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Metro advisers urge ‘One CAM’ over ‘slice-and-dice’ jigsaw

9 June 2020

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In a key step towards bringing the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro - CAM – to life, the CAM Partnership Board has heard how unifying the projects in one streamlined plan would move all strands forward at the same time.

In an important recommendation, the Partnership Board members were informed of the One CAM’ proposal and considered the future setting up of a company to manage the entire project. It was proposed that the company would provide the resources and expertise required to deliver an innovative and world-leading programme like CAM.

To date, the CAM programme has been siloed in fragmented sections, dramatically increasing the amount of work needed to build out the entire network. The ‘One CAM’ approach recommended yesterday to the CAM Partnership Board paves the way for sleeker coordination of projects within the overall CAM programme.

Bringing all sectional projects under this ‘One CAM’ strategy will allow better planning and design around elements like route selection, depot locations and vehicle charging. It will also help make the best use of investments and available land across the scheme, as well as bringing in the work of the CAM Technical Advisory Committee, which sets out the vision for the future of public transportation and making sure CAM embraces it.

This approach will also dovetail all the elements and projects within one Outline Business Case - OBC - which will look at the project in full and in the round. It will:

  • Better capture the costs and benefits of the full network
  • Better Identify the funding and financing options for the full scheme
  • Have the strategic overview to design and build the full network efficiently

James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough:

“Today’s discussion was very positive. People were impressed with the ‘One CAM’ report, welcoming its sound principles and seeing how an expert body managing single-network delivery would make sense. The view that the present system is unnecessarily ‘slicing and dicing’ the scheme, with nine separate OBCs for the nine proposed projects’ hit home with all of us.

“The ‘One CAM’  approach is about the big picture, grasping that CAM is a vision for the future of our whole region, a new green network to move people from houses they can afford to jobs they want to have. We have some more work to do to fill out these plans, but there’s a huge benefit in moving the whole scheme forward in a smooth, strategic, unified way.”

“Parochial and piecemeal projects have no place in building a joined-up future for us all. In a world where work, travel and leisure are changing beyond recognition, make-do-and-mend is not an option, any more than nimbyism or trying to push out-of-date solutions for 21st century challenges. The work of the Technical Advisory Committee shows what that future can be, and that the work we do now is not about our current transport needs, but those of the next 20 to 30 years.”

The ‘One CAM’ approach cautiously welcomed today by the CAM partners will go to the Board of the Mayoral Combined Authority for consideration in due course.

If approved, the company would start work on a Delivery Strategy for the entire network, which will include producing a unified Outline Business Case, an evaluation of existing work including Greater Cambridge Partnership projects, construction timelines, and costings for CAM as a single network.  Additionally, a procurement strategy will be developed to determine next steps in moving forward this programme-wide OBC.

The current fragmented approach is partly because the inner corridors, originally seen as local bus routes, are being developed, appraised, and delivered as discrete projects by the GCP via a City Deal funding agreement, and are being grafted on to the region-wide vision of the whole CAM network.

The CAM programme as envisioned by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer will connect the region to planned and built housing, employment centres, and provide a platform for growth to safeguard the region’s economic future and global attraction.

James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough:

“CAM is intended to create an environmentally sustainable infrastructure for building economic growth, plus access to jobs and affordable housing.  It will be the spine that enables growth and levelling up across the region. We cannot allow the regional economy to stall and that is always a risk.  It’s about building tomorrow, today.

CAM will realise local, national and international benefits and that’s vital now, given the predicted socio-economic fallout of Covid-19 pandemic.”