Portsmouth residents and businesses are being urged to have their say on a proposed thirty-year transport strategy for the South East which aims to improve journeys, boost the economy and protect the environment.
The strategy outlines how, with the right investment in our region’s transport network, the South East's economy will more than double by 2050 to between £450bn and £500bn per year. This will create an additional 500,000 jobs, boost quality of life and give access to opportunities for all, helping cut the South East’s carbon emissions to net-zero.
A major focus of the strategy is reducing the region’s reliance on private cars to reduce congestion, cut carbon emissions and improve air quality. Today, cars account for 70% of all journeys in the South East compared with just 4% by rail and 5% by bus. It also highlights how better transport links can support economic growth around our key international gateways, such as the International Port, which are vital to the local, regional and national economy.
The strategy also presents a real opportunity to build a consensus on a way forward for the main routes in South Hampshire, including the M27 and A27, which currently provide poor connectivity and journey times.
It has been produced by Transport for the South East, a unique partnership bringing together local authorities, business leaders and transport organisations to speak with one voice on our region’s transport priorities.
To do this, the strategy sets out a thirty-year framework to guide decisions about where, when and how money is invested in the South East’s transport network, along with a range of schemes and initiatives to make sustainable travel easier and more attractive to people and businesses. These could include better and faster rail journeys, improved links to ports and airports, a real-terms freeze on rail fares, cheaper off-peak fares and extra funding to protect and enhance vital bus services.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation said: "I would encourage you to take part and have your say in this survey which aims to make real improvements to connectivity of the South East. The draft transport strategy identifies priorities for future investment by looking at the challenges people and businesses will face in moving around the region and the opportunities these present to support sustainable economic growth."
These include a range of specific schemes as well as wider policies and initiatives. For example, the strategy argues for greater use of new and emerging technology such as Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) to boost connectivity. It makes the case for policy changes to enable more joined up planning, particularly between transport and housing, to help reduce the need to travel and build more sustainable communities. And the strategy also recognises that tough decisions will need to be made about how, not if, we manage demand on the busiest parts of our transport networks.
The final transport strategy is due for publication in April 2020, with a strategic investment plan that aims to be published in 2021. This will provide a prioritised, costed and deliverable list of schemes, initiatives and policies to start turning the South East’s vision into reality.
Have your say - Read the draft transport strategy and take part in the consultation. The deadline for responses is Friday 10 January 2020.