Why Cambridge's next step should be a Workplace Parking Levy for larger businesses, and a pollution-based charge targeting commercial vehicles.
Category - Cambridge Independent
Smarter Cambridge Transport’s weekly columns in the ‘Cambridge Independent’ newspaper
Where’s the parking strategy for Cambridge?
A phased reduction in parking provision is needed if we are to permanently reduce traffic, congestion and carbon emissions in Cambridge.
Would this get you to give up a car?
We need to make public transport simpler to use, widely available and cheap. Let’s start with integrated rail–bus tickets with free transfers.
Climate Commission’s two big recommendations for transport
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Climate Commission (CPICC) final report contains two major recommendations for transport.
New ‘car-free’ development misses the mark
The developer of 'Devonshire Gardens' needs a further design iteration if it is to create a reference site for sustainable, car-free living.
Growth requires sustainable infrastructure
It is now abundantly clear that politicians accepted the growth agenda without a clear vision of where it would take us, without securing adequate funding for all the infrastructure, and without explaining the...
The folly and irresponsibility of these transport plans
Eighteen new 1,500-space car parks in the countryside, and we'll still end up with more traffic, congestion, air pollution, deaths and injuries.
We’ve barely begun to address the climate crisis
Politicians are still almost entirely preoccupied with solving historical problems, and not getting started on meeting the climate challenge.
Improving safety and reducing congestion on Cambridgeshire roads
The County Council will soon be able to apply to take over enforcement of road traffic offences currently rarely enforced by the police.
GCP’s car park love affair comes to Foxton
Tell your councillors: more car parks won’t save the planet. Ask our children: is this a legacy they want us to leave to them?
Could ‘lollipop’ bus routing be the answer?
We need to reallocate road space to ensure it is safe to walk and cycle in the city, and quick and convenient to catch buses. Here's one way.
Is £9m for the City Access Strategy money well spent?
The GCP is demonstrating none of the leadership or imagination needed. Instead, we have continued decision paralysis and a staggering waste of money on half-baked ideas.
How should we respond to the climate emergency?
We can wait for a more authoritarian government to force us to change, or we can start to build consensus for change.
Where’s the cycling strategy for Cambridge?
Until the GCP develops a strategy for active travel, public transport, deliveries and private transport, it continues to waste our money.
Has the Guided Busway been a success?
Ten years after the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway opened, has it delivered on what was promised?
What are the options for reducing traffic in Cambridge?
Let’s start where we should have done in 2015, using deliberative democratic methods to build a coherent transport strategy for Cambridge.
What to do with buses in Cambridge city centre?
Reducing traffic in the city depends on reducing the amount of traffic entering it: not a future GCP is endeavouring to create.
Getting the basics right for bus services
The Cambridge City Access and Public Transport Improvements report MUST set out how bus services and stops will improve markedly from 2022.
Unchanged design for Cambridge South station is still not fit for purpose
It is irresponsible of Network Rail to be applying for Parliamentary approval using modelling that so clearly fails a common-sense test.
No action on the climate crisis until 2025
Politicians are squandering the chance of a transport future with zero carbon emissions, zero air pollution, zero road deaths and zero congestion.
Burnside Lakes: wrong place for a logistics hub
A developer is proposing to build six large sheds on the land between the David Lloyd Health Club and the western edge of Cherry Hinton.
Why Park & Rides are a waste of land and money
The CSET Park & Ride proposal will cost £132 million, in the hope of attracting 917 additional bus users. That's £144,000 spent per new user.
Petitioning the GCP to change its priorities
Our petition asks the GCP Board to change its priorities to schemes that could be delivered in less time with greater benefit, and much lower environmental damage.
Railroading decisions on busways and car parks
Is GCP railroading inexperienced councillors into agreeing to proceed with environmentally damaging and demonstrably unnecessary projects?
What stops you from walking or cycling more?
Is there anywhere you don’t walk or cycle simply because it’s impossible or unsafe to do so?
Why we fail to design transport for everyone
We're challenging the new mayor and County Council to ensure transport is not just designed for a small minority of the population.
Vision Zero: let’s make it a reality
To many, reducing speed limits seems perverse. But the reduced grief and pain, and increased freedom for our children, is more than worth it.
