The mass transit project is an ambitious, fast new transport system that will revolutionise the way we move people around the West of England, dramatically improving congestion and air quality while reducing our carbon emissions.
The project is being led by the West of England Combined Authority working with its constituent councils, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils, as well as neighbouring North Somerset Council.
Mass transit: What is it and why do we need it?
Mass transit will dramatically improve transport for residents across our region and could lead to significant numbers of people moving away from cars, leading to lower carbon emissions and improved air quality. Mass transit is a high-capacity public transport network that provides fast, frequent and reliable services, often segregated from other traffic. It could include over or underground routes, potentially made up of several different types of transport, with links to existing rail and bus services.
With 1.1 million residents, the West of England’s population is growing at a faster rate than other regions and the number of homes and jobs in the region are planned to increase. Better transport will support the delivery of new homes as well as improving access to jobs and linking new homes and communities with employment areas. We need to plan for a transport network that works for everyone, every day and for every journey.
Mass transit is an important part of the West of England Combined Authority’s transport plans for the region, alongside significant investment in the rail, cycling, walking and bus routes outlined in the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan.
A well-connected sustainable public transport network that offers more travel choices and makes public transport the preferred way to travel will reduce the level of carbon emissions. Mass Transit will, provide significant economic benefits and employment opportunities, enabling everyone to access what they need without relying on cars where possible.
What this means for you
The mass transit project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionise the way we travel around the region.
Mass transit will:
Ensure we support the development of a green network, social wellbeing and regional prosperity
Offer freedom and flexibility on transport options to encourage greater rail and bus use
Make public transport the preferred way to travel, reducing the region’s carbon emissions.
Encourage more active travel and green infrastructure to protect the environment and improve health and wellbeing
Reduce inequality with an inclusive, affordable and safe network
Put work, housing and education opportunities within reach of everyone in the region
This isn’t something that we can deliver overnight, so it’s essential that we do the groundwork to understand what this might look like and how much it would cost. We are currently working collaboratively with our local authority partners to gather an evidence-base for all the current and existing plans for the area, as well as any constraints and opportunities. We will use the information we gather through this exercise to develop options for delivering the project. This is the early stage of the scheme development process and is needed to develop understanding of the options to access funding.
We will now be taking a closer look at how mass transit can best connect the four areas within the West of England, and what routes and technologies may work best for our region. A formal consultation is planned for late 2021.
In February and March 2021 we held webinars and focus groups with community groups, businesses, transport organisations and environmental stakeholders. We shared our progress so far and next steps and informally gathered views on our priorities for mass transit and potential barriers to its use. The feedback will provide evidence for the submission of our Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) as we begin to develop options and ensure our plans meet the needs of local people.
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