The Exeter Transport Strategy 2020-2030 focuses on improving travel choices, creating better places for people and taking advantage of technology opportunities to influence travel behaviour in a positive way.
The proposals aim to provide an ambitious, but realistic, transport strategy that is embodied in the following 3 key themes:
- Greater Connectivity focuses on travel into the city from outside Exeter’s boundaries. A consistent standard of frequency of both rail and interurban bus routes and delivering strategic cycle trails between key settlements are proposed. To capture those from the rural hinterland with limited sustainable travel choices, there will be a Park and Ride on all key corridors into the city. This theme also includes protecting the reliability and resilience of the strategic road and rail connections with the rest of the country.
- Greater Places for People is about travel within and quality of life in the city. This includes a target for 50% of trips to be made by walking and cycling. This will be achieved through enhancing pedestrian/cycling networks, reallocating road space for walking and cycling and creating more attractive public spaces. We will also work with bus operators to improve urban bus corridors and to provide a reliable low carbon network of buses.
- Greater Innovation will see the Council looking to work with private sector partners to test and implement innovative technology solutions to make travel easier and help the city’s transport networks operate more flexibly and efficiently. A key aspiration will be to expand the electric vehicle car clubs, the on street electric cycle hire network and proposed low carbon bus services and develop a new zero emission transport subscription service.
Exeter Transport Strategy
6.1. The Exeter Transport Strategy will focus on improving travel choices, the quality of life for residents and provides the first stages in the transition of transport towards net zero.
6.2. The core elements of the strategy will be to improve sustainable transport networks, providing the basis of a connected City Region. It will deliver interventions that contribute to improved quality of life and take advantage of technological advancements to better integrate information and help decarbonise travel.
6.3. The proposals aim to provide an ambitious, but ultimately realistic, transport strategy that is embodied in the following 3 key themes:
- Greater Connectivity
- Greater Places for People
- Greater Innovation
6.4. The transport strategy will facilitate decarbonisation of transport in the Greater Exeter city region by providing a sustainable and reliable transport system, allowing people and goods to move around the network efficiently. This will support sustainable growth and provide a better quality of life for residents.
6.5. Central to this will be creating a comprehensive, accessible and coherent cycle and pedestrian network in Exeter that connects residential areas with schools, key economic hubs, public open space and transport interchanges so that 50% of trips within the city are being made on foot or by bike.
6.6. This represents the most achievable way of reducing short distance car trips from within Exeter. It also complements aims to tackle inactivity across the city through the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot and Exeter’s aspiration to become the most active city in the country.
6.7. The rate of delivery will be accelerated through testing and trialling changes, including making some of the Emergency Active Travel “pop-up” infrastructure changes permanent. We will also progress opportunities to remove or reduce traffic on some routes to create “green lanes” and support active travel access from villages on the edge of the city.
6.8. This will be complemented by new, high-quality strategic cycle links creating a city region strategic leisure network to encourage short to medium distance trips from existing settlements into Exeter and the Exe Estuary Trail.
6.9. We will support enhancing bus frequency on key interurban routes, with an aim of achieving 15 minute bus frequency or better on key inter-urban routes into the city from Cranbrook, Crediton, Cullompton and Newton Abbot. This level of frequency provides a ‘turn-up-and-go’ service where users will no longer feel the need to consult a timetable.
6.10. This will be supported by enhanced bus corridors and improvements at key junctions. Particular focus will be given to enhancing Heavitree Road to achieve more reliable journey times on a key, busy public transport route to growth in the East of Exeter and achieving an improved environment for residents, pedestrians and cyclists. Enhancements to Heavitree Road will also reduce pollution, improve air quality and form part of the target to remove all air quality exceedances in the city.
6.11. The County Council will explore options to deliver the cleanest bus fleet with onboard WiFi allowing more productive travel and reduced transport costs with a greater influence on the routes being run.
6.12. Alongside this will be continued improvement of ‘Devon Metro’ rail services improving the connectivity within the city region so that the towns of Cranbrook, Crediton, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Exmouth, Honiton, Newton Abbot and Teignmouth are served by at least half hourly rail frequency. New rail connectivity to Mid Devon will also be investigated.
6.13. In combination, the enhanced rail, bus and active travel links between key settlements and Exeter form the basis of a Connected City Region network.
Consistent Standard of Sustainable Transport providing a Connected City Region
Photo: by shirokazan https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1956704
6.14. Park & Ride sites on all key corridors will provide a realistic sustainable travel option for those trips from rural areas into the city that can’t feasibly be served by traditional public transport services. The sites also serve as multimodal interchanges for other sustainable forms of travel, such as cycling, and will provide electric vehicle charging facilities.
6.15. The potential of Park & Ride to also provide frequent cross city connections as well as from the city centre out to employment and amenities at Marsh Barton and Sowton / East of Exeter will also be promoted.
6.16. The strategy will protect and enhance strategic rail, road and air connectivity into the city and South West Peninsula so that it retains momentum and continues to offer an attractive place for sustainable growth.
6.17. In addition to hard infrastructure, new transport innovations and interventions will be encouraged.
6.18. We will work with and support the private sector to develop innovative solutions in the city and in securing external funding for new initiatives. We will also share data with partners to improve collaboration and support innovation.
6.19. To facilitate an accelerated change in transport conditions in the city, we will also be more dynamic in testing and trialling of new measures and highway changes.
6.20. The network will benefit from smarter operation and management. Such initiatives could include innovative car parking strategies in the city centre, which encourages longer stays in the evening and off-peak, whilst discouraging car travel at peak times.
