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Cambourne to Cambridge better bus journeys – next steps

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Plans to speed up and improve public transport trips for residents and commuters travelling from the west into Cambridge will move a step forward in July.

Local authorities have been exploring and consulting on options for a new high-quality bus-only route from Cambourne to Cambridge, along with safe and dedicated cycling and walking provision along its length.

The Cambourne to Cambridge scheme intends to manage traffic congestion and support growth in trips generated by anticipated large-scale housing development in communities on and along the A428, including at Cambourne, Bourn Airfield and St Neots.

The scheme, ear-marked for delivery within the next five years, will provide fast, frequent and reliable bus trips to and from the city, and a new Park & Ride facility.

Importantly, the route will be ‘future-proofed’, so that it provides the basic infrastructure for any longer-term transport solution and emerging technology.

The Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the Greater Cambridge City Deal are working on plans to jointly commission a study on the best long-term solution for high-quality passenger transport in Cambridge and throughout the wider region - this will benchmark light rail, advanced very rapid transit and other above-ground options and also consider the use of tunnelling for the ‘final mile’, or thereabouts, into the centre of Cambridge

The City Deal’s Interim Director of Transport Chris Tunstall said: “The A428 is an important transport route to and from Cambridge, feeding, as it does, many towns and villages in South Cambridgeshire, St Neots and well beyond and provides people in these communities with connections to work, services, study and opportunities in the city.

“To accommodate existing and new growth, it’s vital we can offer reliable, affordable and attractive mass transit solutions so commuters have a viable alternative to the car. Development of this scheme will continue to be made in consultation with our key partners, and this includes the new Mayor and Combined Authority, and with local residents and communities.”

Anticipated timetable

In October 2016, the Executive Board of the City Deal selected a preferred off-road route catchment area to the south of the A428 (known as Option 3a), with on-going comparative work with an on-road solution (Option 1 and the LLF proposed on road Option 6). A preferred Park & Ride site (known as Site 4, which included part of Crome Lea Farm and the field at the top of Madingley Hill) was also selected but, since then, on-going assessments have raised issues which led to this search to be expanded to include alternatives.

In July 2017, public meetings of the Joint Assembly and Executive Board of the City Deal will consider:

  • Further information on an alternative on-road route proposed by members of the local community via the Local Liaison Forum, known as option 6. It is envisaged the Board will be asked to formally agree to a like-for-like assessment of all or part of an alternative route.
  • A report on eight potential Park & Ride sites, with a view to agreeing two or three of those sites to for further research and investigation.

In September 2017, subject to agreements at the July meeting, the Joint Assembly and Executive Board will consider:

  • The results of the detailed comparative study of the route options that were agreed to be taken forward from July, and a recommendation of which route option or options should be taken forward to public consultation.   Any on-road route option (i.e. Option 1 or 6 or a hybrid/variant thereof) taken forward would most likely be a specific route alignment; any off-road route option (i.e. Option 3a) taken forward would be either the existing catchment area, or a narrower one, or a specific route alignment, depending on the results of the assessment work performed between the July and September meetings. 
  •  The results of the detailed comparative study of the small number of Park & Ride sites that were agreed to be taken forward from July, and a recommendation of a single preferred site to be taken forward to public consultation.

If options are chosen for public consultation, the consultation is likely to take place for at least six weeks from November or December 2017.

Once evaluated, reports recommending next steps will be brought back to public meetings in Spring 2018.