The Transport Policy Service encompasses four main areas of activity:
- Transport Planning and Policy
- Transport Projects and Studies
- Traffic Modelling
- Sustainable Movement
Together we look at the transport requirements throughout Somerset and work out the best way to achieve a comprehensive and efficient transport network. This includes research and analysis of data to establish current transport needs and to predict what will be required in future. We work out how best to deliver those future needs, then make sure that these are planned in association with new employment and housing development across the county.
What we do
A large part of our work is about testing various options to deliver the right strategy for transport improvements in future. We can then identify and secure the funding to build new infrastructure if necessary, or change the existing infrastructure to better serve the network. The team produces many of the bids the council makes for additional funds to deliver transport infrastructure, such as those for the Taunton Third Way, Northern Inner Distributor Road or the recent Bridgwater LSTF project.
Each area has a wide remit of responsibilities and they work together to realise the aims and aspirations of the Future Transport Plan and the overarching aims of the Council.
Transport planning and policy
From Active Travel through to Zebra Crossings the role of transport planning and policy is to determine the, most efficient and cost effective way for everyone in Somerset to use the transport network, and then recommend policies that deliver it. We look at all forms of transport including trains, buses, cars, motorcycles, bicycles and on foot.
Most of our work relies on technical evidence and best practice as its starting point, but to ensure that it is relevant to Somerset and in a form that everyone can have access to, we research, consult, write and update our policies and strategies on a regular basis. The main overarching document that guides this policy framework is the Future Transport Plan.
We submit bids on behalf of the council for larger-scale transport infrastructure such as the Taunton Third Way, Northern Inner Distributor Road (NIDR) and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) bids. We also bid for smaller pots of money as and when these arise, using the data and evidence that underpins the council’s transport strategies.
We work together with other areas of the County Council and the district councils to offer advice and guidance on transport issues and areas of national transport policy. This is most often related to planned urban development across the county.
Transport projects and studies
We prepare detailed proposals for complex transport projects, town transport studies, or specific requests to test the transport impacts of various growth scenarios. These projects and studies are then put forward for consultation with stakeholders, partners and the general public. Or they are fed back to the party that requested the work (often District councils, although we also work with Highways England and various consultants with interests in large-scale development proposals).
One of the specific strands of work in this area is developing the cycle network across the county.
Our Transport Projects and Studies team has recently produced two applications for funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) Local Pinch Point Fund. These applications are for specific improvements to Creech Castle junction, Taunton and improvements to the Yeovil Western Corridor. There are copies of these submissions in Downloads.
Detailed proposals are prepared for complex transport projects such as Taunton Pedestrianisation, town transport studies, or specific requests to test the transport impacts of various growth scenarios. Once developed to an appropriate stage, these projects and studies are then put forward for consultation with stakeholders, partners and the general public, or fed back to the party that requested the work (often district councils, although we also work with Highways England and various consultants with interests in large-scale development proposals). Taking these technical projects forward ensures that robust and cost effective schemes can be developed and pursued. Our expertise enables us to offer advice and guidance on a number of major projects such as A303 upgrade.
One of the specific strands of work in this area is developing the cycle network across the county. Encouraging and enabling cycling can support the delivery of many of the council’s aims from health to economic growth, as well as addressing some of our transport problems such as peak time congestion. By evaluating current conditions and developing plans for the future cycle network, we can influence future investments in the highway network and the form of future housing and business developments to make it easier and more attractive for more people to cycle more often.
To predict the effect a new road layout or a change to an existing road layout will have on the traffic in a specific area, or the impact a new development will have on traffic flows, we carry out transport modelling. Data from traffic surveys is programmed into a computer model that shows the likely changes in traffic behaviour and estimated vehicle numbers and movements. From this, our traffic modellers can advise planning officers whether the proposed changes will adversely affect the current transport network and suggest adjustments that could improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.
We have long recognised the benefits of sustainable modes of transport and is committed to encouraging residents, businesses and visitors to the county to adopt a positive, healthy lifestyle which embraces walking and cycling as a regular part of their daily routine wherever possible. To make it easier for people to choose sustainable travel the council commissions schemes such as Repair and Ride, which offers workplace bicycle servicing. We also work closely with public health colleagues and the NHS to maximise the impact of investment in active travel modes as a means to improve the health, fitness and wellbeing of citizens across Somerset.
We take every opportunity to bid for additional funds to secure sustainable travel investment in Somerset and have recently secured £3.9m from the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund to deliver a package of improvements in Bridgwater.
General enquiries and electronic copies of documents are free. A charge will be made for printed copies of documents where these are available.
Please get in touch with us for more information.