A VISION OF TRANSPORT IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Peter Dawe

I see my role as someone who wants to share my ideas with others. I seek to encourage and enable these people. The very people who have the energy and shared values and vision that I have. These are people who’ll ultimately make the world a better place.

Peter Dawe

Personal transportation is about reliability, safety, speed, comfort, convenience and economy. Today’s systems have failed. The default method is private car, which was comfortable, convenient, fast, but expensive. However, today, convenience is a function of parking availability, speed a function of congestion, and cost a function of parking charges. Public transport, in the face of the private car, has become unreliable, slow, inconvenient, and is no longer even cheap! I believe we can reboot the transport system into a new 21st century mode where we have:

  • A network of rapid inter-urban links between transit hubs, that are gateways to each of Cambridgeshire’s urban communities. Trains and luxury coaches shuttle people between our urban area, but stopping at gateways at the urban boundary, rather than continuing to the centre. The routes may have a limited number of intermediate stops to collect people from rural feeder services.
  • Once within the urban boundary, pollution-free autonomous electric vehicles take you across the town and city from door to door or to other rapid transit hubs.
  • Rural travellers dial up a to-your-door or near-to-door service, booking a seat on a luxury minibus transporting rural users directly to urban gateways or to Interchange Hubs on the inter-urban network.
  • Goods consolidated at goods’ hubs at urban gateways transfer to driverless electric pods delivering to the door at user-convenient times.

 

The Execution

 

Passenger transport

  • Consolidate inter-urban services to ensure optimum frequency on key routes. Reduce bus routes to rapid luxury coaches shuttling between the major urban areas with intermediate stops on the main route to pick up rural travellers, terminating rural and inter-urban services at urban gateways.
  • Consolidate inter-urban services to ensure optimum frequency on key routes. Reduce urban to ones servicing the gateways and the major route destinations (city centre, hospital, major employers…).

 

Rural

  • Use comms to provide real time door-to-door, or at least near-to-door, services. Rural users can book seats on near-on-demand community minibuses. These collect from the door, or end-of-road, at times synchronised by telematics (apps), delivering passengers to the inter-urban network.
  • Commuter self-drive minibuses collect and drop off passengers morning and evening to cope with high levels of demand at these key times; each minibus just doing the one two-way journey each day. Volunteer community car sharing is integrated into the system to add capacity and flexibility.

 

Urban

  • Shuttle minibuses aggregate passengers in residential areas and deliver them to the urban hubs.
  • Cycle parking and rental e-cycles at gateways and inter-urban hubs allow immediate onward journeys to urban destinations within a few miles of the gateway.
  • Velo cycles (covered electric tricycles), private and rental, are available at gateways and hubs for weather-proof local transport.
  • In the near future, autonomous velo cycles will be called to the door and disappear after use allowing for carefree urban travel without the hassle of parking.
  • For safety, all motor vehicles are restricted to 20mph, meaning that velo cycles are as fast as cars and buses.

 

Goods’ transport

  • With a high percentage of traffic now delivery vans, we implement a consolidation system where deliveries are directed to hubs and deliveries synchronised with the needs of the destination. Users are encouraged to specify use of hub delivery on their order to gain a saving on delivery costs and improved convenience.
  • Rural users should be encouraged to specify community goods’ drop-off centres, such as shops, schools, churches, etc., where they can be collected, or delivered by a local service provider.
  • Eventually, autonomous goods-pods will make timed deliveries and collections.

 

“Instant” mitigation

  • Nine-day fortnight working to reduce traffic by 10%.
  • Working 9 x 8-hour days, rather than 10 x 7.5-hour days, is attractive to all parties, and results in a 10% reduction in commuter traffic.
  • Staggered working days and two shift working (say 7-3 and 11-7). Spreading the working day can reduce the peak time congestion. Again, higher utilisation of resources for the employer means this can be attractive to all parties.
  • Seven-day office and workplace opening. Similarly, having offices routinely open at weekends can be attractive to all parties.
  • Rural community transport days, where rural communities are still too small and dispersed for other services. Selecting a “Transport day” like a market day, where users try to synchronise all appointments to a particular day so that public transport is viable for that day (e.g., make all appointments for Ramsey on a Wednesday to allow better services on that day).
  • Office e-cycles for local business journeys. Businesses should provide e-cycles to their staff for local trips to shops, local customers, etc., as well as allowing them to be used for commuting.

 

Cambridgeshire inter-urban routes

Typically <20min frequency luxury coaches and trains

  • Peterborough, Whittlesey, March, Ely, Cambridge, Royston, London (train )
  • Stamford, Peterborough, Huntingdon, St Neots, London (train)
  • Bury, Newmarket, Cambridge (train)
  • Market Deeping, A15/A47 Peterborough, Peterborough Station
  • A14 (Spittals for Huntingdon), A14 St Ives Junction, A14 Bar Hill and Northstowe, Milton Rd P&R
  • A428 St Neots, Cambourne, Madingley P&R
  • March, Chatteris, Sutton, Ely Station
  • March, Chatteris, Huntingdon Station
  • A14 Bury, Newmarket, Cambridge (Newmarket P&R)
  • Haverhill, Linton, Babraham, Cambridge (Babraham P&R)
  • King’s Lynn, Wisbech/Elm, Guyhirn, Thorney Bypass, A15/A47 Junction

 

Hubs

  • Peterborough Station, A47/A15, Nene/Fletton Parkway Junction
  • Wisbech Elm, March Bypass, Chatteris Bypass, Warboys Bypass
  • Huntingdon Station, Huntingdon Spittals, A14 St Ives, A14 Bar Hill
  • St Neots Station, Cambourne
  • Cambridge P&Rs, Cambridge Station
  • Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Cambridge, Royston (Stations)
  • A14 Newmarket, A11 Babraham, Linton, Haverhill

On-demand feeder routes to each hub according to demand

 

©Peter Dawe OBE Fen 2017

Would you like to help me to make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a better place for us all?

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