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Phase 1 route

The Cambourne to Cambridge public transport route is a first phase of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s plans for a wider, regional metro network – the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

The route is made up of three key elements:

  • A public transport route between Cambourne and Cambridge, providing reliable and sustainable services bypassing general traffic congestion.
  • A new Park & Ride site off the A428/A1303.
  • New cycling and walking facilities.

The route is divided into two sections serving the new Park & Ride site:

Phase 1 - from the Madingley Mulch roundabout to Cambridge - a key area of congestion.

Phase 2 – linking the route west of Madingley Mulch roundabout, via a new Park & Ride site.

From the proposed housing development at Bourn Airfield, the route continues into Cambourne using existing roads.

A map showing the broad limits of the different phases of the Cambourne to Cambridge route; phase 1 from madingley Mulch roundabout to Cambridge city centre, phase 2 from Cambourne to Madingley Mulch roundabout

Phase 1 route assessment

Three options proposed for Phase 1, Madingley Mulch roundabout to central Cambridge, were developed further in response to public consultation. As a result, an optimised, on-road option including both inbound and outbound public transport priority, and an off-road option were assessed to compare benefits and impacts. More detailed information is available in the report and appendices to the Executive Board.

The route selection is driven by a wide assessment of societal, economic and environmental benefits, in addition to transport, considering input from stakeholders through research, consultation and feedback.

Full 2017 consultation results were published on our website in spring 2018. Results showed that 40% of respondents preferred a tidal, on-road public transport lane (B), 33% of respondents preferred the off-road route (C) and 18% preferred the on-road, inbound only route (A). Although not the top-scoring option from 2017 consultation, the off-road route is assessed as top-performing in support of future growth - a primary objective. More analysis and assessment information is available in the report and appendices to the Executive Board.

In October 2018, after a six-month pause to work, an independent report commissioned by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority confirmed the off-road Phase 1 route as aligned with future plans for a wider, regional metro network – the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) – operating vehicles that can run both over and underground. More information is available in the report and appendices to the Executive Board.

A diagram showing the Phase I route assessment as described in the adjacent paragraph

Phase 1 route alignment

The GCP proposed alignment runs between the A428/A1303 Madingley Mulch roundabout and Grange Road, bringing public transport, on a dedicated track, to the closest possible point within central Cambridge. Public transport services then continue to the city centre and to key employment sites - Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Cambridge Science Park.

The GCP’s Executive Board received proposals for Phase 1 of this route in December 2018, setting out that there were two options for the section of C2C connecting West Cambridge to Grange Road.

The first option was via Adams Road while the second – and preferred - option set out the route should cross Grange Field and proceed down the Rifle Range track, past the Rugby Ground.

A map showing the recommended route alignment for phase 1 of the project as recommended in December 2018, running off-road, south of the A1303, to the north of Coton

Cambourne to Cambridge Phase 1 recommended route December 2018

The Rifle Range preference was noted by the Executive Board and the project team were instructed to undertake further assessment on the two detailed alignments, including impact on the green belt. 

Whilst on the basis of analysis undertaken prior to the Executive Board meeting, the Rifle Range Track had been the highest performing option, further concerns were raised regarding the potential impact on the green belt, reflected in research undertaken by LDA Design Consulting: see A428 Cambourne to Cambridge Segregated Bus Route: Consideration of Green Belt Issues Report, Appendix 1LC J to the End of Stage Report on the project background webpage

In 2019, the GCP commissioned a second LDA assessment of the options reflecting more detailed alignments. The report was completed and published in September 2019 and is available online 

This new research concluded that despite amendments to the alignment through Grange Field to minimise its impact, the Rifle Range option would lead to greater harm to the green belt than the Adams Road option. Engagement with landowners also revealed access issues which would cause disruption to the route. As a result, engagement is underway with residents and landowners to revisit potential use of Adams Road.

A map showing the recommended route alignment for phase 1 of the project as recommended in December 2018, running off-road, south of the A1303, to the north of Coton

Cambourne to Cambridge Phase 1 recommended route September 2019 - potential Adams Rd alignment under discussion

Given that Adams Road is a Conservation Area, indicative plans propose minimal intervention, other than the removal of on-street parking. A segregated route for cycling and non-motorised travel is proposed to continue via the Rifle Range Track, with an alignment following West Fields boundaries to minimise intrusion. Recognising Adam’s Road as an established, informal cycling route, there would be no restriction for cyclists continuing to access the city centre via Adams Road. However, the elimination of on-street parking would create more space and reduce car traffic. Around 20 bus movements per hour means that traffic flow would be low.

Get in touch

Our project team continues to welcome views and contributions from stakeholders throughout development of plans for the route. (contactus@greatercambridge.org.uk)

A single end-to-end route option will be presented as part of an Outline Business Case for GCP Executive Board decision, in December 2019.