A new mayor brings a dramatic shift in priorities
The new mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Dr Nik Johnson, brings a very different set of priorities to the job.
The Cambridge Biomedical Campus vision? More growth.
The new vision being developed for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is all about growth, but the Campus needs to set its house in order first.
Are 4-person autonomous pods the future of transport?
Are these proposals better than running electric buses on existing roads? A comprehensive bus network and road pricing will cost far less.
Maintaining our roads and pavements
A topic that fills many councillors’ inboxes is the dire state of our roads and pavements. But funding runs far short of what is needed to fix them.
A bus service for every village, every hour
Imagine if very village had a bus service at least every hour, at least 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's possible, and here's how.
Making the best of the latest proposals for East West Rail
We need to work together to ensure the area that EWR runs through gets as much benefit – and as little downside – as possible.
Are the climate recommendations bold enough?
A new report is the starting gun for radical changes to local land use, water, energy, transport and construction.
Bus back better? A new national strategy
We need bus services to work for many more people.The new national bus strategy seeks to address this, with clear and sensible ambitions.
How ‘safety’ barriers can be discriminatory and unsafe
When a road junction proves to be dangerous, the council doesn’t install barriers; it remodels it. Why not do the same for unsafe footways and cycleways?
Time to suspend peak-time rail fares?
If they don’t travel five days a week, many part-time commuters will simply not return to trains and buses if they are able to drive instead.
Not a lot to see for £100 million spent on transport
The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has now spent over £100 million on transport schemes since the City Deal was signed in 2014.
Over 50% population growth for Oxford to Cambridge Arc
Jobs here contribute more to GDP than anywhere outside of London. But landowners and businesses are motivated by money, not philanthropy.
Improved plans for Cambridge station
Unfortunately, although there are outstanding issues with the new development, these are unlikely to see it blocked a second time.
Causeway to an isolated new community
Planning permission has been granted for 430 new homes on Worts’ Causeway. The poverty of ambition is deeply concerning.
Should yours be a Low Traffic Neighbourhood?
A Low Traffic Neighbourhood is a residential area without through-traffic. It needs to be part of a wider set of changes to benefit everyone.
The right way to reduce delays to Cambourne buses?
An independent audit is underway of the Cambourne to Cambridge busway. Can we now hope for sense to prevail?
Electric cars in bus lanes: a good idea?
The small incentive this idea will create to buy EVs is more than offset by the negative impacts on buses and cycling.
How do variable speed limits reduce congestion?
If people maintain reasonably safe headways, a motorway can carry about 15% more vehicles per hour at 40mph than at 70mph.
Are people right to oppose the ‘preferred’ route for East West Rail?
The need for a new east-west railway is beyond doubt. The southern approach currently being designed has a distinct advantage.
The future of transport: who gets a voice?
If we recognise that some people lack a voice in the debate about the future, shouldn’t we help them participate directly?
Take your pick: busways or a congestion charge
Groups opposing busways could have their way if they could convince a majority in Greater Cambridge to support a congestion charge instead.
How to reduce vehicle-miles to reduce carbon emissions
All of these steps can reduce the vehicle-miles we are most directly responsible for without significantly reducing quality of life.
Improving access to Cambridge from the east
Transport routes should be direct and services as cheap as possible. From the east of Cambridge, no public transport options fit the bill.
Sustainable growth or just promises?
Mistrust of the development sector is at an all-time high. How can the new Local Plan avoid making the same mistakes as last time?
No new petrol/diesel cars or vans from 2030
The real problem is the huge carbon cost of continuing to use the petrol/diesel vehicles we have now and continue to manufacture.
Bigger lorries coming down the road
A consultation is looking at allowing articulated lorries some 2 metres longer than at present, as well as permitting 48-tonne lorries.
Positive innovations coming to Cambridgeshire bus services
Initiatives like these are important. Everybody needs to be able to get about, whether or not they have access to a car.
Are transport proposals for the east of Cambridge bold enough?
Transport links to the east of Cambridge are particularly poor, so it’s good to see the GCP turn its attention in that direction.
Too much busway, too little station
Two more public consultations recently launched illustrate just how out-of-step with the times transport authorities are.
