The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has put forward proposals for a Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro and recently closed a consultation about the needs and benefits for such a scheme.
The Combined Authority’s vision is for “an expansive metro-style network that seamlessly connects regional settlements, major city fringe employment sites and key satellite growth areas across the region with key railway stations and Cambridge city centre, helping to nurture and sustain long-term regional economic growth.” They expect the CAM to use a technologically advanced, sustainable, highly flexible trackless electric vehicle with a network of both tunnelled and surface elements.
Camcycle does not take a position on the CAM proposals in principle; however we take a keen interest in any infrastructure project that could have an impact on cycle users. We are also convinced that any strategic transport plan must include cycling as a core part of it – it is not simply a leisure activity but one of the most efficient ways of moving around a city and the surrounding area. With this in mind, if the CAM or any alternative rapid transit system is built, we feel the following points must be taken into consideration.
- CAM stations should provide ample secure cycle parking – it is key that passengers feel confident that they can securely leave their cycles at any station, as this will facilitate multi-modal journeys that might otherwise have been made by car.
- In addition, the construction of high-standard on-site cycle facilities must be matched by similar standards of cycle infrastructure in the area around CAM stations. Areas such as Drummer Street and the Central Railway Station are currently black spots for cycle safety, and we must ensure that changes to these areas will improve the situation by introducing protected cycling infrastructure separate from both pedestrians and heavy vehicles.
- Further away from the core tunnels and stations, the surface sections of the network should be built with separate cycleways and footways alongside wherever possible. This will provide both excellent long-distance cycle routes, and dramatically improved active travel connectivity between rural settlements that currently lack it.
- The CAM vehicles must be compatible with multi-modal journeys that involve cycling at both ends. This means adequate space for transporting cycles, and fully level boarding for those on adapted cycles, conventional mobility scooters, and wheelchairs. Additionally, the movements of any large articulated vehicles in public spaces must be carefully designed to ensure the safety of people walking and cycling in the vicinity.