Comparison of the Options
Cambridge Futures has assessed the likely impact in the Cambridge Sub-region
of the 2003 Cambridgeshire Structure Plan. It has concluded that the Structure
Plan makes a substantial contribution towards the economic, social and
environmental sustainability of the area. By allowing an expansion of the City
in selected areas of the green belt and a new settlement, economic and social
development will improve and if the expansion areas were well designed, the
environmental quality of the Sub-region would be preserved.
The results obtained by Cambridge Futures indicate that the expansion of the
built up areas of the City and the overall Sub-regional growth would produce
more congestion. This is despite the introduction of transport improvements to
the A14 trunk road and the implementation of rapid transit linking Huntingdon
The increase in congestion would risk the continuation of Cambridge’s
To reduce the transport problems, Cambridge Futures has investigated four
options in isolation and one in combination:
- Cycling and walking – has not been assessed separately, but are
- Public Transport – produces results that are positive in terms of
sustainability. However, the cost of implementing the option is too large for
the modest benefits obtained. Improving public transport would not be
sufficient to attract passengers from cars in large enough numbers to be able
to solve the transport problems of Cambridge.
- Orbital Highway – produces substantial benefits in terms of savings
in money, time and inconvenience. It would probably be fundable under economic
criteria. It would have an adverse environmental impact around the south and
east of Cambridge but this can be mitigated by the construction of a tunnel,
which would reduce the visual impact in a sensitive landscape area of the
south east of Cambridge.
- Congestion Charging – does have benefits in terms of time savings,
as well as a positive impact on the environment, reducing congestion and
therefore carbon emissions. Although financially and technically possible, the
overall user benefits are negative, demonstrating that this option, on its
own, would not be attractive and would therefore encounter resistance from the
- Combined Option – generates positive economic as well as
environmental benefits within Cambridge. It can, in theory, partially fund the
investment cost of the expansion of public transport and the orbital highway,
but this would depend on the length of time that the revenues from congestion
charging are kept by the local authorities.
The table below summarised the feasibility of each option. It can be seen
that the Public Transport Option gives poor returns while the Combined Option
gives a return that might be acceptable for infrastructure projects.
||User: cost savings
||User: time savings
||User Total Benefits
||Operator Total Benefits
|Rate of Return
The comparison takes the Structure Plan as the Base Case, so all the results
are relative to that case.
The table below summarises the sustainability for all of the options. All of
them score equally or higher than the Base Case, except for Congestion Charging
Option, which scores highly in terms of environmental protection, but poorly
economically and the Orbital Option, which scores less on environmental quality.
|Base Case: Structure Plan
|Cycling & Walking
It is clear that further transport improvements will be needed in the
Cambridge Sub-region beyond those already committed if the anticipated rates of
local economic growth are to be sustained.
It is hoped that his exhibition helps the public and decision makers to
understand what the foreseeable consequences would be of different transport
policy directions, which will inform the debate about what transport policy is
appropriate for the future of Cambridge.