Greater Cambridge Sustainable Travel
As the delivery body for the Greater Cambridge City Deal, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is delivering a comprehensive programme of sustainable transport initiatives, working with local authority partners to create a world-class transport network that can meet the needs of the area now and into the future.
Greater Cambridge transport challenge
Greater Cambridge is thriving. The area is host to some of the most productive and innovative parts of the UK economy. Reflecting this productivity, the population is expected to grow 28% by 2031 with 33,500 new homes, 44,000 additional jobs.
This success brings prosperity and growth for the local and national economy, but also places pressure on the transport network. Forecast growth is expected to create 26,000 more daily car journeys over the next decade (Up to 2031).
Congestion is already a major and growing problem, threatening mobility, health and well-being and detracting from the appeal of Cambridge, for residents, employees, businesses and visitors alike. Cambridge is currently the 16th most congested city in the country. During 2019, people spent an average of 71 hrs driving time in congestion.
Over the last ten years, traffic levels have increased by 10% and Cambridge’s peak AM and PM periods, when the city experiences highest traffic volumes and worst congestion, have lengthened by up to 2.5 hours.
Greater Cambridge attracts people to work from a wide area, but many people have no good alternative to their car and are held back from accessing opportunities by a lack of viable public transport or walking and cycling connections.
Poor air quality is a concern in some areas and contributes to 106 deaths annually across Greater Cambridge. High levels of car use mean carbon emissions per capita in Cambridgeshire are 150% of the national average.
To reduce congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions and create a more sustainable network for the future, we need significantly more people travelling by public transport, cycling and walking and significantly fewer people travelling by car. The Greater Cambridge Partnership has a plan to make that happen by giving people better choices to travel sustainably.
City Deal funding for transport
In May 2020, a Government ‘Gateway review’ hailed ‘significant success and progress’ the Partnership has made since 2015 on ambitious plans ranging from city cycleways to better public transport routes to transform travel for thousands of people.
The successful release of a further £200m brings City Deal funding totalling up to £300m to continue delivery of GCP’s sustainable travel programme to tackle building transport pressures and transform the way we travel.
The GCP’s programme aims to deliver a public transport and infrastructure network for the future, supporting sustainable and inclusive growth by creating new and improved infrastructure for better, greener journeys.
This commitment is brought into sharper focus by the impacts of Covid-19 and plans reflect the GCP’s shared commitment to support communities and businesses. As communities continue to recover and grow in line with the area’s Local Plan, sustainable transport options remain vital to access work, study and other opportunities the city has to offer – whether using public transport, cycling or walking.
The City Deal offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund improvements with real impact over the next decade and beyond. The GCP’s programme will support the area to emerge stronger from the crisis and helps deliver a green recovery.
Vision for a future network
The GCP’s Future Network Map 2030 presents a vision for substantially enhanced infrastructure over the next decade, forming a cohesive network throughout the Greater Cambridge area and further afield. This enhanced infrastructure facilitates a Future Bus Network, the GCP’s vision for a transformed public transport network, giving more people the choice of attractive sustainable transport journeys by better serving employment and existing, new and growing residential areas.
The GCP’s Future Network Map 2030 presents the GCP’s sustainable travel programme as part of a vision for substantially enhanced infrastructure over the next decade, forming a cohesive network throughout the Greater Cambridge area and further afield.
The GCP’s four corridor schemes connect new and growing communities outside the city with key employment hubs.
Enhanced infrastructure will make it possible to run enhanced public transport services, prioritising public transport and better serving employment and new and growing residential areas. The GCP’s Future Bus Network presents a vision for a transformed future public transport network.
New and improved infrastructure
A word-class transport system requires accessible infrastructure to improve connectivity and integration, facilitate growth and actively contribute to reducing congestion.
What we’re delivering
- The GCP’s four corridor schemes – Cambourne to Cambridge, Waterbeach to Cambridge, Cambridge Eastern and Cambridge South East are offering better public transport and active travel routes along four corridors identified as essential to link growing communities to the north, south east, east and west. The schemes form an integral part of the GCP’s vision for a Future Bus Strategy.
