The Long Term Transport Strategy and the Transport Innovation Fund

This is a a fact sheet which has been sent to attendees of the Chambers of Commerce discussion event on 17th September, which a member of the public who is attending the event has forwarded to us.

Note prepared by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Background

Between 1999 and 2016 at least 57,400 new households are planned for the county, approximately 33,000 of these homes are still to be built, mainly in the Cambridge area. More homes will be needed after 2016. This makes Cambridgeshire the fastest growing area in the country.

The scale of growth in the area is unprecedented as is the challenge with currently limited resources, to provide the required infrastructure.

The planned growth will have a range of benefits, particularly for the economy. However, there will be significant transport implications. For example, in the Cambridge Sub-Region there will be an additional 33,500 car trips per day – there are currently 273,000 car trips per day). In addition to this, there will be, on average:

  • a 23% increase in travel time;
  • a 16% increase in distance travelled.

Particularly, there will be problems on key routes such as the A10, A428 and A505.

In the Cambridge area, on average there will be:

  • a 46% increase in total travel time and significantly more on many roads;
  • an 11% reduction in average speeds;
  • an 84% increase in delay at junctions.

The British Chamber of Commerce estimates that congestion currently costs the UK economy approximately £17 billion per annum. In addition, 1.2 billion hours are lost to congestion every year. These figures are likely to increase in the future if we do not take action.

More of the same is not enough. More investment in attractive alternatives is required and people need to be encouraged to use them. However, the only way to secure funding is via the Transport Innovation Fund – this requires congestion charging.

The outline proposal – summary of the measures

Improving choice

  • £500m of transport improvements – subject to consultation
  • Segregated public transport routes on key radials – increased reliability
  • Expanded Park & Ride sites
  • Significant improvements to bus services and frequencies
  • High-quality, environmentally friendly buses
  • Additional rail services
  • Comprehensive, improved quality cycle network

Congestion charging proposal

  • One off charge
  • For anyone driving into, out of, or within Cambridge
  • Time period – 7.30-9.30am (weekdays)
  • Proposed charge in range of £3-5 per day
  • Park & Ride sites outside the zone

Transport Innovation Fund (TIF)

The TIF is a government programme set up to provide money to local authorities to develop bold projects tackling congestion. Some £200 million will be available nationally per annum starting in 2008/09. This funding will increase in subsequent years up to 2014/15.

Timescales

Transport Innovation Fund monies are available from April 2008. To access this funding the council will need to make an initial decision to submit a business case (outline proposal) in October 2007. Following this, there will be extensive stakeholder and public consultation.

A decision to proceed with the package is very much dependent on the government response to the outline proposal as well as the outcomes of public and stakeholder consultation. This could be in 2008/09.

Following this, implementation of the proposed transport improvements could commence from 2008 onwards. Congestion charging would be a further three years away (at least).

Consultation

It is important to note that a decision to introduce congestion charging has not yet been made. In addition, submitting a business case to government does not commit the Council to introducing it.

Extensive stakeholder and public consultation is planned between late October 2007 and February 2008. This will provide the opportunity for discussion of the whole package of measures, including the detail of the congestion charging scheme. A wide range of groups will be consulted including, the public, businesses, voluntary groups, district and parish councils, etc.

The consultation process is expected to lead to changes to the details of the package of measures.

Brian Smith
Deputy Chief Executive for Environment and Community Services