Consultation guide: GCP Sustainable Travel Zone

GCP Making Connections consultation booklet coverName of consultation: GCP Making Connections 2022
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/STZ-survey

From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership

Format: Online survey OR email consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk  OR attend one of the in-person events mentioned on the consultation website.

Deadline: Midday on 23 December.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is proposing to transform the bus network and invest in other sustainable transport schemes, such as better walking and cycling infrastructure, through the introduction of a Sustainable Travel Zone to promote the use of active travel and public transport. Once improvements were in place, road charging would be introduced to provide funding for the continuation of the better bus services and futher improvements to sustainable travel.

View a summary of the plans in the consultation booklet and find more information on the consultation website.

Camcycle’s view

We support proposals for a Sustainable Travel Zone in Cambridge, but it is essential that we speak out loudly for the changes needed to walking and cycling infrastructure and public transport which must be delivered at speed over the next few years. That’s why we have formed the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance together with Cambridge Living Streets and Cambridge Area Bus Users.

We strongly encourage you to spend as much time as you can giving your feedback on the proposals and the improvements you’d like to see as well as answering ‘Support’ or ‘Strongly Support’ to Question 9, which asks about the principle of a Sustainable Travel Zone. Many frequently asked questions were answered in our recent monthly meeting with GCP Technical Director Alistair Cox, which is available to view on YouTube.

Consultation response guide

Click here to go direct to the consultation survey and then use the guidelines below to help you shape your response.

BUS IMPROVEMENTS

Bus graphic1) To what extent do you support or oppose the proposals for bus improvements and fare reductions?

We should be doing everything we can to encourage more people to choose more sustainable forms of transport like buses and therefore reduce the number of car journeys in our city. To achieve the scale of change required there must be reliable, accessible, and cheap alternatives.

Camcycle recommends that you answer STRONGLY SUPPORT

2) Do you have any comments on the proposals for:

  • Cheaper fares?
  • More routes?
  • Fast, high frequency services?
  • Longer operating hours?
  • Increased rural services?
  • Simpler ticketing?
  • Zero emission bus services?

You may wish to use some of the following text in your answer as well as your own personal experiences:

Cheaper fares:

  • Further information should be presented on the fare caps, weekly, monthly and annual tickets plus ticketing for children, students and families.
  • Some of the necklace villages just on the border of the STZ would also benefit from further fare reduction, say £1.50 singles to act as an intermediate step.

More routes:

  • There should be a combination of express services with limited number of stops and no diversions into villages, together with local services that provide stop frequency to villages.
  • More routes are welcome, but these should be designed to minimise conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and buses. For example, more detail is needed on interchanges in the city centre.

Fast, high frequency services:

  • There must be accurate real-time information at all bus stops and online, plus next stop information onboard.
  • A high frequency inner-city orbital bus service should be provided to help with mobility within the city and remove the need for all services to enter the city centre.

Longer operating hours:

  • Further information should be provided regarding the peak operating hours and how these change for rural & urban areas. This could be easily embedded into a route planning app that allows people to consider their future journeys.

Increased rural services:

  • The majority of bus routes should be designed as through services that do not terminate in the city; this would reduce city congestion as well as connecting rural communities directly without requiring a change in the city centre.

Simpler ticketing:

  • A proof of payment system should be considered rather than requiring all passengers to tap in on the bus. This system is implemented in Nottingham and would dramatically improve loading and unloading times. Double-door buses will be required to enable more efficient boarding and alighting.

3) Are there any additional improvements to bus services that would be needed for you to use bus services for more of your journeys? If so, what are they? Or if you are a non-bus user, what would encourage you to use the bus?

You may wish to use some of the following text in your answer as well as your own personal experiences:

Demand Responsive Transport: Further details must be provided on demand-responsive transport (DRT) and smaller shuttle buses. As well as rural communities DRT should cater for those with reduced abilities who are unable to access conventional public transport.

Shuttle buses: smaller shuttle buses will help people with reduced mobility move within the city. Addenbrookes already runs a successful shuttle service, this type of service should be expanded to other parts of the city such as the city centre, CB1 and Cambridge North.

