Monday, 8 July 2013

Getting Cambridgeshire To Work Through Smarter Travel

A new countywide project is helping people in Cambridgeshire to save money, save time, and stay healthy, by making smarter travel choices for everyday journeys.

‘SmartTravel Cambridgeshire’ is aiming to help people discover more suitable or attractive ways of travelling that they may not have thought possible. This is kicking off in Ely, with households being offered one-to-one advice and resources by representatives of the SmartTravel Cambridgeshire team.

Cambridgeshire has got the fastest growing population in the country, which means that there is more and more demand on the local road network. Travel advice is being offered in Ely first where we aim to raise awareness of the variety of travel options for residents that need to travel to Cambridge or elsewhere.

By helping individual households to find ways that make their journeys quicker, cheaper or healthier, this work can also have an overall impact that improves traffic flow on roads and so eases the congestion that can be harmful to the local economy.

This project is being funded by the Department for Transport, through Cambridgeshire’s successful bid into the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Research carried out by the Department for Transport has reported that this type of project can reduce trips in cars by 11%, and reduce the distance travelled by car by 12%. The same study showed that walking is the most preferable alternative amongst those that use their car less, and that these shifts can also lead to more people using local services.

Residents in Ely will be asked about their current travel habits in order to provide those who would like to participate further with information and advice tailored to their individual needs.  The project will also provide valuable information to help the Council plan what it does to support people to get around the county more sustainably.

Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said; “This is a great opportunity for the residents of Ely to really get the most out of the local transport system and tell us how they feel about it. Projects like this in other parts of the country have shown that in places with busy transport routes, like Ely, this can help relieve traffic congestion which has a positive impact on businesses in the area.”

The Travel for Work Partnership (TfW) which offers Travel Planning advice to employers across Cambridgeshire is supporting Cambridgeshire County Council with the project that is part of the Council’s commitment to improve transport and encourage people to walk, bike or use public transport. Recently, four new businesses in the Ely area – and 140 across the whole county – have signed up with TfW to access support and unique offers.

Elizabeth Sayers, Project Manager at TfW, said: “TfW looks forward to supporting this project and assisting Ely residents make the most of the travel options available”

The project is being funded through the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and implemented by transport experts Steer Davies Gleave. The award is being used for a programme of measures aimed at ‘Getting Cambridgeshire to work’ and should improve the County’s potential for growing and attracting business, ensuring that Cambridgeshire leads the way back to economic growth. Better transport links can also help people to access important services or leisure facilities.