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Cambourne to Cambridge better bus journeys scheme - update

Published: Friday, July 28, 2017

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has agreed to a full assessment of the LLF’s Option 6 proposal “to the same standard” as Options 1 and 3/3a.

The work will be undertaken over the coming months, with a full report on potential alignments or routes as well as full assessments of four potential Park & Rides sites in September.

The proposals, which also includes new cycling and walking facilities, aim to speed up and improve public transport trips for residents and commuters travelling from the west into Cambridge.

At its meeting on Wednesday (26th July), the Partnership’s Executive Board agreed to move forward with detailed evaluation of three potential ‘catchment areas’ for the new route – an off-road route to the south of the A428 (known as Option 3/3a), an on-route road (Option 1) and an alternative on-road route (Option 6) proposed by members of the local community.

The scheme intends to manage traffic congestion and support a 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 first phase of 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.

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

At its meeting, the Executive Board agreed with officer recommendations to:


  • Carry out like-for-like, detailed assessments of three routes: Off-road (Option 3/3a), on-road (Option 1) and on-road, recommended by the Local Liaison Forum (Option 6);


  • Carry out further technical assessments on a short-list of four potential Park & Ride sites at Bourn Airfield, Scotland Farm, Madingley Mulch South West (Water Works) and Madingley Mulch South East (Crome Lea Farm).


At its own meeting the week before, the Joint Assembly had recommended that the Board should move ahead with the route assessments set out above, and had also recommended moving ahead with assessments of three of the four P&R sites listed above; the Assembly had suggested that the fourth site (at Crome Lea Farm) should be discarded at this stage. However, the Board accepted officer advice that the right procedural time to consider such a decision would be in September, after the results of the full technical assessments were known.

Explaining its decision, which otherwise followed Assembly advice, the Board noted that: “While the Mass Transit Options Appraisal takes place, work must continue in parallel to develop existing proposals for connecting people between homes and jobs in Greater Cambridge (whilst ensuring they are future-proofed so that they can be adapted for new solutions as they emerge)”.

Earlier in its meeting, the Board agreed to fund jointly with the Combined Authority a Strategic Options Assessment of future rapid mass transit solutions in Cambridge to include light rail, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Advanced Very Rapid Transit (AVRT) and monorail, plus any other modes as advised, including benchmarking against similar sized cities in the UK and abroad.  This had also been recommended by the Joint Assembly and was also agreed by the Combined Authority in its meeting of the same day.

Commenting after the meeting, Vice Chair Cllr Lewis Herbert said: “Of course all of our existing transport schemes must be future-proofed and, in this case, as well as everything we have discussed outside the city boundary - and subject to the outcome of the Strategic Options Appraisal report – we should not rule out the potential for a tunnel just west from Grange Road enabling buses or other future options to gain far faster and totally reliable access from there to the centre, the railway station and on to Cambridge Cambridge North and Cambridge South.


 The next report is due at meetings in September 2017 and will consider:


  • The results of the detailed comparative study of the route options, 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 or short-list of preferred sites 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.

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

The decision paper and minutes from the Executive Board meeting will be published in the coming days.

For further details please see the Cambourne to Cambridge transport scheme