Colchester Future Transport Strategy
In recent years travel in Colchester has been dominated by the car, with over 60% of residents using it as their primary means of travel.
This has meant that the town has suffered from significant congestion issues and poor journey time reliability.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how and why we travel, introducing new habits and norms that would not have been the case just a few months ago.
Through lockdown earlier this year we saw a significant drop in car use, with significant drops in congestion and improved air quality.
For many of us these changes have continued with an increase in more sustainable forms of transport, particularly cycling and walking with obvious health benefits.
To support this, Essex County Council launched the Safer, Greener, Healthier initiative, which has seen temporary measures put in place to enable people to walk and cycle, providing bigger, safer spaces in key locations in the town centre for us to social distance.
An ongoing campaign Swap Stop Go, has also been providing tips and advice to those looking at changing to another form of transport.
Vision and aims for Colchester
As we move forward and think of the long-term, improving our health and wellbeing and tackling the climate emergency 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 has been created:
‘To transform Colchester into a place which prioritises active and safe sustainable travel to bring about health, environmental and economic benefits.’
This vision will be 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 in the provision 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 the effective capacity through innovative solutions.
Managing highways assets: Secure and maintain all transport assets such as roads and signage to an appropriate standard and ensure that the network is available for use with sufficient resilience to cope with incidents.
Colchester Future Transport Strategy
The Colchester Future Transport Strategy looks at how to deliver this vision, thinking about how we create a new approach and support the move to sustainable travel, while also ensuring that we consider Colchester’s importance as an employment, leisure and residential centre for the region.
This strategy will provide the guidelines against which future projects will be assessed. This will enable potential schemes to be identified, ranging from small-scale improvements and interventions through to larger-scale strategic projects.
We would now like to hear your views on the strategy. These will help further shape and refine it and also identify potential projects to take forward.
In order to meet Colchester’s different needs, a varied approach is needed. The Colchester Future Transport Strategy sees the creation of four distinct zones.
Town centre – Will focus primarily on walking, the quality of the public realm and experience of Colchester as a high-quality place. It will also support passenger transport access into the town centre.
Wider town area – Will see walking and cycling prioritised, along with passenger transport access into the town.
Borough boundary - Is a wider urban area zone where passenger transport is prioritised e.g. the Park and Ride route.
Strategic corridors - Represents key strategic corridors. Over time these will look to move people from highway to passenger transport.