Colchester Future Transport Strategy

Travel in Colchester

Motor vehicles are the main form of transport in Colchester, with over 60% of residents using a car as their primary means of travel. This means the city suffers from significant congestion and poor journey time reliability.

Journeys to work have the most significant impact on the road network. Additionally, many car journeys made are short. About 20% of us travel 2km or less to work by car and 40% travel 5km or less. Despite this, sustainable travel options such as trains, buses, cycling and walking account for only about a third of journeys to work.

Many car trips could be made by other forms of travel, helping to remove traffic from an already congested road network. However, this can happen only if the alternatives to the private car are made more attractive.

 If people who would normally drive by car used an alternative form of travel twice a week, it would remove nearly 150,000 peak hour car trips.

Vision for Colchester

As we move forward and think of the long-term, improving our health and wellbeing and tackling climate issues must be at the centre of our transport planning and the projects and initiatives we undertake. To enable this, a transport vision for the borough was created:

‘To transform Colchester into a place which prioritises active and safe sustainable travel to bring about health, environmental and economic benefits.’

This vision is underpinned by a series of objectives:

  • Providing attractive and healthy environments: Protect, enhance, and improve the quality of the natural, built, and historic environment and reduce air pollution, to enhance residents’, workers’, and visitors’ quality of life.
  • Improving sustainable transport modes: Offer an attractive and effective choice of sustainable travel (bus, cycling, walking) to encourage increased use and reduce pressure on the road network.
  • Supporting economic growth and connectivity: Provide high quality transport improvements to enhance network connectivity. Support housing and economic growth in Colchester by linking communities together and enabling access to key services, transport hubs, jobs, and education.
  • Providing a safer transport environment: Improve safety and the perception of safety within Colchester to promote a safe travelling environment for all road users.
  • Managing demand: Manage traffic levels across Colchester’s road network and limit levels of traffic in the town centre to reduce delays and improve journey time reliability, maximising capacity through innovative solutions.
  • Managing roads and signs: Secure and maintain roads and signage to an appropriate standard and ensure the network is available for use with sufficient resilience to cope with incidents.

Creating a long-term strategy for Colchester

The Colchester Future Transport Strategy addresses how we deliver the long-term vision for Colchester, thinking about how we create a new approach, increasing sustainable travel, focussing on health and wellbeing, while also helping to ensure that we consider Colchester’s importance as an employment, leisure, and residential centre for the region.

Setting out four distinct zones, the strategy recognises a varied approach is needed, with a focus on public realm and shopper experience, reducing car use in the city centre, improved walking, and cycling routes in the wider city areas and efficient access to the strategic road network for those needing to travel by car.

Following consultation on the strategy, the majority of respondents told us you supported this approach, in particular flagging air quality in the city as a concern, but also recognising that travel is often based on convenience.

As we now move forward the strategy will enable potential schemes to be identified, ranging from small-scale improvements and interventions through to larger-scale strategic projects. 

How the strategy is being implemented  

The Transport Strategy provides the blueprint against which future proposed highways and road infrastructure schemes will be assessed. Delivered in partnership with Colchester Borough Council, we are working closely together to ensure that as projects, initiatives and schemes progress they are aligned and best placed to meet the objectives and vision. Project examples include:

A120/A133 Link Road

Active Travel 2 – Colchester walking and cycling improvements

Colchester City Centre Masterplan

Colchester Rapid Transport System

Colchester Town Deal

Cycle Colchester

Public realm updates being made in the city centre

St Botolph’s Circus roundabout