The first half of the year has been very busy from a transport perspective in Bristol, with the second half looking equally as interesting! Rob Hardyman, an Associate in our Bristol office, takes a look at the changes we have seen and will expect over the coming months.
Anyone who has tried to travel through Bristol city centre will understand that there are significant traffic issues and despite many efforts, unfortunately, there is no silver bullet solution to these problems. What this has meant, is that there is a diversification in modes of travel and transport used across the city.
It was announced earlier this year that the Voi e-Scooter trial will be extended to November 2022. In addition to this, a new generation of scooter was introduced which tries to address some of the usability issues of the original model.
In February, there was also the introduction of the Big Issue electric bikes, which are available for use on the same premise as the Voi scooters and should help to flatten out some of the hills across the city.
Also in February, construction of a new £4.2 million railway station began at Portway Park and Ride in Shirehampton as part of the MetroWest programme. When the station opens later this year, it will be served by the recently improved half-hourly train services between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach. The location of the station will complement the existing Park & Ride bus service and, be a useful extra transport option for the local community.
In April, the West of England Combined Authority was extremely successful in securing £105 million towards bus improvements across the region – this figure was 10% of the whole country’s bus budget, so it should help in bringing about some meaningful improvements to the services across the region.
In addition to this £105 million investment, WECA also secured £5.8 million to boost cycling and walking journeys within the city in May. This money will be used to provide dedicated cycle lanes along key routes through the city, pedestrainising high streets and improve existing pedestrian crossing facilities.
Looking into second half of the year and the future, the biggest change in the city will be the introduction of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which after much delay will be introduced on 28 November. As part of the measures, older and more polluting vehicles will be charged to enter the CAZ in the city centre. The charges are designed to encourage people to either address their travel habits or, update their vehicle, and funding is available to support those who need it.
The MetroWest programme is also looking to re-open the Portishead Line providing an hourly rail service between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads with new stations at Pill and Portishead. The reopened rail line would bring over 50,000 people back into the direct catchment area of a rail station for the first time in over 60 years and will encourage them to travel into the city via rail.
We look forward to watching the progress of these schemes identified above and how they might help to address some of the congestion issues we see across the city and potentially unlock some new development sites in the region.