Transforming Travel and Transforming Cites Fund - what's it all about
In the first of our blogs about plans to transform local travel in the south east Dorset conurbation, Councillor Mike Greene, BCP Council and Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council explain what the TCF programme is all about and how it will build a greener, healthier and better-connected south east Dorset.
Councillors Mike Greene of BCP Council and Ray Bryan of Dorset Council
Back in March 2020, BCP Council and Dorset Council were jointly awarded £79m by the Department for Transport (DfT) from their Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). TCF is a nationwide, multi-billion-pound DfT initiative, which aims to improve productivity and prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport. We were one of only 12 city regions in the UK to be awarded a grant.
One of the terms of this grant was the requirement to raise additional funds through other local sources. We succeeded in raising a further £23m from existing Council resources allocated for road improvements, our transport partners and local business development organisations. This has given us a total TCF programme budget of £102m.
So how can we ensure we invest this huge sum in a way that ensures we get the best results for our residents? Well, Bournemouth is the 3rd most congested town in the UK. We have increasing volumes of traffic and high levels of car ownership. This, combined with our unique geography, gives us high levels of air pollution which can have a lasting effect on our health and our children’s health; and is one of the main reasons why Dorset as a whole has declared a climate and ecological emergency.
Many of us are guilty of taking a large number of short, car journeys each day – journeys that we really don’t need to take by car but the lack of sustainable transport infrastructure and the poor condition of our bus stops is discouraging people from choosing public or active forms of transport. We have to do something to encourage the greater use of sustainable transport in our urban area, particularly for short journeys. And yes, that means leaving our cars at home and using buses, bikes, scooters, or even simply walking to get around.
This is the strategy behind Transforming Travel, our overarching initiative to promote changes in the way that people travel in the South East Dorset city region. TCF is the first programme to be delivered under Transforming Travel and will be the largest sustainable transport infrastructure investment programme ever seen in Dorset.
You may have seen our outline plans for six new sustainable transport corridors, which will link the urban area together. If not, click on this link to find out more. Our aim is to create an environment where sustainable travel becomes the preferred transport choice for local journeys. It is these shorter journeys by car which most need to be reduced if we are going to achieve our goals of reducing congestion and pollution.
But this also has a knock-on benefit. We all know that increasing levels of obesity in our society are a major cause of poor health, which in turn increases pressure on our already struggling NHS. Quite simply, we all need to take more exercise. But one of the key reasons people give as to why they do not cycle or walk, is not feeling safe whilst using our roads. Our urban area has limited cycling infrastructure and our bus routes need new facilities to make them more attractive to users. A programme of investment in sustainable transport infrastructure will encourage people to leave their cars at home and chose a more active and greener form of transport.
We have decided to meet this challenge head on. We are using the TCF funding to create 78kms of new cycle and walk-ways across the south east Dorset city region. Added to this, we will build new, modern bus shelters, equipped with smart technology that provides instant information on approaching bus services. All to encourage the greater use of our public and sustainable transport networks.
But these are only a few of the activities encompassed within TCF’s three-year investment programme. Why not go to www.transformingtravel.info to find out more about the programme, the proposed routes and all the TCF funded improvements in your local area. You can also sign up to receive regular email updates on the programme. Why not give us a click today!