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A14 congestion could be solved at a third of the cost

1 February 2012
Congestion on the A14 could be solved at a third of the cost of the original proposal, according to a report from Campaign for Better Transport.

The report, which forms the charity’s official submission to the A14 Challenge, proposes 14 projects costing approximately £450m, rather than the Highway Agency’s £1.3bn proposal for a widening scheme and bypass, to help alleviate congestion on the stretch of road.

Sian Berry, Campaign for Better Transport’s sustainable transport campaigner, said: “We need a radical rethink of how to solve the problems on the A14. Tolling is not a viable option as experience with the M6 Toll shows that toll roads don’t work, toll revenue has not materialised and congestion on the M6 continues to get worse. Rather than focussing on increasing capacity which would quickly fill up again, our report aims to reduce congestion permanently by moving long-distance freight traffic onto rail, reducing local commuter traffic on the A14, providing public transport alternatives for longer distance car journeys and improving traffic-management safety and resilience on the current road.”

The A14 Challenge was launched in December to find ways to improve traffic conditions on the A14 after the Government rejected the Highways Agency’s £1.3bn plan to widen the road between Ellington and Fen Ditton and build a bypass around Huntingdon as unaffordable.

The 14 costed projects in Campaign for Better Transport’s report would only need a third of the funding previously committed to the Highway Agency’s plan and could be implemented by 2019. A further five proposals are put forward for long-term assessment, including new passenger rail lines. The package of projects also has additional benefits including reducing carbon emissions and strengthening the local economy long-term with new jobs and services, rather than the short-term benefits of a large engineering project.

The projects in the report include:

•    Demand management measures across Cambridgeshire, including workplace travel plans that would encourage car-sharing, transport information and smart tickets usable on any service
•    Improved local bus services
•    More services along the guided busway, including quicker and more frequent services between Huntingdon and Cambridge
•    New and expanded park and ride facilities
•    Better spatial plans and strategies to reduce the need to travel
•    Workplace parking controls (this measure would actually raise revenue)
•    Improvements to the Felixstowe-Nuneaton rail line to remove HGV traffic
•    More work on ensuring HGVs are compliant with safety rules
•    Active Traffic Management on this final stretch of A14 to reduce the speed limit at peak times, smooth traffic and help prevent collisions
•    Work to improve diversion road routes when the A14 suffers a major incident
•    Further improvements to the A14 to reduce collisions and community severance
•    Wider use of 3D scanners to reduce police time dealing with incidents on the A14
•    Facilities for new express bus services along the A14 for longer journeys, linked up with mainline rail timetables

Download the full report.

Notes to Editors

1. Campaign for Better Transport published The M6 Toll, five years on: Counting the cost of congestion relief in September 2011. The report concluded that, five years after the toll opened, most of the claimed benefits had failed to materialise or had been wiped out by above-average increases in traffic. Traffic on the M6 had returned to pre-toll levels and most journeys were only marginally quicker than in 2003. The cost of the toll had more than doubled and the company running the toll road was losing tens of millions of pounds a year.

2. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).