Smarter Cambridge Transport updated proposal
The Girton Interchange was redesigned as part of the A14 Improvement Scheme, but this added no new connections. The two key objectives for our proposal are:
- Connect the A428 directly to the M11 in both directions, taking through-traffic off the heavily congested A1303 (Madingley Hill).
- Provide a new transport hub at the Girton Interchange, accessible from the A14, M11 and A428, with a visitor transfer hub, coach station, freight distribution/consolidation centre, exhibition hall and conference centre.
This rough sketch shows how these objectives could be met, mainly using land that is isolated by existing roads, and preserving or enhancing foot/cycle/bridleways:
New road links are shown in cyan, connecting with the new A1307 built as part of the A14 Improvement Scheme. Green dashed lines indicate realigned foot/cycle/bridleways and farm access tracks. Dark blue indicates a new bridge.
The Girton Interchange is a cross-roads of the M11 (from London), the A14 (the Midlands, Ipswich and the port of Felixstowe), and the A428 (Beford, Milton Keynes and Northampton). It is therefore an ideal location for a transport hub for people and freight.
Light rail link
A light rail line between the Girton Interchange, West Cambridge, the city centre, Cambridge railway station and the Biomedical Campus would provide the fastest and most reliable journey times to these destinations, making the Girton Interchange one of the main gateways into the city (the others being Cambridge, Cambridge North and Cambridge South railway stations).
A coach station at the Girton Interchange will greatly shorten journey times. Coaches would not have to travel in and out of the city centre, which can take up to an hour at peak times. The light rail link will provide a fast and convenient way to travel between the coach station and key destinations in the city, with onward connections by bus or rail possible at each stop on the light rail line.
Visitor transfer hub
Car parking at the Girton Interchange would serve people arriving by car or private coach from outside the area covered by local transport. This would include tourists and visitors from all across the country. Parking would be charged at a level to deter local residents using it for commuting and shopping (to incentivise them to use public transport and local delivery services instead). The price charged per day would include a pass for unlimited travel on local bus and rail services.
A logistics hub at the Girton Interchange would allow the transfer of freight between heavy goods vehicles running on the motorway and dual carriageways, and smaller electric vehicles running on local roads. Electric lorries and vans would transfer goods between the main hub at the Girton Interchange and smaller depots around the city. Last-mile deliveries could then be made from those depots by electric vans and cargo bikes.
Exhibition hall and conference centre
The Girton Interchange could be an ideal location for a large exhibition and events hall and conference centre. Public transport access from London, Stansted Airport and anywhere on the national rail network would be via Cambridge station and the light rail link. Coach services would also provide access from many major cities.
Comparison of connectivity
Significance of cell colours
- Red: detour required to make the connection
- Orange: dangerous or congested connection
- Yellow: sub-optimal connection for a trunk road
- Green: good connection
- A1307 new:
Roads & junctions
- A1307 city: Huntingdon Road
- A1307 new: new local access road to Oakington Road
- Jn 29: Bar Hill interchange (8.8km / 5.5mi detour from Girton Interchange)
- Jn 30: Oakington Rd interchange (to be removed)
- Jn 32: Histon interchange (5.6km / 3.5mi detour from Girton Interchange)
Ease of access to a Park & Ride at the Girton Interchange can be judged from the ease of access to and from the A1307.
|FromTo||A14 west||A14 east||M11||A428||A1307|
|A14 west||2 roundabouts||via Jn 32|
|A14 east||via Jn 29||via Jn 29|
|M11||via loop||via Jn 29||via A1303||via Jn 29|
|A428||via Madingley||via A1303||via Jn 32||via A1303|
|A1307||via Jn 29||via Jn 29||via Madingley|
Smarter Cambridge Transport proposal
The transport hub is accessed from the A1307
|FromTo||A14 west||A14 east||M11||A428||A1307*|
|A14 west||2 roundabouts||5 roundabouts|
*The transport hub (coach and visitor transfer station, logistics hub, etc) is accessed from the A1307.
The M11–A1303 junction
Why doesn’t the M11 have slip ramps on the north side of the A1303? On the face of it, this would be a sensible addition that would improve access to north-west Cambridge.
Unfortunately there is a sound safety argument against adding slip ramps here: the distance between this junction and the Girton Interchange is too short for drivers joining and leaving the M11 to switch lanes safely. This is known as the ‘weaving length’, and is illustrated in the diagram below.
The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (Volume 6, section 2, part 1, paragraphs 4.34–36) sets a minimum weaving distance of 2km for rural motorways, and 1km for dual carriageways (‘rural all-purpose roads’). On this section of the M11, the distance would be about 770m, which is well below the minimum required.
If you examine other junctions on the M11 and A14, you will see that some are closer together than current minimum standards allow. This contributes to the poor safety record on these roads.
Possible future connections proposed by Highways England
At the time of the development of the A14 Improvement Scheme, Highways England responded to representations by Coton Parish Council with a possible future layout that includes additional connections (see pages 21–22 of Report 5: Design and Engineering standards). This would connect the A428 and M11 (via two roundabouts eastbound), but the A1307 would still not be accessible from the A14 east or M11; nor would you be able to get back onto the A428 westbound from the A14 west or A1307.
Another option considered by Highways England is to build a new link road from the A428 at the Madingley Mulch roundabout to the M11 at the Barton Interchange (see page 25 of Report 5: Design and Engineering standards). This would meet very serious objections on environmental grounds, and would not provide access to a transport hub at the Girton Interchange. A Park & Ride at the Madingley Mulch roundabout has already been rejected as part of the Cambourne–Cambridge scheme because of its environmental impacts.
The previous version of this page, which included commentary of the A14 Improvement Scheme is available in the archive.