£41m being spent on getting Bristolians to ditch their cars
By The Bristol Post | Thursday, June 28, 2012, 05:00
COUNCILS in the Bristol area are set to spend almost £14 million on persuading drivers to ditch their cars.
The money is part of a project to beat congestion and get more people on public transport which will cost £41 million – almost half as much as the councils are asking for to transform the area's rail network.
The money is coming from £24 million handed out by the government and £17 million more, as part of the deal, which must come from the four councils which make up the West of England Partnership – Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and B&NES.
The measures include:
â A £13.9 million marketing campaign to persuade businesses and staff to switch to promote greener commuting, including car-sharing, public transport and cycling
â The installation of more than 100 charging points to encourage workers to switch to electric cars
â Discounted bus travel for young people, in an attempt to change the habits of the next generation of workers
â Improvements to bus routes
â Real time displays of public transport information.
â Support for the expansion of 20 mph zones around Bristol.
The marketing campaign is expected to include advertising aimed at changing driving habits. Officials compared it to anti-smoking campaigns carried out by the NHS.
There will also be market research involving the University of the West of England, door-to-door surveys and advisors employed to work with businesses to come up with ways to reduce staff car use.
The cash will also be used to part-fund bus tickets and electric bicycles to get individual schemes off the ground, as well as giving grants to businesses to help pay for small improvements, like building showers for cyclists.
Discounted bus tickets will be offered to people aged from 15 to 21 and tried out first on the 6 and 7 bus routes between Kingswood and the city centre. The aim of the scheme is to cut the number of college students travelling by car.
Details of the size of the discount offered have yet to be decided but if the scheme is a success it will be tried on other routes.
Other hotspots identified for investment were the new enterprise zone at Temple Meads, the Filton/A38 enterprise area and the SPark science park at Emersons Green, as well as Weston-super-Mare and Bath.
In the bid, the partnership said the Bristol area was being strangled by congestion, which would cost the area £600 million by 2016. Rush-hour traffic speeds are slower than any other urban area in the country, it claimed.
The partnership says that by 2030, an extra 95,000 jobs would be created if the local economy was allowed to grow, including 17,000 around the new Temple Meads enterprise zone, 9,000 at the Emersons Green science park, and 4,000 in the Filton area.
Sue Turner, of Bristol Port, said improved transport links were vital for the port's expansion plans, which would create 500 new jobs.
Yesterday transport minister Norman Baker told the Post it made "cold economic sense" to encourage people to use greener methods of transport.
He said: "People won't just change because we ask them to change."
The minister added that the investment would make life easier for remaining motorists by making the roads less congested.
He said the projects would be "complimentary" to schemes already in place or in the pipeline, including the Bus Rapid Transport project.
A full breakdown of how the cash will be spent was not available yesterday but in addition to the £13.9 million on marketing and other measures to change the behaviour of motorists, £11 million will be spent on capital projects, including improvements to junctions to make cycling easier, cycle racks and bus improvements.
Measures to promote car sharing include a barrier that can only be opened by two people on either side of the car pressing a button at the same time.
City transport cabinet councillor Tim Kent, pictured, who is also vice chair of the WEP joint transport executive committee, said: "This work is about waking people up to a new way to get to work, helping them think about options that might help them get fit, save some money and at the same time cut carbon emissions and tackle congestion."
Mr Baker said he was sympathetic towards the £100 million bid submitted by the partnership last week to fund a Greater Bristol Metro Rail system. He told the Post the rail bid was being handled by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
He said: "I am familiar, of course, with the aspirations in the Bristol area, the Portishead line and everything else, which people have long campaigned for. So I entirely understand why those sorts of schemes are being put forward."