Here's a glimpse of what travelling to and around Cambridge might look like in the future - and it could be sooner than you might think
PUBLISHED: 10:38 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:38 13 December 2018
An underground station in the market square, self-driving buses, futuristic bike stores, and metros running on former busway tracks has been unveiled in a glimpse into the future of transport in Cambridge.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership’s annual conference was shown how plans to improve public transport in and around Cambridge to decongest the roads and ensure sustainable future growth and success will look.
A video outlining how new transport schemes could look was unveiled to the conference, which was attended by James Palmer, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Dame Kate Barker, who chairs the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Commission, and other key figures from the region.
Attendees got to see how an underground metro system, with city-centre underground stations, would by-pass Cambridge’s busy streets, allowing easy access to the city. It also showed how autonomous shuttles will run on existing stretches of the busway, like that in Trumpington, to take people from areas of high employment like the biomedical campus into the city and to the central station.
The presentation also showed how the busway could be converted into a metro in the future, allowing the vehicles which will run inside city centre tunnels to continue outside Cambridge, linking it with nearby towns and villages.
Mr Palmer has already set out his ambition for the metro to run as far afield as Haverhill, Mildenhall, Huntingdon, and Cambourne.
As well as this, the conference saw how cycle infrastructure will be improved. This, along with the metro and autonomous shuttles, is intended to get more cars off the roads, helping improve air quality.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council and chairman of the GCP board said: “The conference shows we understand the challenge, have a vision for what we can do and that we are now delivering real improvements, as well as responding to the needs of our communities and businesses.
“That is why we outlined, alongside Mayor Palmer, our shared vision for a world class public transport system to help people get in and around the city to accelerate the delivery of 33,500 new homes and 44,000 new jobs in Greater Cambridge.”
The GCP and the combined authority have already run into controversy with the metro project, with many raising questions over how it is to be funded and where the proposed routes are to go.
Last week, at the GCP’s board meeting, there were angry scenes as campaigners expressed their concerns over a route linking Cambridge and Cambourne.
There are fears, particularly among villagers in Coton, that the potential route would damage the environment while not saving a lot of time, but costing a lot of money.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Palmer said the combined authority is expecting to make an announcement about how the metro is to be funded in March next year.