Whilst the levels of traffic in an area are an indicator of economic growth and an individual’s prosperity, there are negative impacts on people’s health and their overall quality of life. Traffic can also put pressure on resources such as emergency services. Warwickshire has a significant motorway and trunk road network which carries high traffic volumes through the county. This affects road casualty levels, resulting in a high casualty rate when compared to Warwickshire’s resident population.
The use of public transport enables people to enjoy a better quality of life as it provides access a wider range of services and facilities.
What are the big issues?
Warwickshire has strong transport links and is a desirable place to live for commuters helped by its train connections, access to the road network, and access to Birmingham airport. There is also a strong tourist industry within the county where attractions include Stratford’s RSC Theatre, Kenilworth and Warwick Castle.
The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in road traffic accidents on Warwickshire roads has reduced significantly over the last 20 years with 770 recorded KSI in 1994 compared to 306 in 2017. Over the last three years the rate of KSI has settled at an average of 310 per year. Stratford-on-Avon District has the highest number of people KSI in road traffic accidents but also has significantly the greatest length of road network. However, the number of KSI decreased between 2016 and 2017 in all boroughs/districts except North Warwickshire Borough (up 34%). There has been a reduction in the number of fatalities in Rugby Borough between 2016 and 2017, down from 10 to 4 (-60%), but an increase in all other districts/boroughs: North Warwickshire Borough (up from 2 to 9); Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough (up from 2 to 5); Stratford-on-Avon District (up from 6 to 12) and Warwick District (up from 3 to 4).
With congestion such an important issue for Warwickshire, the Warwickshire Local Transport Plan for 2011-2026 outlines policies to help reduce it. These include changing travel habits, promoting public transport usage, improving and expanding park & ride facilities, and increasing capacity at congestion hotspots.
High Speed Two (HS2) is the high speed rail network with construction set to begin in 2017 and reaching Birmingham by 2026. The proposed Phase Two known as the ‘Y’ route which extends the line to Leeds is due for completion by 2033, with continued uncertainty for communities in North Warwickshire whilst the details of the route are still being finalised.
What do we need to do?
In April 2011, Warwickshire County Council produced its third Local Transport Plan (2011 to 2026) which includes a Strategy for Public Transport. The vision of this strategy is to provide ‘an affordable, accessible, safe, convenient, environmentally sustainable and integrated public transport network, capable of attracting an increasing market share for public transport thereby contributing to the achievement of the objectives in Warwickshire’s Local Transport Plan’.
Who needs to know?