Transforming Travel - A case for change

Revolutionising how we all get about is the overarching ambition of BCP and Dorset Councils. Our £100million plus Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) is the start of the journey for the local Transforming Travel - TCF programme.

This funding gives us a once in a generation opportunity to create a step-change in local sustainable transport options for everyone. At the same time we can also tackle traffic congestion hotspots and improve air quality. This complete change in approach to how we all travel will deliver:

  • quieter neighbourhoods
  • new continental style dual use walking and cycleways
  • better connectivity around the conurbation
  • improved quality of life for everyone.


Our city region suffers from a range of transport challenges. Its unique geography, incomplete strategic transport network and lack of joined up travel infrastructure has led to high car usage for people who live and work in, or visit, the area.

There is also a lack of connectivity to the wider area, in particular to Bristol and the west of England. Highway links from the city region to Southampton and London are also constrained, with high levels of congestion and relatively long travel times.

Recent reports have identified the south-east Dorset city region area as the third most congested place in the UK, and 56th most congested in the world with east Dorset having the highest car ownership levels in England and Wales.

Between 2011 to 2018:

  • traffic volumes increased by approximately 4% 
  • peak hour car journey times increased by approximately 20%.

Walking and cycling at the fore

In July 2020 the government announced a heightened focus on walking and cycling measures. They made new funding available for local authorities to put new infrastructure in place to support these activities via their Gear Change vision, focused on four themes of:

  • better streets for cycling and people
  • cycling and walking at the heart of decision making
  • empowering and encouraging local authorities
  • enabling people to cycle and protecting them when they do.

These new measures put an emphasis on creating more infrastructure to help us make walking and cycling more attractive for everyone. The pandemic has had a profound effect on how we look at how we travel. Many more people have made the most of the quieter roads and streets, with lots of people trying cycling or longer walks than ever before.

Cleaner air

One of the aims of the Transforming Travel - TCF programme is to look at improving air quality.

The main sources of pollutants are motor vehicles and industrial sources. The data modelling for the impact of Transforming Travel - TCF showed noticeable benefits to the public, backed up by reliable data.

Promoting sustainable travel will reduce harmful emissions, improve air quality, provide healthy choices and provide better connected communities, to improve local health and wellbeing.

The climate emergency

Both BCP Council and Dorset Council made Climate and Ecological Emergency declarations in 2019. The Transforming Travel programme - TCF, with its emphasis on sustainability and tackling air quality, will help both councils realise their climate ambitions.

The Transforming Cities Fund, with its emphasis on sustainability, tackling air quality and the new focus on walking and cycling with the government’s Gear Change initiative, will help help both councils with their climate emergency ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Aims and objectives

We want to create a positive change to the local transport network that: 

  • creates safer journeys to schools
  • allows easier access to jobs, businesses and activities
  • encourages economic growth and prosperity
  • enables an increase in productivity
  • reduces inequality
  • improves connectivity within the local area and beyond
  • reduces congestion
  • reduces road related injuries and deaths
  • enhances travel choice
  • encourages significant investment from private sector transport operators
  • improves health and wellbeing for the population
  • reduces carbon emissions leading to better air quality.  

Working in partnership

We are committed to working together with Dorset Council to deliver the three-year TCF programme.

Additionally, local public transport and local sustainable transport providers will support the TCF programme and be consulted on the planning and delivery of a number of elements within the overall programme.

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