What’s the traffic like in Cambridge?
If the still-upward trend in car traffic continues, evening peaks are likely to become increasingly congested.
Government must give citizens a voice
We need to provide resources to enable community groups to organise themselves and employ experts – just as economic stakeholders do.
Making the Highway Code safer for people
The Highway Code is up for revision with a view to reinforcing the rights and protections of people walking, cycling or riding a horse.
What is the public cost of private transport?
We have to invest in transport that is more space- and energy-efficient, and accessible to everyone, regardless of age, wealth or abilities.
UK Climate Assembly shows a way forward
108 people met over six weekends earlier this year to consider how the UK should decarbonise transport, energy, food and other things we buy.
Too many jobs and not enough houses
Local authorities are so consumed with delivering new homes, they have failed to keep track of how many jobs they are allowing to be created.
A vision for Waterbeach transport
How we can spend far less than the estimated £250 million to dual the A10 and build the Waterbeach busway, and benefit thousands more people.
The cost of congestion on bus users and what to do about it
Congestion costs bus users twice over: longer journey times and higher fares.
Reimagining our highways
Communities are starting to reimagine their streets. Start a conversation with neighbours and ask your councillors to help make it a reality.
E-scooters: transport solution or safety hazard?
What’s not to like? Well, we’re soon going to find out, as Voi Technology is about to pilot rental e-scooters in Cambridge.
Government unveils ambitious plans for cycling and walking
It’s now time to accelerate the construction of infrastructure to allow as many people as possible to walk or cycle most short trips.
We need to plan the hard parts of a new transport system first
Before we agree to build busways outside the city, we must see detailed plans and costs for the route through the city core.
The legacy of the Citizens Assembly
Last year a Citizens Assembly considered how to reduce congestion, improve air quality and provide better public transport. What's happened since?
Are locally-licensed taxis getting a fair deal?
Rather than permitting all taxis to use bus lanes and enter restricted areas, the County Council could limit the privilege to “authorised vehicles”.
Who is to blame for transport project cost overruns?
Fendon Road roundabout joins a litany of Cambridgeshire County Council transport projects running hugely over budget and time.
How does a car park by the A11 help Haverhill?
The determination of the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) to build unwanted busways would be admirable if it wasn’t so profoundly misguided.
Let’s ask: “How can we make this work better?”
We need council reps, business owners and residents to engage respectfully, and to listen to each other’s ideas and concerns.
How can we fix the broken planning system?
The mechanism for setting priorities locally (the ‘Local Plan’) is no longer fit for purpose. But the government’s proposed solution is worse.
Why providing for walking and cycling should be the priority
Encouraging people to walk or cycle more means more give up their cars, leading to sustained reductions in emissions and improved public health.
Misguided busways and car parks move forward
GCP is pursuing the wrong solutions to the wrong problems, and spending the best part of £400 million of your money to do so.
Design for the future, not the past
With at least another £200 million to spend, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is gearing up to push ahead with developments that are all anachronisms.
A revolution in transport is afoot
When we see the government reallocate the new-roads budget to public transport we will know it is seriously committed to restoring the environment.
Green Belt housing on Wort’s Causeway needs a rethink
Why Greater Cambridge Shared Planning needs to force the developers back to the drawing board.
How can we make more space for walking and cycling?
The County Council has been slow off the mark, recently stating that officers are still looking at data and talking with their maintenance contractor.
Who should be involved to make good transport decisions for Cambridge?
Why we need to transfer transport powers from the county council and make Greater Cambridge a Highway Authority.
Can we have home delivery from any local shop in future?
Brilliantly convenient while we’re all shut in our homes. But how can it continue when people return to work?
Can you hear and smell the future?
We must make lasting changes in our own lives, and demand change of others.
Can video-conferencing reduce the need to travel to in-person meetings?
There is no reason why, post lock-down, remote meetings cannot continue to be an efficient replacement for many in-person meetings.
What is the future for rail franchising?
Will the government choose TfL-style franchising as its preferred model to ensure continuity of services whilst keeping operations in the private sector?
Life in the Time of COVID-19: a glimpse of the future?
The COVID-19 virus has prompted us to make radical changes which could serve us well in the future.
