Agenda item

Multi-Modal Transport


The Head of Strategic City Transport said that the agenda item had been separated into two sections and confirmed what was meant by the terms ‘multi-modal transport’ and ‘mobility stations’.

Mobility stations are about identifying ‘first/last mile solutions to connect communities to frequent public transport services and provide integrated transport options’. Officers said they had learned a lot about these on a recent study trip to Cologne - a city region with a similar population to the West of England. 


Officers are looking at the current issues, what facilities and benefits could be on offer, whereabouts they could be based and how they can be developed. It was said they were very keen for Bristol to make much better use of what it already has. 


Officers said there are frequent public transport services on Bristol’s corridors but that people are not always aware of them or cannot easily access them.  There is a lot of work needed to improve communication and connections between things.  It was said that mobility stations can help addresses the lack of orbital connections in the city.


Members were keen to understand more about what the ‘last mile delivery’ and what that could involve.  Officers said there were a range of different facilities that could be provided depending on the location and identified needs which could include lockers that provided a place for people to collect from.


It was asked if electric bicycle hire could potentially be included.  Officers said that they are asked about this point quite often and so it will be looked into but that electric bikes can already be hired from a few different places in the city. 


Members asked when they would start to see some of this happening.   Officers said that WECA had applied to the Government’s ‘Future Mobility Zones Fund’ and had a reasonably good opportunity to be successful.  Offices highlighted Avonmouth as a potentially good opportunity, adding that there are all sorts of things there that people don’t know about e.g. cycle paths that could be beneficial to people. 


One Member recommended having bike racks on buses as they do in some other European Cities. 


Members were positive about the prospect of local mobility stations. They asked about what publicity there might be because it was thought that unfortunately it could take some time for some people to catch-up with what’s new and available as with local car clubs for example.  Officers agreed with the points being made and said that communication about this would be key to its success and that it would be important to get the local communities involved from the outset.


Mass Transit and Rail Up-date

The Head of Strategic City Transport delivered a short presentation on ‘Mass Transit and Rail’ to Members which explained what is currently being worked on and the plans for moving things forward.  The following points below were highlighted to members:

A study has now been undertaken.  The study brief defined four mass transit routes for investigation which were:

  • Airport corridor
  • East corridor
  • North corridor
  • A4 corridor


Officers stated the overall scheme had a clear objective of creating a step change in the mass movement of residents and visitors across the region and to ‘address existing congestion issues and provide new capacity to sustainably facilitate growth in Housing and Employment across the West of England’.


It was said that a mass transit scheme had the potential for ‘making positive changes to air quality and reducing congestion in the region as well as better opportunities to move people around and thus stimulating regeneration’.


At the current time, all options were still being considered.  The feasibility study indicated that there was merit in exploring options further and that all options showed reasonable business cases but further work was required to assess them.


Officers explained that they are moving towards developing a strategic outline business case which will take around 12 – 18 months to complete.


The Value for Money (VFM) assessments suggest there is a good case and that the work should move on to the next stage. WECA have allocated £2-3 million for taking this to the next stage.


It was said that over-ground projects were showing a better VFM ratio because they are cheaper to build.  The more funding that’s spent the more the VFM ration comes down.


The assessments still require more information on the costs of the tunnelling work.


Officers said it was important to try and consider what technology might be available in 10/15 years - not just today. 


Members commented and asked the following questions:

  • When would ‘actual costs’ be available? Officers said that the feasibility studies would be undertaken in autumn.  But the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) will contain a lot more details. 
  • Usage rates; Members would like to see projections included if/when possible and how much money systems are likely to cost to run.  The figure quoted by one Member was £4 billion and 15 years. His view was that it’s unlikely that the Council will ever have that kind of funding.
  • Members raised concerns about the 15 years it might take for this to come to fruition and said that was a danger that ‘in 20 years’ time this could be seen as a 20th century solution’. Officers said that the DfT still view mass transport is the way forward.  Officers said that in their view it’s worth going forward and seeing where it takes us.  Adding that this sort of project isn’t currently happening anywhere else in UK but is quite common in other parts of the EU.
  • A Member said that it had taken years just to open up a few old train stations and lines and years of funding.  Also, would this just fill up all the spaces that aren’t already developed i.e. more new roads and losing even more trees?  Officers said that the objective was to connect things up.
  • Another Member said that the demand figures looked impressive but the profit margins weren’t very big and so it was questionable if it would ever attract private investment. Officers said in response that there were different ways of funding project but yes this would need to be very innovative.  The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) would be ready in the next 12-18 months.



Members thanked the officers for their time and for being so positive about the projects. 


Supporting documents: