Cambridge Connections – our future transport plan
June 2023 - testing our recommendations through traffic data modelling
The project team continues to make steady progress with developing our business case as we prepare to finalise recommendations for ‘Cambridge Connections’ – Our Future Transport Plan, defining the shape of Cambridge’s transport infrastructure for the next 30 years.
The long list of potential ideas, including possible ways to increase cycling and walking, improve passenger transport and address safety and congestion, has now been assessed in detail and prioritised into a shortlist of options.
The next stage is to use detailed traffic modelling to see how well the shortlisted options deliver on solving our transport problems for Cambridge.
The traffic modelling phase is running slightly behind schedule, but this must be completed to ensure the scenarios we present for testing are robust so that we can get as clear a view of the impact of our recommendations as possible.
Once we receive and review the modelling outcomes, the team can confirm the emerging programme of work that will be submitted to Waka Kotahi for funding endorsement around September/October this year.
The public will be invited to have their say on the details as part of the Long Term Plan community consultation in March 2024.
Work to finalise recommendations for long-term future transport options for Cambridge is continuing well, with a first draft of the Strategic Case now complete.
The Strategic Case is an important part of the business case and provides the background supporting evidence, stakeholder-agreed problems and benefits, and investment objectives.
The Cambridge Connections Project Stakeholder Group, with input from key stakeholders, has identified a range of transport problems facing Cambridge and evaluated the benefits of addressing these problems.
From there, a long list of potential ideas was identified, including possible ways to increase cycling and walking, improve passenger transport, address key hotspots around safety and congestion. A third bridge for Cambridge is also in the mix.
The next stage is to sift that long list down to a shortlist by testing to see how well the idea delivers on solving our problems.
A prioritised shortlist will be further developed which will aim to meet the transport needs of a growing and changing Cambridge community. Thereafter, a preferred programme will be recommended to be taken forward for future funding.
The next stages of the Cambridge Connections project are:
- The Project Stakeholder Group will review and confirm the proposed short list and preferred programme – May (date to be confirmed)
- Key stakeholders will be invited to information sessions to comment on the shortlist during - June
- The final business case is due to be finalised by July 2023
- Council will undertake formal consultation on Cambridge Connections as part of its Long-Term Plan consultation in 2024.
The Cambridge Connections project, preparing the business case for future transport options for Cambridge, is on schedule. The main problems to be addressed have been identified, along with a shortlist of the benefits of investing in solutions for those problems.
Recent stakeholder information sessions sought feedback from a range of interest groups. We spoke to people representing sectors including local retail and industry, environmental and cycling groups, to name a few.
These sessions collected feedback on priorities stakeholders felt should be included for Cambridge’s transport system. Ideas included public transport improvements, safer and more accessible cycling and walking networks, preserving Cambridge’s unique character, protecting the environment (noting significance of the Waikato River) as well as the impacts of industrial and residential growth areas and growing traffic congestion.
The concerns of the wider community were discussed, from school transport to the needs of residents in retirement villages, as well as specific issues around particular trouble-spots. Potential locations for a third bridge were also included in the ideas for solving future transport problems.
The next stage is to work through the ideas tabled from all contributors and develop a list of transport options to test with stakeholders early in 2023. Once the preferred programme is identified, recommendations from Cambridge Connections will be included in the 2023 10-Year Plan for public consultation and presented to Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and other potential funders for funding and implementation.
Cambridge Connections - Background
‘Cambridge Connections’ – Our Future Transport Plan is a 12-month project that will define the shape of Cambridge’s transport infrastructure for the next 30 years.
The project focuses on Cambridge’s transport network including, including its river crossings. The project will consider how to reduce traffic demand, provide transport alternatives and make best use of existing infrastructure.
Issues to be considered include national climate change targets and ways to encourage and enable more walking, cycling and public transport.
Cambridge Connections will also focus strongly on a third bridge for Cambridge. The Waipā Transport Strategy has already formally confirmed the need for a third bridge once the historic high-level Victoria Bridge can no longer carry vehicles. That’s expected to be at least another 20 years away.
A key outcome of the project will be developing a business case for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to help pay for the third bridge. A business case is essential to securing a 51 per cent government subsidy. Otherwise, all Waipā ratepayers, across the entire district, will be required to fund a new bridge for Cambridge from rates.