Why rural councillors should support residents’ parking schemes
Residents’ parking schemes are an essential part of the strategy to reduce peak hour congestion in and around Cambridge, which benefits all bus users.
Why does transport planning ignore the needs of pedestrians?
Technology now exists to count pedestrians. Transport bodies need to use it.
Transport project cost overruns will affect us all
The Fendon Road roundabout redesign has escalated from £0.8m to £1.8m – where is the extra £1m going to come from?
Local government needs to stop wasting time and money
It’s the not the job of council officers to protect the reputations of incompetent consultants, yet they do.
Could you save money and carbon by car-sharing your commute?
How do we help more people to do this? And how much difference could it make?
An environmentally responsible East-West Rail
It's important that we don't overlook the range of opportunities it provides to improve the environment, connectivity and public health.
Is the mayor’s Bus Reform Task Force on track to deliver?
There is no doubt that James Palmer is serious about improving bus services, but can his Task Force deliver?
Cambridge South station: a step closer, but is it ambitious enough?
Until the new station opens, we need further improvements to the bus link from Cambridge station
Why consultations aren’t helping
To de-carbonise the economy, restore balance with nature, enhance public health and promote social justice, we have to do government differently.
Trains instead of planes – a viable choice for European destinations?
For trips not involving a sleeper - as far as Biaritz, Perpignan, Monaco, Berlin or Milan - advance fares are comparable with flying with checked-in bags.
Why Uber’s business model is not good for our health
The pressure on public transport from investor-subsidised private alternatives won’t be for the public good.
Are Dr Magnus Pyke’s predictions holding true?
Perhaps Pyke’s most accurate prediction was that “bicycle power will once again become important in its own right.”
Will your New Year’s resolutions be for a more sustainable future?
We need to create a vision of a future we actively want to strive for
What has the new government promised on transport?
The next five years are critical for the future of the planet: will the UK lead the way on de-carbonising transport?
Why Cambridge needs a Workplace Parking Levy
We are trapped in a circular argument and phasing in a Workplace Parking Levy is possibly the only way to break this deadlock.
Car clubs: a cost-effective alternative to owning a car for occasional use
Consider whether replacing a car with car club membership could save you money!
How can we fix local government in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?
Is there anyone who thinks that local government in Cambridgeshire is functioning well?
How much do you value your journey time?
Why would you support a congestion charge? Probably because the journey time is sufficiently shortened or you’re given a better value alternative to driving.
What have we learned from the closure of Mill Road bridge during the summer?
Have traffic flows reverted to how they were before the summer? Interestingly, not everywhere.
What are ‘Mobility as a Service’ and ‘micromobility’?
You may have heard of ‘Mobility as a Service’ and ‘micromobility’, but what exactly do these mean?
Where are the options for drivers displaced by residents-only parking?
On-street parking is about safety, fair access to a limited communal asset, and the right to clean air.
Carrots and sticks are not the answer
Almost nothing the Greater Cambridge Partnership has delivered in nearly five years has increased people’s travel options. That needs to change.
Does building more roads reduce congestion? No, and here’s why.
For now, we have no choice but to reduce our energy consumption by travelling less and, instead of driving, using more energy-efficient transport modes
Recent traffic chaos is a wake-up call: priorities need to change
Had the Greater Cambridge Partnership invested in smart traffic signalling technology in 2016, the network would now be more resilient to roadworks and seasonal variations in travel demand.
Emerging vision for Cambridge city centre skirts around painful choices
We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. We have to make big changes, some of which will be painful and unpopular.
Meaningless targets risk dragging us back to the 20th century
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Local Transport Plan could drag us back into making the mistakes of the 20th century.
Why we must listen to the next generation
How today's young people are using the opportunities given to them to research and propose fixes to the problems around us.
Roll-on access to trains and stations is a benefit to everyone
Greater Anglia's new trains' most innovative feature is level boarding from the platform. Why isn’t it universal on our railways?
Have your say on the Local Transport Plan
There’s a consultation (yes, another one) on the region’s most important transport strategy document.
Where did the Mill Road traffic go?
It is difficult to draw firm conclusions even from a rich data set like this
Will you one day hear: “All change at Girton Interchange?”