Bike-friendly services and active travel integration: At a minimum there must be consistent and fair access for people to take folding bikes on all buses. Disabled cyclists should also be able to bring their cycle onboard if it serves as a mobility aid. Bike friendly buses are now used in Yorkshire, Hull and in the Scottish Borders and have been tremendously successful. Bike friendly services should be at least considered on long distance routes, with rules to limit the number of bikes allowed per service and if required, limiting bikes to off-peak services, much like many train services. Travel passes could also be designed to be used on buses and shared bikes/scooters.

Connections to transport hubs: There must be walking and cycling routes connecting to transport hubs and local bus stops, along with cycle parking wherever possible at bus stops.

Bus specification: A future bus specification should be drawn up: this could include provision for cycles, flexible space to allow people to travel with pushchairs, mobility aids, wheelchairs, suitcases and shopping and with two doors for reduced loading/unloading times. New buses should also meet the Bus Safety Standard which has been developed by TfL to improve bus safety.

Through-routing services: Through bus routes that avoid terminating in the city centre will greatly reduce congestion as well as providing direct services between many new and rural destinations. Where changes are required, this should not result in an additional ticket needing to be purchased.

Route planning: Access to high quality route planning will be vital. Collaboration with companies such as Citymapper would be hugely beneficial in helping people understand and plan their journeys, particularly when undertaking multimodal trips.

4) The bus improvements are proposed to start immediately after a decision in summer 2023 and ramp up over the following 4-5 years. What bus improvements would you want to see delivered first?

Camcycle suggests you select:

Fast, high frequency services – Research shows that higher frequency services are the most important feature for attracting passengers.

Increased rural services – The recent proposals to reduce bus routes to rural communities have angered many and shown how fragile the existing bus network is. Connecting these communities quickly will bring many back on side and encourage confidence in the bus service.

Cheaper Fares – An important step during a cost-of-living crisis which will prompt modal shift.

5) To what extent would you support or oppose the franchising of the local bus network by the Mayor and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority?

A franchised network would mean that the local transport authorities make decisions around the demands of users and bus operators are contracted to provide the services. The network could be planned holistically with simplified ticketing, rather than routes being decided on how profitable they might be.

Camcycle recommends that you answer STRONGLY SUPPORT

WALKING, CYCLING AND PUBLIC SPACE

GCP graphic: better walking and cycling routes6) To what extent do you support or oppose additional improvements to walking and cycling, accessibility and public spaces?

This question asks how much you support measures such as more cycling and walking connections, extensions to the Greenways, improved public spaces, improvements to accessibility, more secure cycle parking, car clubs and additional funding for maintenance of walking and cycling paths.

Camcycle believes all of the additional improvements are very important but recommends you complete this section with your own personal views.

7) If a Sustainable Travel Zone was introduced, are there any other improvements you would like to see funded?

You may wish to use some of the following text in your answer as well as your own personal experiences:

Ring-fenced funding: 20% of the charging revenue should be ring-fenced specifically for walking and cycling improvements.

Integration with the network hierarchy: It is vital that work on the road network hierarchy takes place at the same time as the STZ measures to create safe, attractive routes for people walking and cycling and free up road space for new bus services. The first modal filters should begin to be implemented in 2023, with the full network in place at the same time as the road charge. Traffic calmed streets and low-traffic neighbourhoods would rapidly deliver benefits for health, safety, air quality and liveability and having the hierarchy in place at the same time as the road charge would greatly reduce the complexity of monitoring the Sustainable Travel Zone. Additional road space could be quickly reclaimed when traffic levels began to fall.

Safer junctions: The majority of collisions and incidents occur at junctions and many of the existing junctions within Cambridge are unsafe. A priority list of junction improvements should be scoped, designed and implemented.

Quick wins for walking and cycling: A package of works should be brought forward prior to the STZ implementation that consists of walking and cycling quick wins. These will connect existing gaps in the network and remove existing barriers to walking and cycling.

