GCP unveils options to improve public transport and air quality


Wednesday 27 February 2019



Hundreds of thousands of people who travel into and around Greater Cambridge each week are being urged to give further feedback on what they want from a future world-class public transport system.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is inviting views from commuters, residents and businesses about how to cut congestion and transform public transport to give people a real alternative to using a car – helping to reduce air pollution as well as maintaining sustainable economic growth.

It comes as new figures show that 106 deaths every year can be attributed to poor air quality in Greater Cambridge – meaning reduced emissions from traffic will lead to significant health benefits.

In 2017, the GCP spoke to more than 10,000 people in ‘Our Big Conversation’ about their thoughts for improving travel in the Greater Cambridge area and beyond. A clear majority said that public transport needs to be improved and congestion needs to be reduced.

The GCP has launched ‘Choices for Better Journeys’ which asks residents, commuters and businesses about a range of issues, including:
• Proposals to transform public transport in our region to offer a better alternative to the car
• Views on different ideas for tackling congestion, improving air quality and freeing-up road space for quicker public transport – including parking levies, road charging, and limiting access
• Funding for a future improved public transport system.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Executive Board, said: “Achieving a first class public transport in and around Cambridge will help us all – from young people needing to get to school, people travelling to work, socialising, heading to the shops or to visit the doctors. For all these things, at all ages, better public transport along with more cycling and walking routes helps people get around far more easily without having to rely on using a car.

“To achieve it we need to take action to reduce congestion, which is throttling the ability of people using buses to get to their destinations without major delays at peak times and seriously affecting businesses. Transforming public transport with high-quality, reliable, reasonably priced and quicker services will see thousands more people using it - meaning less traffic and cleaner air for us and future generations.

“But we need your views on how best to achieve this. So I urge everyone who travels into Cambridge or around the Greater Cambridge area to fill in our survey, consider the options to increase public transport funding and reduce congestion, and tell us how we can best help people get around Cambridge far quicker and more easily.”

People are being asked to submit views in an online survey that will also seek the views of local businesses, in collaboration with Cambridge Ahead, Cambridge Network and the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce.

Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO, Cambridge Ahead, said: “Managing congestion is key to growing a sustainable city and to do this, perceptions around congestion and how we deal with it need to improve.

“This survey is a first step to realising an achievable, measurable transport ambition.

“Working together with the GCP and other membership organisations allows us to understand the needs and expectations of the business community and residents. Evidence gathered will help us to consider most carefully an appropriate course of action for the future.”

During Our Big Conversation, people told us they wanted a better public transport network, with better availability and reliability – with 64 per cent criticising congestion levels and 42 per cent citing a lack of adequate public transport.

Today’s air quality report, commissioned by the GCP, explains that the main source of emissions is road traffic and that without intervention some emissions will exceed recommended limits in some areas of the city centre by 2021 and 2031.

The Choices for Better Journeys campaign outlines potential ideas to meet the challenges we have in the region. These include physical measures to make the best use of the available road space and measures that could fund the £20m required every year to provide a fast and reliable public transport system.