Mayor’s Statement: Local Transport and Connectivity Plan
The below is a statement by Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP).
Read the report to the board and further LTCP documents (scroll down the page to agenda item 6)
This week a plan for a better transport future for everyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be published.
The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) sets out a vision and strategy for everything from improved public transport, to cycling and walking, roads, safety, cutting carbon and making the internet faster and available to more people.
Transport affects all of us – our quality of life and our life chances, our environment, our communities and our economy. On becoming Mayor, it was clear to me that our transport infrastructure needed to be much better. We needed a plan that was deliverable and that worked for everyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
On Wednesday, the LTCP will be published for the first time. It sets out what we want our transport future to look like, and the strategies and policies we will use to get there.
Since my election, the greater focus on climate change, new Government policies on transport and the impact on travel caused by Covid-19 meant it was right to update the previous Local Transport Plan which was approved in January 2020.
The LTCP has been developed with collaboration at its heart. We have worked extensively with our partners within local councils, and engaged with the public, with businesses, the education, health and charity sector, and more.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is a challenging area in which to plan transport. It is a mix of cities, market towns and very rural areas, so understanding needs across the area has been vital in creating a plan that will work for all our places.
This plan aims to tackle the decades-long underinvestment in our transport system which has meant our infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with growth. It prioritises improvements in public transport networks, reducing the reliance on motor cars, and encouraging changes which tackle the congestion and pollution impacting our quality of life and our communities daily. At the same time, our buses are infrequent and not always there when we want and need them. Current provision leaves too many communities isolated. Progress has been made on cycling and walking in many areas, but there are still far too many short journeys which are being taken by car.
All of these challenges and more are why I believe it is right to be bold and ambitious. Short term solutions are failing to address the longer term problems. The LTCP puts public health at its heart, where a better-connected region gives people more access to opportunity, boosts prosperity, cleans up our air, makes travel healthier and improves our wellbeing. It supports the country’s target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Going further, the LTCP has an ambitious aim to cut by 15% the amount of miles driven on our roads by 2030. It will do this primarily by making public transport and walking and cycling an attractive alternative – where it is faster, affordable, reliable, frequent and safe. The LTCP aims to make journeys seamless such as better linking of walking or cycling with public transport.
Transport projects and strategies being developed across the whole region, including by our constituent councils, will be guided by the vision and goals of the LTCP. This helps to ensure transport investment, wherever it comes from, is joined-up.
This also includes improvements being developed by Government like a new rail station at Cambridge South and the new East West Rail line.
The LTCP is not just about vision and strategy. It is about supporting the delivery of transport projects.
Any plan is only as good as its implementation. We will continue to work together with our councils, with bus and rail companies, the wider transport industry and delivery partners like Network Rail and National Highways to make sure the vision for our transport future is realised. And we also need to work very closely with our colleagues in Government, to unlock the funding we need to invest back into a region that is vital to the overall health of the UK economy.
And in implementing the LTCP, we are developing a series of ambitious transport projects. They include a dedicated bus strategy, delivering the kind of levels of service and coverage which will encourage people out of cars. That includes exploring the case for whether franchising can be introduced, giving more control over service levels.
We have just introduced a fleet of 30 electric buses to Cambridge and the LTCP reaffirms our ambition for a new depot in Peterborough to support the electrification of the fleet there. We have also been trialing demand-responsive, ‘Uber-style’ bus services, helping to reach more people and places.
E-bike and e-scooter trails in Cambridge and Peterborough continue to show strong demand. We’re funding improvements to rail stations in Fenland which are aimed at increasing their attractiveness to passengers. And were also campaigning hard to Government to give us the infrastructure funding our region needs, including tackling the rail bottleneck around Ely junction, which is holding back more rail services in our region.
Connectivity – now in the name of the plan – is about recognising how much the internet plays a part in transport, from home working making journeys to work redundant, to using apps on phones to book public transport and search the latest travel information. The LTCP is supporting giving greater internet and mobile connectivity across the whole region.
And the LTCP is alive to new technologies and innovations which can transform our travel. Notably, that includes the switch to electric and alternative-fuelled vehicles. The LTCP has a separate sub-strategy to encourage greater take up of electric vehicles including through more charging points.
The document will be put to the Combined Authority Board, which I chair, on May 31, where I hope it will be approved and then adopted as the transport plan for the region.