Where else might we find a permanent home for a coach station, with excellent connectivity to the city and surrounding villages, and all the facilities you’d expect to find at a city train station?
Why we need to insist that new streets are fit for purpose
Why Transport for New Homes' checklist needs to be translated into robust legislation, and why citizens need to demand that it gets more funding.
Why every village should want a travel hub (but not a Park & Ride)
Using terminology precisely and consistently is important in public debate. ‘Travel hub’ is not a euphemism for ‘Park & Ride’
Citizens’ Assembly this autumn could shape Cambridge transport
This really is different from the forums and workshops used to date.
What did I learn from a field trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany?
Ghent is an interesting comparator for Cambridge: a bold transport plan has all but removed cars from the medieval city centre.
How much does it cost to run a bus?
What would make the bigger difference: another 2,500 people using Park & Ride or 55,000 more people using buses in the region?
Has the south east approach project been thrown off course?
The planned south east approach to Cambridge appears to miss the two main out of town employment sites, and the villages on the way.
All change at Stagecoach East: new management, new buses
At a recent open event, staff were refreshingly honest about the shortcomings of Stagecoach’s service in recent times
‘Through the Looking Glass’ economics used to justify a new P&R at Hauxton
On every single metric, the ‘preferred’ option scores worse than all scenarios considered, including not building the P&R!
Can a Citizens’ Assembly break the Cambridge transport deadlock?
Citizens’ Assemblies to date have produced recommendations that are well-supported by the populations they represent.
Light rail: Cambridge shouldn’t be scared of proven technology
In this case, the popular option is also the right one.
How transport’s gender gap gives us an incomplete picture
The transport system is poorly designed for over half of the population – we need to change this.
Will closing Mill Road create mayhem or show us the future of low-car living?
Let’s learn from Mill Road closure, and use it as a template for running experimental closures elsewhere in the city.
What’s at the top of the urban transport hierarchy?
How closely do you think highway planners and engineers adhere to this?
The road to zero carbon will carry fewer cars
We need more train and bus services, an extensive network of cycleways, and for towns and villages to be walkable.
Railway plans for Cambridgeshire lack vision and ambition
Assertions in Network Rail’s assessment of rail needs for the next 25 years beggar belief.
Taking action on air pollution: lives are at stake
Public Health England recommends targeting pollution hotspots and areas which have more vulnerable people.
Who’ll pay for the transport from Essex’s new town?
Somebody should be obligated to pay to provide really good public transport.
Will making the bus driver redundant save public transport?
Even if a computer can drive the bus, it doesn’t mean we won’t need any staff on board.
Learning from Oslo, the European Green Capital
We need a plan for our region, not just Cambridge, that is bigger and more holistic than anything produced to date.
How to transform a city at a pace people can cope with
The Greater Cambridge Partnership would do well to talk with the team at Leeds City Council
We need to be ambitious in North East Cambridge
A new urban hub would alleviate pressure within the existing medieval centre, and offer alternative spaces
Biomedical Campus and GCP have some explaining to do
GCP needs to come and talk to all of the affected communities around the Campus – now
“Technology is the new asphalt” – Inspiration from Eddington and Las Vegas
How technology could be transformational and sustainable for the whole region
10 practical ways to reverse the decline in bus usage
What can we do to encourage, support or force Stagecoach to up its game?
East West Rail: Final nail in the coffin for the Cambourne busway?
There is an obvious conflict with the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s flagship project, the Cambourne–Cambridge Busway.
Getting transport right is crucial to a sustainable housing strategy
Let's hope politicians share this sense of urgency and support radical but practical changes along the lines we have suggested.
How can Cambridge City Council reconcile social equity with sustainability?
We are still planning and building as if the future will be only slightly different from 30 years ago.
Who’s afraid of a zebra? Pedestrian-friendly streets just need some paint
We can add zebra crossings at side road junctions easily. Manchester is already leading the way on this.
Bus lanes provide just 0.5% of the economic benefits of the Milton Rd scheme
How much greater would the benefits be if the space was used for wider footways, continuously protected cycleways, more trees and sustainable drainage?
£40m spent so far on transport schemes: where has it all gone?
The biggest problem stems from an accounting practice that makes a hard distinction between capital and operating expenditure.
