Transport is dynamic; it runs through the core economic and social fabric of this country. It gives us lessons from the past, the challenges of the present and the importance of developments for the future. With this in mind Rail & Bus for Herefordshire is a founder partner, along with the Hereford Transport Alliance, of the Hereford Sustainable Transport Group. The group sprang from the realisation that new roads are not the panacea they are made out to be and that numerous experiences from the past indicate they can even lead to greater traffic congestion than we currently experience in our urban areas.
Hereford is no exception, where current plans for a bypass or relief road are seen more as a means for releasing land for housing development rather than alleviating traffic congestion, a fact in itself that is likely to lead to more not less congestion. Parallel with this is the realisation that alternative means of transport (public transport and cycling) are not given a fair chance to demonstrate themselves as perfectly capable of achieving Herefordshire Council’s LTP objectives of:
a. economic growth; b. good quality transport for all; c healthy lifestyles; d. safer easier and healthier journeys and e. access to services for all. (Herefordshire Council Local Transport Plan 2012-2016)
Whilst other cities in Britain, both large and small, move towards the technological and environmental advantages that modern public transport can bring to the internal fabric of the city, Hereford lags behind.
Bypass or no bypass, positive measures to improve transport for all in Hereford are needed now. Stimulus to this is given by the continuing development of the Skylon Park Enterprise Zone, the creation of a new university and the regeneration of a substantial area adjacent to the historic city core. All these factors point to a vision of a progressive 21st century Hereford. A vision however, somewhat sadly lacking in a modern environmental future transport element.
With all this in mind the Hereford Sustainable Transport Group has set itself a task of identifying feasible, sustainable and innovative internal transport systems in conjunction with comprehensive measures dealing with traffic management, cycling strategies, journeys to school. Each will be reported on and will help build a joined up sustainable transport plan for Hereford.
Reports on 1. A high capacity light tram route linking the Enterprise Zone, University sites and the inner urban core and 2. A city wide electric bus network are due out in early spring. These will be followed by the examination of the role of traffic management in optimising road space for all, the development of a city wide cycle network, the role of parking supply and control and new innovative moves to aid journeys to school.