Smarter Cambridge Transport

Category - Cambridge Independent

Smarter Cambridge Transport’s weekly columns in the ‘Cambridge Independent’ newspaper

Nodes before modes

Notice what’s missing in discussion about tunnels? Any mention of people. Forgive me repeating myself, but transport is about moving people (and goods) not vehicles.

We don’t want Cambridge to be laughed at

We don't want Cambridge to one day be laughed at as the last place in Britain to splash concrete everywhere before breakthroughs in transport technology and organisation solved unpredictable journey times forever...

Making our Rural Roads Safer

Much has been discussed about major upgrades for busy rural roads. But we need to reduce crashes, save lives, and make rural travel safer for those in cars, on cycles, on horses and by foot on the 99% of rural roads...

A hard-headed look at buses

You probably know you can get a guided bus from Cambridge to Huntingdon? It takes 1hr 7mins. You can save yourself 14 minutes by catching the Whippet X3, which runs via Cambourne and Papworth – yes, via Cambourne. Take...

Cambourne needs a bus station

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is deeply mired in complexity and controversy over building a busway from Cambourne, an orbital link to Addenbrooke’s, and a new Park & Ride west of Cambridge. It has spent...

What are we trying to achieve for Milton Road?

Despite valiant efforts by the new team leading the Milton Road City Deal scheme, their ‘Final Concept’ still fails the 8-80 age test for cycling and provides much less green space than the community-backed ‘Do Optimum’...

Trumpington Park & Ride

The sudden and unexpected withdrawal of Grosvenor’s planning application for a sporting village and 520 houses south of Trumpington Meadows has created an opportunity. Some years ago the County Council negotiated a deal...

Reorganising buses is all the rage

Groningen, Oldenburg, Ghent, Hasselt, Bogotá and Algiers did it years ago. Houston and Seattle did it recently. Dublin is doing it now. Cambridge isn’t. But it should be. Houston, Texas radically simplified its bus...

Garbage in means garbage out

Long ago when I worked in traffic research, I spent many days on cold street corners, counting traffic at junctions. I saw the first use of transponders on buses to ‘advance’ a green phase at traffic lights over 40...

‘Tried and tested’ please

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about an ‘Advanced Very Rapid Transit’ system for the Greater Cambridge area using ‘bullet buses’ travelling at up to 120mph. The City Deal press release used the words ‘cutting-edge’...

Free is not always best

Recently local politicians have called for Cambridge’s Park & Ride car parks to be free again, and MPs have called for hospital car parks to be made free. ‘Free’ means somebody else is paying, in this case...

Let’s make taking the bus more attractive

Twenty years ago, I found myself working in my company’s Manchester office for a week. One morning, the regional sales manager and I had an appointment in the city centre. In our suits and carrying briefcases, we...

Do I have to take a taxi from the station?

If we want to make Cambridge railway station less car dependent, what more could we do to promote walking, cycling and bus travel? Many visitors arriving at the station take a taxi simply because other options are...

More space for living, less for parking

You may be aware that Murdoch House, on the corner of Cambridge’s Station Square, is set to be replaced, but did you know that more buildings are planned to go up on the car park? Initial designs (currently being...

Concrete is not the only solution

Aren’t you just loving the 2017 election season? In the local elections, we had weeks of talk about headline-grabbing transport infrastructure projects. Most candidates stated an ambition to solve the region’s transport...

A lesson from Plymouth

In the excellent Urban Transport Without The Hot Air by Steve Melia, there’s a study that has important implications for Cambridge and Cambourne. Ivybridge is a small town in Devon, just under 10 miles from Plymouth...

Time for a railway station at Fulbourn Hospital

One of the great frustrations with transport planning in the UK is that it is easier, quicker and often cheaper for a local authority to build a new road than it is for the same local authority, Network Rail and train...

We need to talk about ‘consultation’

It’s time to change the way ‘consultation’ works (or doesn’t). Currently, residents might learn about a council project for the first time from an invitation to a ‘briefing’. Those who have time and inclination to...

Invest in rail, not dualling the A10

The argument for dualling the A10 from Ely is that it requires more capacity to cope with population growth; that slow commute times put fewer jobs within commuting distance and reduce economic productivity (though, for...

Building more road capacity is futile

As long ago as 1924 it was realised that building new roads attracts additional traffic. In 1994 the Government Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment confirmed this in a landmark report, which led to the...

Neighbourhood parking: what it’s really about

The County Council highways committee voted last week to pass a new policy on neighbourhood parking – to be precise, they passed half a policy. New types of permit will be available, including for tradespeople, doctors...

Why Community Involvement is Essential

By the time you read this, the City Deal will have rubber-stamped funding for the set-up of neighbourhood parking schemes in Cambridge and beyond. While this policy was being developed, one such scheme was already going...

Let’s make our buses easier to understand

Those who don’t understand public transport don’t use it. Bus operators and local authorities all over the world could help themselves by giving passengers the sort of usability we take for granted on metro...

Bus franchising: a golden opportunity

Where in England do buses work really well? According to the Department for Transport, the top four local authorities, ranked by annual passenger-journeys per head of population, are: 1. Greater London (264.3) 2...

What is ‘Inbound Flow Control’?

You will know that the City Deal has plans (“but no decisions have been made yet”) to build a busway from Cambourne to Cambridge, to add more bus lanes to Milton Road, and to build a bus lane on Histon Rd between King’s...

Should Park & Ride parking be free?

Cambridge’s MP and all three voting members of the City Deal Executive Board have called for the £1 parking charge at Park & Ride sites to be removed. The intention is good, but the policy is wrong. The seven...

Where is the vision?

A refrain running through many of the questions to the City Deal is, “Where is the vision?” When Smarter Cambridge Transport put this question to the board last week, the audience was treated to three slides with vision...

What is Tactical Urbanism?

Transport planning is like economics: many competing theories, a tendency to examine measurable things (like traffic) and ignore the actors (people), and limited success in making accurate predictions. Traditionally...

Some New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

Have you thought about New Year’s Resolutions? Well, here are a few suggestions: 1. Get fit and save money: no need to buy gym membership; just fit walking and maybe cycling into your daily routine. Maybe try not...

Delivery Hubs for smarter goods distribution

Sometimes we don’t appreciate what a great example Santa Claus sets. All those presents from his toymakers are gathered together at a single distribution centre. Elves group the deliveries by chimney, and these...

A Metro for Cambridge

There has been great interest in the light rail scheme proposed by Cambridge Connect. It’s obvious why: rail services are easy to understand, reliable, safe, comfortable and usually come with high quality stations...

Streetscape: Good design principles

Streets make up three-quarters of the open space of a City. They can be famously beautiful like the Backs on Queens Road, or they could be chic ‘zones’ in a new residential area. Good streets should be practical, safe...

Where is the Hills Road cycleway project review?

Successful businesses are built on the maxim “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. So imagine for a moment that one of Cambridge’s world-leading businesses instituted a project which overran its budget by...

On-street parking

Does your neighbourhood resemble ‘Parking Wars’, the recent ITV show featuring Cambridge? Are your streets magnets for commuters, making life difficult for you, your visitors, tradespeople and carers? Streets...

Rebooting the City Deal

[This article has been edited as the event has now passed] The Greater Cambridge City Deal: was there ever an initiative in Cambridge that united so many disparate groups of people against it, for so many different...

Cambourne to Cambridge busway

The City Deal is proposing spending a £142m on a new road for buses from Cambourne to Cambridge. That might seem like a good idea, especially if you live in Cambourne, Highfields Caldecote or Hardwick and commute into...