Now is the time for personal and communal action
Be the change you want to see in the world – and use the power of community to multiply your influence.
Cambridge Station plans for 2019 sure to upset everyone
For the large majority of people who access the station on foot, the proposed changes will significantly worsen their experience.
For the Great and the Good, the answers are always in the next report
Answers are always promised, but when these arrive, they resolve little and pose more questions.
A smarter alternative for Trumpington Park & Ride
For the money being proposed, we could give each P&R user thirteen years of unlimited bus travel throughout Cambridgeshire.
Designing a Park & Ride service where everyone wins
‘Travel hubs’, a few miles out, require far less capital expense, and give better access to the old, the young, those without cars and those who simply don’t wish to drive.
Why we need guidelines for electric vehicle on-street charging points
Virtually no electric vehicle infrastructure placement advice has been written.
Back where we started with the Cambourne to Cambridge busway
You can let politicians know you want a change of course for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway.
We need to reinvent multi-operator ticketing now
The Combined Authority and GCP should be reinventing the Busway Smartcard to work county-wide with all bus operators.
What is a liveable neighbourhood?
Liveable neighbourhoods mean stronger communities and better quality of life for all who live in them.
How can we improve mobility in the city centre?
Would excluding motor traffic from more of the city centre make it more accessible, more enjoyable and safer?
What kind of city centre do you want for Cambridge?
Start thinking and discussing with friends and colleagues what kind of city centre you want for Cambridge.
Why an 80mph speed limit turns out to be bad for us all
It's a popular fallacy that increasing motorway speed limits would help drivers get to their destination more quickly
Taxi companies and their customers all need better legislation
The public wants a safe, regulated taxi service and the industry wants to provide it.
A perspective from Leeds
Trying to figure out why transport economics so often fails to feed good policies to politicians...
Three new Cambridges by 2050, but no credible plan to cope
How did our local politicians allow us to be steamrollered into accepting this scale of growth?
Station Square final phase: fiasco or redemption?
There is one last chance to make this space right. People need to lobby Brookgate now.
Could we make buses free for everyone?
Those over retirement age are entitled to a free bus pass; what would it cost to extend this to everyone?
The state of our bus services
The whole service provision needs redesigning – as is happening now in Dublin.
Car-free days open streets to people
When people ‘reclaim the streets’ from motor vehicles, it’s one of the highlights of the city’s calendar
Why not to trust transport forecasts
Actual costs and benefits would have given the Guided Busway a ‘poor value for money’ rating, which would not have qualified for taxpayer funding.
Why Park & Ride is NOT the solution
The social and environmental benefits of radically improving rural bus services far outweigh those of Park & Rides.
Before a congestion charge
Neither the Greater Cambridge Partnership nor the Combined Authority has a plan to transform bus services across the region.
Future-proof, not temporary
We can build an extensive public transport network now using buses. Here's how.
When authorities won’t listen to themselves
You might expect the council's Highways team would forbid pavement blocking by building contractors at critical sites.
Signs of a positive impact
Residents, councillors and the Conservation officer have all asked for the minimum signage of ‘Parking Permit Areas’ in Newnham.
Multi-operator bus ticketing
We just need politicians, council officers and bus operators to sit down together and agree to make this happen.
A pollution-free future coming down the road
Pollution causes about 40,000 deaths per year in the UK, but a century-old technology is coming to the rescue.
A bus journey is about the experience
Before trying to knock a few minutes off bus journey times, we need to understand that the quality of the journey experience is arguably more important to people
The Case for Bus Franchising
Planned well, franchising could deliver a Swiss-style integrated, comprehensive public bus service.
It’s Not a War on the Motorist
Better enforcement of straightforward regulations would reduce congestion and make streets safer for all.
The good, the bad and the ugly
The mayor’s recently-published Interim Transport Strategy Statement re-confirms his ambitions for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Why is the County Council moving to Alconbury Weald?
The County Council has voted to move its base from Castle Hill in Cambridge to Alconbury Weald. It's a done deal.
Sequencing is critical
Why increasing road capacity with more lanes just buys time ...and worse, the business case for the sustainable stuff evaporates
Why is Hills Road falling to pieces?
