New move to transform transport
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has announced the next steps for its plan to transform the region’s transport network to meet the needs of the growing population.
With 1.1 million residents, the West of England’s population is growing at a faster rate than other regions and this is putting a strain on the transport network.
WECA has invested £1.5m to identify options for mass transit, a high capacity transport network that could be made up of several different types of transport. Over the next few months route options will be developed across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire that have the potential to connect the highest volumes of people, city and town centres and employment hubs. Routes will connect with existing and planned bus and rail services bringing benefits to people across the region.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the way people travel around our region, so that people can live, get to jobs and education right across the West of England and not have to rely on cars. That will cut congestion, improve air quality and cut our carbon emissions so that as we recover from the pandemic, we build back better.
“Over the next few months we will be talking to communities and businesses to make sure that our plans meet the needs of the people who live and work here in the West of England. Mass transit is part of our ambitious plans to get our region moving and deliver a better connected and greener future.”
A variety of options are being assessed to understand which technologies might work best. Meanwhile engagement will begin with communities and businesses to make sure that a mass transit system meets current and future needs.
The mass transit programme is being led by the West of England Combined Authority in partnership with Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This exciting project will transform the transport network in the region and contribute to our plans to build back an inclusive and sustainable economy. Despite the pandemic and the changes to the way people travel, we must look ahead to tackling the challenges of air pollution, traffic congestion and climate change while planning for population growth in the city region.
“We are ambitious about delivering a world-class public transport network which will better connect people to employment opportunities as well as shopping and leisure facilities. An investment of this scale in our future will help us rebuild from the coronavirus crisis by generating jobs, developing local supply chains and a low carbon transport system.”
This is the early stage of the project to understand what mass transit might look like, how much it would cost and consider what is the most appropriate mass transit technology for the region. Following this early work, a public consultation will be held in summer 2021.
For more information on the mass transit project visit: https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/mass-transit-project/