- The GCP is creating safe and easy routes for more active travel journeys to encourage more people to join Greater Cambridge’s already UK-leading number of cyclists, along with those walking and horse-riding. A network of 12 Greenways will create connections for those travelling into the city, and inner city Cross City Cycling, Chisholm Trail and Madingley Road schemes are all underway to better link up key sites.
- Further improvement schemes at Milton and Histon Road are creating better connections for faster and more reliable public transport journeys and better walking and cycling links.
- The GCP is enhancing Travel Hub capacity on routes into the city, linking up bus, walking and cycling networks and providing over 10,000 additional park and ride spaces so people can easily switch to sustainable transport. New facilities will be equipped with charging points for electric vehicles and future-proofed to evolve over time as technology changes the way we travel.
Park and ride provision at the existing Trumpington site has been extended and new Travel Hub facilities are being created at Cambridge South West to the west of Junction 11 of the M11 and close to Foxton Train Station at Foxton.
 Active travel is any means of travelling that requires physical activity, such as cycling or walking.
Better, greener journeys
Public transport journeys need to be competitive, sustainable and reliable and active travel alternatives need to be safe and easy to encourage people to move away from cars.
What we’re delivering
- The GCP’s City Access project is promoting measures to improve access by sustainable transport to the city centre and key employment sites and encourage commuters away from cars, as well as supporting air quality improvements and creating a more people-focused city centre environment. Projects already underway and in planning include trials to improve walking, cycling and bus journeys by restricting traffic through trips, and a scheme to better manage goods vehicle deliveries.
Supported by recommendations of the Greater Cambridge Citizen’s Assembly (link for more), the project is considering measures to actively reduce city centre congestion and fund a transformed future public transport network. The GCP are looking at how different packages of measures could improve sustainable transport options alongside different ways of reducing car trips.
Reducing traffic and increasing road space will allow space for improved public transport services travelling through the city centre and to key employment hubs. The GCP’s Future Bus Network demonstrates a vision for a competitive, reliable future network.
In the meantime, we’re moving ahead to get transport and infrastructure improvements in place, so that people have good alternatives to using cars.
- We’re working with operators to more quickly adopt modern, greener public transport vehicles to improve air quality.
- We’re supporting cycle hire, e-bike and cargo bike schemes.
- We’re creating interchanges between existing stations and stops and new transport routes to achieve more seamless integration for passengers moving between modes of transport, like bus and train, with better access to cycling and walking routes for onward journeys.
- And, we’re investing in new digital technology to better manage traffic flow and present timetable, ticketing and information.
Public engagement through a range of activities including the Big Conversation (2017) and Choices for Better Journeys (2019) engagement exercises, Greater Cambridge Citizen’s Assembly (2019) and multiple, project-specific consultations continues to shape GCP’s programme and plans. To find out more and have your say, visit our Get Involved section.
Benefits for Greater Cambridge
The GCP’s Sustainable Travel Programme supports a series of benefits:
Supporting sustainable growth
A transport system dominated by cars feeds worsening congestion and pollution locally, contributes to the global climate crisis and is not sustainable. All of GCP’s transport projects aim to reduce congestion and serve key areas of growth. The GCP aims to reduce city traffic flows by 10 to 15 per cent.
Contributing to better air quality and tackling climate change
All projects actively support local partners’ net zero carbon ambitions as well as the Government’s commitment to bring the UK’s harmful emissions to net zero by 2050. The GCP is supporting bus operators to trial zero emission vehicles so that the new public transport network can operate with cleaner vehicles.
Creating inclusive growth
City Deal investment is helping to better share prosperity across our area by widening access to affordable, reliable public transport going to key places of work, for existing and growing communities outside the city.
Promoting a healthier Greater Cambridge
All of the GCP’s projects actively contribute to a reduction in congestion and air pollution to improve health and wellbeing, and encourage active travel alternatives to car use, such as cycling and walking, to support people in being more active day-to-day. As we recover from Covid-19, the changes will help create more resilient communities for the future.
Making better journeys
We’re working to introduce modern, greener vehicles and better technology to achieve more seamless integration for passengers moving between modes of transport, like bus and train, with better access to cycling and walking routes for onward journeys.
 compared with 2011 levels. GCP traffic reduction targets of 10 to 15% on a 2011 base equate to something closer to a 25 to 30% reduction by 2025.