It's a question which can be asked about many roads, but in this case the reason may be history as much as any lack of care by the County Council.
A ‘people centric’ strategy or perpetual congestion?
Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) published a report in March that deserves more attention than its uninspiring title and status suggest.
Why a £13m overspend in Ely matters
The Ely Southern Bypass is £21m over its original budget. We should be extremely wary of funding large infrastructure projects from council borrowing not covered by new income streams.
We’re at a tipping point in the south of Cambridge
What’s the answer? We’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for nearly three years.
“So there you have it: don’t depend on buses.”
Significant delays or cancellations within a bus operator’s control should be penalised in a way that benefits users.
A service level agreement for bus travel
Less variability in journey times is not actually what most people who use buses complain about. Missing a connection because of delay is a big headache. It’s why people don’t like having to change buses.
Haverhill Rail: the Missing A1307 Option
A conservative extrapolation from the St Ives busway to the Haverhill railway provides a forecast of about 4.5m trips/year. So why isn’t reopening the railway still under consideration?
Negotiating the elephant on the A1307
5,000 new jobs are coming to the Biomedical Campus by the middle of next year, with no extra transport provision for them.
This is not an infrastructure project!
One Ticket, One Network, One Brand here will do more to achieve modal shift than rolling out some red tarmac for a few buses a day.
Start with the quick wins
Let's see action on interventions that can make a difference now, while the Combined Authority gets the longer term strategy right.
Lessons for Cambridge from Singapore
London does integrated transport pretty well. Arguably Singapore does it better. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's mayor can learn from both.
Frequency: the key to better public transport
Imagine a gate at the end of your driveway that opens only once every 30 minutes. You cannot apply a private motorist's mentality to shaping public transport policy.
What we need right now is not a busway
For South Cambridgeshire residents, what's needed are attractive, comfortable, reliable and flexible public transport options from close to where people live.
When is a bus not a bus?
The Mayor has maintained that buses aren't the answer for the Cambridge area, so the consultants have wheeled out something vaguely called a 'metro'.
A bridge over Foxton level crossing
There's a plan to re-route the A10 via a bridge or underpass and close the level crossing at Foxton. Unfortunately, as with Skanska's proposal for Whittlesford, the scope is too narrow.
Whittlesford station: the neglected gateway
Whittlesford has a neglected station with poor access. Upgraded to 'Parkway' status in 2007, it still lacks basic facilities like toilets or a bridge between the platforms suitable for people with limited mobility.
The elephants in the room: HGVs
Investing in new road capacity is expensive, environmentally damaging, and usually only a temporary solution. A distance-based HGV levy plus more investment in railways would achieve a much better outcome.
Put the railway at the centre of things
How Cambridge North, the future south station, and the main station can form the backbone of a ‘Cambridge Overground’ metro within five years.
Smarter Cambridge Transport: continuing to ask the questions
Smarter Cambridge Transport is growing, and in 2018 we'll continue to put forward the ideas and ask the questions. Here's how.
Smarter Cambridge Transport: our journey to date
Smarter Cambridge Transport came together to advance integrated, innovative and sustainable transport ideas. So, how have we done?
Can we have joined-up local government?
Confusion and blame-passing is almost daily between Planning (City Council) and Highways (County Council). We deserve better.
Before we build that bus-, rail-, or AVRT-way…
Are we using the County Council’s Long Term Transport Plan or not? The GCP and the mayor can't pick and choose.
Why we’re getting a Cambourne-Cambridge busway
You maybe didn’t realise it at the time, but in 2014 you agreed to the County Council’s Long Term Transport Strategy.
Property developers must do better
It's almost as if a deliberate effort has been made to put off every mode of transport which we should be encouraging.
More use of the southern busway please!
The guided busway between Trumpington Park & Ride and Cambridge station is underused. How could we make more use of it?
Let’s have a Big Data Dig
GCP indicate that they will publish the raw data from their recent traffic survey in 2018. Why is it taking so long to release?
Fixing the Grafton Area
The Grafton Centre itself is undergoing a facelift, but the area needs more than that. These are some additional ideas we’ve submitted to the consultation.