6.21. Central to the Exeter Transport Strategy and reducing carbon emissions is increasing electric shared mobility. We are currently expanding our electric bike hire to provide the largest on-street electric bike scheme in the UK and will continue to expand and electrify the already well utilised car club fleet.
6.22. Alongside a growing shared mobility offer, Exeter has an extensive bus network which together provide core elements to build upon to create a single ticketing platform that is right for the attributes of Exeter. Furthermore, the emergence of electric bus funding opportunities, along with electric car club vehicles and bike hire unlock the potential for the delivery of the UK’s first zero-emission transport subscription service. This would be a crucial step on the path towards net zero.
Greater Connectivity – Enhanced Travel Choices
1. Connected City Region
Aim: Increase the attractiveness of public transport through improved passenger facilities and better journey time frequency and reliability.
- Continued delivery of the Devon Metro including at least half hourly frequency on rail lines into Exeter.
- Lobby for decarbonisation of rail network and for branch lines in the south west to be a test bed for low carbon railways.
- Enhance bus services between Exeter and surrounding towns to provide 15 minute frequency on key inter-urban routes into the city, including Cranbrook, Crediton, Cullompton and Newton Abbot.
- New strategic walking and cycle trails connecting surrounding towns into existing Exe Estuary trail and Exeter cycle network.
- Upgrade of facilities and interchange at main transport hubs including electric shared mobility and electric vehicle charging facilities.
2. Nationally Connected
Aim: Retain and enhance strategic rail, road and air connectivity with the rest of the country and overseas.
- Improved resilience, capacity and journey times on rail mainlines as well as ‘working office’ capabilities on new rolling stock.
- Enhance resilience of M5 J29 – J31 / Splatford Split
- Improve access to Exeter airport by sustainable modes
3. Park & Ride on all main corridors
Aim: Provide Park & Ride on all key corridors and double the number of spaces that serve the city alongside reducing parking provision in city centre.
- Park & Ride / Change interchange facility serving main corridors of Alphington Road, A377 to Crediton, B3181 to Broadclyst and A376/A3052.
- Bus priority to increase attractiveness of new Park and Ride routes to the city
- Increase cross-city Park and Ride services to improve linkages to employment on the edges of the city.
- Provide electric shared mobility, electric vehicle charging facilities and investigate potential for energy generation on Park and Ride sites.
Greater Places for People - Healthier Active City
4. Active Exeter
Aim: 50% of work trips originating in Exeter to be made on foot or by cycle.
- Enhance pedestrian environment in residential areas by removing through traffic and creating quieter and safer environments for pedestrians and cyclists
- Enhance key pedestrian corridors, including new river and main road crossings and improved access to transport interchanges.
- Green Lanes supporting active travel from villages on the edge of the city
- Comprehensive citywide Exeter cycle network linking all key destinations, delivering safe routes that can be enjoyed by all.
- Improved access to cycle, including city-wide bike hire scheme and greater access to storage facilities.
5. People Based Places
Aim: Shift to more people-focused design interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens and support the vitality of the city centre.
- Reduce dominance of cars in urban centres and core walking areas, linked to public realm and redevelopment of city centre to support inward investment.
- Deliver corridor enhancements to improve pedestrian / cycle safety, bus reliability, reduce pollution and support key neighbourhood centres.
- Reduce transport pollution to remove Air Quality exceedances in the city.
- New Street Design standards giving greater emphasis to sustainable travel users and creating a more attractive environment.
6. Attractive Urban Bus Networks
Aim: Work with operators to achieve a modern, reliable and low carbon network of bus routes.
- Joint working with operators to identify rolling program of journey time hotspots for improvement.
- Refine and optimise bus routes with enhanced bus priority at major junctions of Exe Bridges, Clyst St Mary and Countess Wear and “Red Routes” on key corridors including Heavitree Road, Pinhoe Road and Cowick Street.
- Roll out of modern, cleaner vehicles with WiFi to enable productive travel on buses as well as on trains.
- Improved IT systems to improve real time information, journey time reliability and payment methods.
Greater Innovation – Manage Travel Intelligently
7. Seamless Multimodal Travel
Aim: Introduce a new single ticketing platform and shared mobility to boost the convenience of non-car travel into and around the city.
- Expansion of car clubs, bike hire schemes and support new development policy requirement in Exeter and adjacent districts.
- Electrification of shared mobility fleet.
- Single ticketing platform for multi-modal travel in Exeter, working towards providing a new zero-emission transport subscription service.
- Support creation of Travel Planning and mapping apps.
8. Maximise the Efficiency of Existing Network
Aim: To use technological advancements to better understand the operation of the network and adapt its control to best manage movement effectively.
- Network review to optimise operation or even remove signal controls to improve capacity, safety, resilience and air quality.
- Review parking charges for off-peak travel to discourage peak period travel and encourage longer stays in city centre.
- Ongoing employer, school and residential travel planning programs to encourage sustainable travel choices.
9. Innovation and Invention
Aim: To test changes using local and global expertise to develop and launch new transport innovations that support decarbonisation.
- Data sharing and collaboratively working to support partners and innovators to develop new solutions to decarbonising transport.
- Allow trials and testing of new measures and/or network changes to accelerate process for decarbonising the transport network.
- Utilise new sophisticated forms of network control.
- Support roll out of alternative vehicle propulsion, including developing an Electric Vehicle strategy and identify assets that can support uptake of low emission vehicles.