Reprioritising signals: All of the existing traffic signal timings within the city should be reviewed as traffic is reduced to ensure that active travel is prioritized at junctions.

Bridge improvements: A number of bridge crossings should be improved to mitigate for increased numbers of walking and cycling journeys: Sheep’s Green Bridge, Magdalene Bridge, Jesus Lock Footbridge, Fort St George Bridge, Cutter Ferry Bridge, Green Dragon Bridge and Coldham’s Lane Bridge.

School Streets: The roll-out of school streets across the region is vital and the County Council must be bold in taking steps to keep children safe when they are travelling to school. This will help parents to avoid the need to drive their child to school and to pay the congestion charge.

Weekend congestion: Weekend traffic in Cambridge is still very heavy and may increase due to the implementation of the STZ. The removal of the charge over the weekend will likely only benefit a certain demographic such as those working typical office hours. If the charge is not extended over the weekend then a further reduction in public transport costs together with the full implementation of the network hierarchy could help to ensure people continue to choose more sustainable alternatives. For example, free or reduced fares on weekend travel.

Non-residential cycle parking: Cycle parking at travel hubs, train stations, bus stations and bus stops must be improved in quantity, quality, accessibility, and security.

Residential cycle parking: If more people are to cycle then the amount of secure cycle parking on our streets must be increased, especially for adapted bikes that support businesses, family life and accessibility. A residential cycle parking scheme should be implemented across the city.

Supporting behaviour change: Further support is required to encourage people to make sustainable travel choices: a package that considers travel planning, route planners, cycle training, cycle loans, cycle trade-ins, access to accessible cycles and education should be brought forward.

Last mile connections: There must be improvements to walking and cycling access to travel hubs, train stations, bus stations and bus stops.

Station improvements: An eastern access to Cambridge Station should be brought forward as more people continue to utilise rail travel.

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL ZONE (INCLUDING A ROAD CHARGE)

STZ proposed charges8) Do you have any comments on the proposal to introduce a Sustainable Travel Zone?

With this question, the GCP is asking about the zone as an area which will include a road charge.

Camcycle broadly welcomes the introduction of a Sustainable Travel Zone. Reducing the use of cars and reallocating space and priority to walking and cycling helps to solve urban and environmental issues and creates safe, healthy and attractive places for people to live, work and visit. The Sustainable Travel Zone proposals could transform the way people get round the city to create more sustainable travel and better conditions for people cycling and walking. The GCP, the county council and the Combined Authority must work together and be bold if the STZ is to be a success. There is no room here for half-hearted efforts.

You may wish to use the following text in your answer as well as your own personal thoughts:

A high quality, walking cycling and public transport network must be in place prior to the scheme being implemented. For example, schemes such as the Greenways and Chisholm Trail Phase 2 must be complete. Modal filters that create quiet streets and safe cycle routes must continue to be rolled out and a package of works to remove barriers in the existing walking and cycling network must be brought forward.

9) To what extent do you support or oppose the introduction of a Sustainable Travel Zone to fund improvements to bus services, walking and cycling?

Camcycle recommends that you answer STRONGLY SUPPORT

10) If you do not support the introduction of a Sustainable Travel Zone to fund improvements to bus services, walking and cycling, what alternative funding proposals would you propose to tackle the challenges faced by Greater Cambridge?

Camcycle suggests that you do not respond to question 10.

11) Do you have any feedback on the proposed Zone and its boundary?

Camcycle is broadly happy with the proposed Zone and its boundary as it works effectively with the existing Park & Rides.

Necklace villages just outside of the zone should be monitored to ensure that traffic volumes fall as predicted. Funding should be available to mitigate any impacting of drivers parking within these villages and utilising public transport.

We suggest you provide feedback that reflects your situation or opinion on the proposed zone boundary.

12) Do you have any comments on the proposed hours of operation of the Sustainable Travel Zone?

Camcycle believes the weekday charge is fair but believes either a weekend charge or alternative weekend strategy may be required.

