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Results from a survey on how easy it is for Portsmouth residents to get around the city were discussed by Traffic, Environment & Community Safety Scrutiny panel this week. 

Over 1,300 residents have shared their views on getting around the city and the results and how concerns will be addressed are due to be discussed at a decision meeting next week.

Portsmouth City Council carried out a review into accessibility of the transport network last December and using this feedback the Traffic, Environment & Community Safety Scrutiny Panel are proposing a number of improvements.

National research has shown that the ease with which individuals can ‘get around’ has a significant impact on their life chances, health and wellbeing. It is essential to productivity and sustainable economic growth. The Portsmouth survey sought to understand key areas where improvements could be made in areas such as bus, rail, taxis, walking and cycling networks and the road surface.

Many of those who took part in the survey frequently use local buses. While many aspects of buses were rated positively, respondents highlighted a number of challenges that they had encountered with bus travel. These included pricing and affordability, issues with routes and locations of the stops. There were also concerns over frequency and reliability of services. Many of these issues are hoped to be addressed working with bus operators through the implementation of the National Bus Strategy once funding levels have been confirmed by government. It is suggested the council could consider a more connected, simpler and more affordable approach to ticketing.

Respondents to the survey gave mixed feedback on train travel, however it was identified that people believed Fratton and Hilsea were the least accessible stations in the city. Proposals include working with the train operators to look at how these concerns can be addressed.

In the survey feedback, taxis were praised for giving clear information on arrival times, but there were concerns about the availability of wheelchair accessible taxis and the accessibility of vehicles. Improving access at taxi ranks was suggested as one way to improve the service.

Feedback about cycling identified that people would be more likely to cycle if the network of safer routes continued to grow. The council has a number of projects underway to achieve this. Respondents that walk also fed back concerns of people cycling on pavements. It is proposed that the council will work with the police to look at how they can address this. Further to this it is proposed that further promotional activity takes place to create greater awareness of the Routes4U app that will help wheelchair users, people with buggies and other people with accessibility needs to identify the best route for their journey.

Respondents raised concerns about the surface or some roads and paths that hinders their accessibility. In some cases, specific locations were highlighted, and it is proposed this will be investigated with Colas.

Cllr Lee Mason, Scrutiny Panel Chair, said: “The ease with which residents and visitors can travel has a significant impact on their lifestyle, health and wellbeing. This is why reviewing the survey findings is essential in ensuring the council continues to take important steps in making the transport network accessible to all wherever possible.”

Traffic, Environment & Community Safety Scrutiny Panel took place on Tuesday 22 March.

For more information on the survey results visit https://yourcityyoursay.portsmouth.gov.uk/accessibility-of-the-transport-network-consultation/