Chelmsford's Future Transport Network

The vision for Chelmsford to 2036:

For Chelmsford's transport system to become 'best in class' rivalling similar cities across the UK offering enhanced connectivity, and access to opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses to support the sustainable economic growth of the city.

About the Project

What is the problem?

Chelmsford is the county city of Essex and is growing and developing a a place where people want to live, work, shop, spend time and conduct business.

With this growth, there is an increase in demand for travel on our already busy road network.

An average road is operational at up to 90% capacity; the remaining 10% provides flexibility, resilience and reliability. This is why Chelmsford often grinds to a halt during rush hour - the road network is operating at 96% capacity during peak times, and the sheer volume of traffic can lead to delays. With only 4% space left, it is crucial that something is done to ease the pressure on Chelmsford’s road network. 

There is not the available space in the city centre to increase capacity on the existing roads, or build new roads. This would also not solve the issue as it would further encourage extra car journeys and quickly use up the new space.

We want Chelmsford’s future transport network to be best in class, so it can stand proudly alongside other cities in the UK that already boast excellent networks. To find out what you think Chelmsford's future transport network should look like, we held engagement events in early 2017.  

Chelmsford's Future Transport Network:

A zonal approach

In order to achieve the vision and objectives, the approach is based on applying different types of schemes to different ‘zones’ - to address the issues facing Chelmsford now and in the future.

In the city centre

Where there is a lack of space for new roads, and the feel of the city is an important factor in attracting businesses and visitors, the focus needs to be on sustainable transport options

Buses, walking and cycling

Any additional traffic needs efficient management through the use of clear and innovative signage to move it swiftly to the most appropriate routes and car parks.  

From residential areas to the city centre

Wherever possible, these journeys should be undertaken by sustainable modes of transport. Currently, 50% of people who live and work in Chelmsford use a car to get to work – these journeys are 5km or shorter in distance. That’s over 11,000 journeys in the morning peak, and another 11,000 during the evening peak every weekday. 

We intend to improve the options currently available to make them more attractive to residents.

From outside the city

The Park and Ride facilities at Sandon and Chelmer Valley will play a major role in facilitating traffic coming into Chelmsford from outside the city. Train journeys into the city are also encouraged. In the longer term, there will be targeted investment for specific road schemes such as the A12 widening and the Chelmsford North East Bypass. 

To achieve Chelmsford’s Future Transport Network the County Council will consider a range of schemes. Some possible schemes are shown below.

Possible schemes

The Chelmsford City Growth Package

Essex County Council secured £15 million through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver smaller scale, short-term improvements across all types of transport. These schemes will help to alleviate the current issues felt on the road network and help the city to keep moving forward.

This package of schemes, known as the Chelmsford City Growth Package, was consulted upon in Summer 2017. Following the outcomes of this consultation, selected schemes were announced in November 2017 and will be delivered or under construction by 2021. 


Now: Buses can help with the challenge of congestion by reducing the number of cars on the road. Unfortunately for many people in Chelmsford who could feasibly take the bus, it is currently a less attractive option than driving because of longer journey times, journey time reliability and upfront cost.

In future: Prioritising buses, shortening journey times and increasing their reliability are key ways to make buses more attractive, helping them to play a central role in Chelmsford’s future.


Now: The redeveloped station works as a hub with the nearby bus station for people coming into and out of the city. Getting to and from the station has the potential to significantly impact the road network.

In future: New and existing residents will be supported to use sustainable modes of transport, such as the bus and cycling, to get to and from the station. This will reduce pressure on the road network while enabling economic growth.

Further to this, a railway station has been proposed at Beaulieu Park – this, and sustainable access to it, will be another way we can support sustainable housing and economic growth. 


Now: The cycle network is both popular and extensive, however it is incomplete and there are a number of additional barriers to cycling, such as a lack of signage and parking facilities, and poorly maintained or poorly lit routes.

In future: Finishing incomplete routes, upgrading the quality and safety of the existing routes, and providing new routes to link new developments with key destinations will support Chelmsford’s cycling future.