a home-brewed idea of ‘Affordable Very Rapid Transit’. I can’t find that in the Transport Plan either. Or a Workplace Parking Levy. Or tunnelling. It appears that GCP is seeking to go beyond the Transport Plan. Great!

But now I’m confused. Ideas like relocating Trumpington Park & Ride to the north side of the M11 junction have been ruled out because they’re “not in the Transport Plan.” What’s the rationale?

One idea we want to be considered for the A1303 is Inbound Flow Control – a form of traffic flow management that integrates a bypass lane for buses. Under most circumstances, it would provide significant priority for buses at far lower cost and environmental impact than a bus lane or busway to Grange Road. But it’s not in the Plan.

Yet Inbound Flow Control, travel hubs and ‘greenways’ (high quality cycling and walking routes between the villages and into Cambridge – like the DNA path from Great Shelford) are ingredients for significant modal shift from driving. If implemented, they would also deliver benefits more quickly and with less controversy than current GCP plans.

Buoyed by this success, GCP and the mayor would be able to crack on with developing a comprehensive, bold and integrated transport strategy that builds on recent developments: East–West Rail, the Oxford–Cambridge Expressway and new powers in the Bus Services Act.


This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 13 December 2017.

Edward Leigh

Edward Leigh is the leader of Smarter Cambridge Transport, chair and independent co-opted member of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel, chair of the South Petersfield Residents Association, business owner, consultant, and occasional blogger about making the world and Cambridge a better place to live.

1 comment

  • Confused! Worried!
    Beginning to lose the will to live. I have attended some of these meetings about the Cambourne – Cambridge route.
    It seems to me that democracy is not working any more – heated arguments from Coton villagers beaten down by ill-informed Council (?) representatives. Sanity does not seem to prevail – forgive me for sounding so despondent but I see what was a beautiful city just going to the dogs and over-run by tourists. Like most of the once beautiful England that I was brought up in when the only potential destroyer was Hitler’s Germany.