You may wish to use some the following text in your answer as well as your own personal thoughts:

Weekend Congestion: Cambridge is still heavily congested at the weekend, and this could increase further because of the implementation of the STZ. The removal of the charge over the weekend will likely only benefit a certain demographic such as those working typical office working hours. To tackle congestion over the weekend a range of actions should be considered such as: free or heavily reduced fares on weekends or a resident’s exemption at the weekend.

STZ phasing13) To what extent would you support or oppose the principle of phasing in the Sustainable Travel Zone charge?

A staged introduction of the charge will likely result in displacement of the time of car journeys, disguising any reduction in congestion. It would impact the quality of the bus service during the years in which the reduced charge time is active. This could be detrimental to the successes of the STZ as it will coincide with the time of the greatest opportunity to change people’s behaviour, therefore the quality of the bus service will be vital.

Camcycle recommends that you answer OPPOSE

14) Do you have any comments on the suggested phasing approach?

A staged introduction of the charge will likely result in displacement of the time of car journeys, disguising any reduction in congestion. It would impact the quality of the bus service during the years in which the reduced charge time is active. This could be detrimental to the successes of the STZ as it will coincide with the time of the greatest opportunity to change people’s behaviour, therefore the quality of the bus service will be vital.

You may wish to use the following text in your answer as well as your own personal thoughts:

  • A phased approach will likely result in displacement of the time of car journeys, disguising any reduction in congestion.
  • A phased approach would impact the quality of the bus service during the years in which the reduced charge time is active. This could be detrimental to the successes of the STZ as it will coincide with the time of the greatest opportunity to change people’s behaviour, therefore the quality of the bus service will be vital.

15) Do you have any comments on the proposed charge levels?

You may wish to use the following text in your answer as well as your own personal thoughts:

Regular price review: The price should be regularly reviewed to adjust for inflation or to achieve the desired vehicular reduction.

Micromobility: it is likely that the government will announce legislation around things like e-scooters and other micromobility devices prior to the proposed implementation of the STZ. This may result in a new category that needs to be considered. Broadly speaking micro mobility with power assistance that is capped at 25 kilometers per hour should be excluded from the charge.

EXEMPTIONS, EQUALITIES AND SUPPORT FOR A FAIR TRANSITION

Exemption table16) Do you have any comments on the proposed discounts, exemptions, and reimbursements?

Camcycle believes the proposed discounts, exemptions and reimbursements (see consultation booklet for full details) are generally well considered and therefore has no specific comments.

We suggest that you share your own view on proposed discounts, exemptions and reimbursements.

17) Do you have any other comments on the proposed discounts, exemptions and reimbursements?

You may wish to use the following text in your answer as well as your own personal thoughts:

Short-term and medium-term exemptions could be assigned to those with temporary health or social care needs and who are assessed as currently unfit to travel on public transport.

18) Taking into account the improvements suggested above, are there any changes to the proposals or additional measures that would help enhance or address impacts on you / your business / your organisation and the way you travel?

You should complete this with your personal views on what would best support your day-to-day life.

You could include thoughts on specific missing links to active travel routes, better cycle parking facilities, shared cycle schemes and any other things that would help remove current barriers to your use of sustainable transport for all the journeys you undertake.

19) Please comment if you feel any of the proposals would either positively or negatively affect or impact on [people or groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010].

Camcycle believes the proposals would increase equity of access to transport. Improving alternatives to driving would increase choice for everyone, with a particular benefit for those who do not drive or have access to a car.

The predicted reduction in car traffic would provide more space for walking and cycling. This would improve the ability for people who use mobility scooters, wheelchairs, or other aids to move around. It would enable more children to move around independently using better pavements and cycleways. It would also allow significant improvements in the public realm, for example, providing space for benches to allow people with mobility issues to sit down and rest periodically along their journey. With less congestion, those with protected characteristics who need to use cars would have quicker, more reliable journeys. We support necessary exemptions from charging to improve equality of access to transport.

The proposals would increase equity. Improving alternatives to driving would rebalance the system in favour of those who cannot afford to drive or cannot drive, for whatever reason.

We suggest that you share your own views, using points from the above text where helpful.