To build a more inclusive and connected city, Bristol must tackle the challenges surrounding travel. With high levels of traffic congestion and harmful air pollution levels, there’s a sense of urgency to tackle these issues to improve public health.
Establishing an improved transport system which is accessible to everyone in Bristol is equally critical.
Over the next 10 years Bristol City Council and WECA are proposing to introduce significant improvements to key transport routes across the city.
This is an ambitious project to improve how people travel across the city along key transport routes, making it easier to connect people to jobs and leisure opportunities, anticipating a growing population and supporting the city’s health and economic growth.
The aim is to make it easier and more convenient to use the bus, walk and cycle wherever possible, rather than use private cars. This project aims to make walking and cycling more attractive and to give priority to buses through infrastructure improvements. This would reduce air pollution to improve the health of everyone.
Over the last few years cycling and walking levels have remained high compared to other major cities and Bristol had seen growth in bus use. The current Coronavirus pandemic has presented extra challenges – bus travel has, by necessity, substantially reduced during the lockdown. At the same time cycling has seen a significant increase.
Without significant investment in walking, cycling and bus infrastructure it will be difficult to encourage people to drive less and only use cars when essential, particularly as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Investment is needed to tackle high levels of traffic congestion and reduce levels of air pollution.
The scheme will support other transport initiatives such as LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans) which will focus on improving walking and cycling routes in the city, the Parking Strategy which will review parking in the city. The WECA Bus Strategy that sets out improvements to bus travel across the region, the Bristol Transport Strategy and future proposals for a Bristol Bus Deal and mass transit.
Improvements for bus travel
Buses provide essential access to education, jobs and other facilities and they play an important role in connecting people and communities. Over the next 10 to 15 years Bristol and the West of England authorities have committed to developing and improving bus services as a priority for the city in partnership with First West of England.
At the current time West of England authorities are working with bus operators on a recovery plan once travel restrictions and social distancing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, are relaxed. This project looks at the longer term aspirations to grow bus travel – First West of England have committed to a future Bus Deal with the West of England Combined Authority and Bristol City Council so that the city and bus operators can work together to improve journey times, increase passenger numbers and expand the network.
What is proposed?
The scheme will look to help buses get through junctions quicker and provide more space for cyclists to give them protection. Priority will be given to main roads to help keep buses moving and side roads will benefit from less turning movements and rat running to improve the neighbourhood environment.
We will be working on one route at a time with the first being the A37/A4018 which follows the number 2 bus route – early engagement with local people and those who travel along the route is due to begin in late July 2020.
Below you can find links to individual projects that have already been started.
What are the routes?
The Transport Routes which will see improvements are shown on the map. They have been prioritised as follows:
- 1st priority is the red route – A37 to A4018 route which follows the no. 2 bus route
- 2nd Priority is the orange route – Hengrove/Hartcliffe on the A38 to Cribbs Causeway which follows the no.75/76 bus route
- 3rd Priority is the yellow route – A4 route
- 4th Priority is the green route –A432 to Emersons Green / Lyde Green which follows the no. 48/49 bus route
- 5th Priority is the light blue route – Southmead through Eastville to Ashton Vale which follows the no 24 bus route and Hengrove through Filwood Park to the Centre which follows the no 90 bus route
- 6th Priority is the dark blue route – M32 route
- 7th Priority is the purple route – A370 route
- 8th Priority is the pink route – A420 and A4 routes
How will this project be funded?
WECA (West of England Combined Authority) have allocated £15m until 2023 with a further £15m, allocated from 2023 until 2027. The WECA March 2020 committee approved the £1.5m to commence feasibility, engagement and design for the first phase of schemes.
Frequently asked questions
The scheme looks at key transport corridors across the city – the key roads that people travel along to commute to work and school and to get to shops and leisure activities.
Lots of people travel on these routes and they get very congested in certain places, causing hold-ups and increasing air pollution. The aim is to make improvements for bus journeys, walking and cycling so that people will use alternative travel to their cars, which will decrease journey times on public transport, make is easier and more pleasant to cycle and walk, and reduce air pollution to improve the health of everyone.
The WECA Bus Strategy highlights the importance of significant additional bus priority measures and other measures to reallocate road space to improve bus service reliability and journey times. This project will help deliver this strategy.
The Bristol Transport Strategy (adopted in 2019) maps out a vision for a well-connected city with more efficient travel and increased transport options that are inclusive to all. This document paves the way for a major transformation of the Bristol transport network by enabling more reliable journeys, reducing congestion, making better use of our streets, improving road safety, and ultimately supporting sustainable growth through cleaner and greener modes and technology as part of the one city plan. (https://www.bristolonecity.com/connectivity/healthy-active-sustainable-transport/)
The Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) was led by the West of England Combined Authority, working with Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils and sets out the vision for transport up to 2036. It shows how the region will achieve a well-connected sustainable transport network that works for residents and that offers greater and realistic travel choices and makes walking, cycling and public transport the main choices. https://travelwest.info/projects/joint-local-transport-plan
Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority are working in partnership and with joint commitment with bus operators namely First West of England to deliver an ambitious programme of work to deliver significant improvements in Bristol’s buses. At the moment bus recovery is the focus following the Coronavirus pandemic with commitment in the long term to the Bus Deal to make significant improvements to infrastructure and journeys.
Significant improvements in our bus network include:
- The Greater Bristol Bus Network which delivered a 17.6% increase in passengers from 2008/9 and 2013/14.
- metrobus, which has carried more than 3 million passengers since launch
- cleaner bus fleet, with investment of more than £30million since 2015 delivering 142 buses in Bristol.
The mass transit project looks to provide segregated, high capacity, high quality rapid routes and will take 5 to 10 years to develop and will have to pass through several gateways before funding is secured. It will build on the completed metrobus work and delivering bus priority measures and infrastructure to increase frequencies of services particularly at peak times.
The CAZ is a way for the city to reach government targets to cut harmful emissions, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the project has been delayed. However, the transport corridor improvements still plays a key part towards achieving these targets to reach compliance on nitrogen dioxide levels along with other transport measures as detailed in the Joint Local Transport Plan 4.
The council are looking to create ‘off the shelf’ schemes that are aimed at improving walking and cycling routes in the city. The transport corridor project will deliver in line with the LCWIP and look to identify and deliver the schemes when the opportunities arise.
The review of the Parking Strategy for the city will be carried out at the same time as this project and will look at parking needs and this is managed across the city.
A report will be published with the early engagement results once all of the data has been analysed.