Why is this study needed?
Cambridge is currently experiencing strong economic growth but
the future prosperity of the area is at risk unless action is taken to improve
the transport system. The region’s inadequate infrastructure is leading to daily
traffic congestion. There is also a shortage of office space and housing.
The Draft Structure Plan proposes the building of 42,000 new
homes by 2016 and the creation of about 50,000 new jobs in the Cambridge
Sub-region. This increase in population and economic activity would put an
intolerable strain on the transport system. The resulting traffic congestion
would harm the quality of life and economy. There is a danger that an increasing
number of major companies will leave Cambridge unless something is done about
transport. Transport was the main issue that emerged from the first phase of
Why Cambridge Futures?
Cambridge Futures is an independent not-for-profit apolitical
group consisting of academics, business leaders, government officers,
politicians, and professionals, working together in a spirit of collaboration.
It already has five years experience of such working together on its award-winning and
innovative earlier Phase 1 of the project.
Cambridge Futures is ideally positioned to undertake this study.
After the successful completion of the first Cambridge Futures
study, and the subsequent Regional Planning Guidance, it is clear that there is
a growing consensus on the way forward. It entails a combination of four of the
options from Phase 1 of Cambridge Futures:
The Draft Structure Plan contains a mix of these options. The final blend awaits the outcome of
consultations before the adoption of the Structure Plan.
Now is therefore the time to look at the most pressing problem:
how to improve transport within the framework of the Structure Plan to give
people sufficient mobility. The next step will be to look further into the
future to forecast what effect each option would have on the longer-term
development of the sub-region.
The future of the Cambridge sub-region depends on
the key issue of transport. There cannot be any local resident who would not
benefit directly from an improved transport infrastructure - whether in the time
and frustration saved, in reduction of traffic congestion or by the enhancement
of their environment (less noise, pollution and visual intrusion). This study
will provide all citizens with the means to decide on which proposals to choose.
As with the first study, the analysis has been reported and
presented at public exhibitions to give an opportunity for public comment. The
exhibitions also include video animation so that the public can see how each
The results should inform planners and decision-makers, both
locally and nationally, as well as the local population. The original Cambridge
Futures study raised public awareness and stimulated wider debate. Its options
became familiar and acceptable - the same should be true of this study.