6 Things To Know About Self-Driving Cars
Most people - and governments - are barely considering the implications of this revolution, but we should be. This is all going to happen much sooner than most of us think.
Should HGVs pay their way in the city?
A charge which would remain affordable to HGV operators could deter unnecessary peak-time movements and raise a substantial amount of money from others.
A chance to say what you think
The new Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Big Conversation is a welcome initiative, even if it must be their last chance to get things right.
Cambridge can do better. But will it?
The authorities can take advantage of the expertise offered by the people they represent. Or they can spend their time arguing with us.
A walking tube map for Cambridge
The 'Metrominuto' map looks just like an underground map, showing lines of differing colours connecting different points of interest in the city.
Let Cherry Hinton set an example
The ‘spine’ of the new airport development should be a green corridor, ideal for walking and cycling, and it must be available from day one.
Our Streets are for Everyone
When did it first become acceptable for drivers to simply stop and leave their vehicles along one or both sides of the road?
Greenways: an investment which everyone can support
Greenways will help reduce congestion and play a part in ensuring economic growth is sustainable. This is an investment which everyone can support.
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.
Lobby politicians, not officers
There is one feature of the local government system that’s simple: politicians set policy; officers advise and deliver. So who should people lobby?
Releasing Drummer St bus station from its dreary existence
The councils’ strategy for coping with growth is to have many more people commute by bus, but there’s no strategy yet for how to accommodate all the extra buses in the city.
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 taxpayers...
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...
Let’s change the way public transport works here
The Dutch are well-known for their high-quality cycleways. They also do a very good job of running public transport. First, they have OV-chipkaart, a national smart card that lets you tap-and-go on just about any train...
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...
Saving the Green Belt with sustainable transport
Green belt land has two purposes: preserving countryside for future generations, and preventing urban sprawl. Unfortunately our green belt protection policies are failing to prevent sprawl, and endangering the...
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
The Bus Services Bill allows the mayor here in Cambridgeshire to adopt London-style franchising of bus services. This is a golden opportunity for innovation.
How do you solve a problem like moving a small town every day?
I haven’t met many people who fully grasp how big the Addenbrooke’s site (the Biomedical Campus) will become. It already hosts 15,000 employees, but the total could be double that, or 30,000, by 2030. To put things in...
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...
We won’t have clean air if we say no to everything
Clean air. Who’s going to argue against that? None of us wants to breathe in dirty, life-shortening air. The figure of 47 deaths per year attributable to air pollution locally, cited recently on Cambridge Independent’s...
How many cars do you think drive into Cambridge most weekdays?
A quiz for you: how many cars do you think drive into Cambridge most weekdays? What proportion are looking to park on the streets for free? If we incentivised people not to do this, would it make a difference? We now...
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...
Ways in which we must follow Anne Hidalgo’s lead
Think of a mayor. Perhaps Boris Johnson springs to mind? A man whose pre-Brexit legacy was to start a cycling revolution in London: ‘Boris bikes’ and cycle superhighways. Maybe Rudy Giuliani? Famous for Zero Tolerance...
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...
Only Connect: a pretty good motto for public transport
Before Victoria Coren claimed ownership of “Only Connect,” it was E M Forster’s, extolling humans’ need to for connection. It’s also a pretty good motto for public transport: we spend a lot of time talking about cars...
Air pollution: killing 40,000 people across the UK every year
Did you know that air pollution kills an estimated 40,000 people across the UK every year? That compares with 1,800 road deaths. In October nine Royal Colleges of Medicine launched the Breath of Fresh Air initiative...
What do we want from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor?
“I’ll be with you in a minute. I’m listening to the mayor on the radio.” On 5 May 2017, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will join a handful of cities and regions with powers and money devolved from government. The...
Who will ensure that excellent design is at the heart of new developments?
The recently formed National Infrastructure Commission has published its report on the Cambridge–Milton Keynes–Oxford corridor. It identifies a chronic shortage of housing as the greatest risk to growth. Unsurprisingly...
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...
30,000 people will be employed on the Biomedical Campus. How will they get there?
It’s notoriously hard to keep track of developments in ‘Greater Cambridge’. Each of the three councils and the City Deal has its own website, none of which can be described as particularly user friendly. All four bodies...
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...
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...