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Recognition of need for mass transit is welcomed by Cambridge Connect

Independent campaign group Cambridge Connect has welcomed the government’s recognition of the need for mass transit in Cambridge and the potential role for light rail and trams.

Light rail in Nottingham. Picture: Cambridge Connect
Light rail in Nottingham. Picture: Cambridge Connect

Earlier this month, the government released a 38-page document setting out its ‘Case for Cambridge’, which included proposals for tens of thousands of homes to be built in the area by 2050 and reference to the potential of trams and light rail to solve the city’s congestion challenges.

Cambridge Connect says it is “trying to engage closely” with the government, as well as business and community leaders on options and strategies for mass transit in the Cambridge region. It argues that buses alone will not solve the city’s congestion challenge, or meet its needs.

In a statement, the group said: “Light rail is fast, safe, reliable and popular, delivering huge social as well as economic benefits. It would enable better access to employment, health, education, the city and would be accessible to all.

“Cambridge Connect noted the highly successful example of Freiburg profiled in the Case for Cambridge, where a tram/light rail network supports excellent public transport and high modal shift.

“There are many more successful examples we could cite throughout Europe, and in the UK, including cities of similar size to Cambridge with light rail / trams for example Orléans, Odense, Ghent, Lausanne to name just a few.

“Mass transit for Cambridge will require additional investment, but we consider the investment justified to support Cambridge’s continued phenomenal success.

“Cambridge Connect recognises the short tunnel we propose is costly, although technically this is the most practical way to deliver an integrated transport network across Cambridge, while protecting its globally important heritage and environment.

“The investment will more than repay itself.”

Last year, Cambridge Connect drafted plans detailing how public transport could be transformed with a “practical” and “affordable” solution.

The group said it supports further work on design and phased delivery of a practical light rail network, and how it would integrate with and support other modes including buses, trains, cycling and walking.

“It is not a case of light rail on its own, and Cambridge Connect supports an integrated approach that optimises the benefits of different modes where most appropriate. To implement a scheme in practice, investment is now needed at the right scale to enable a detailed work programme to commence. We would support government and private sector commitments to enable that work,” said the group.

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