Good morning, another lively week has passed with lots of changes happening around the U.K. People are trying to get back into the swing of working again, although we still have no idea at all how industries like Retail will recover or if at all. The social cohesion of of pubs and restaurants is still not there, however the roads are rapidly returning to the state they were before lockdown, especially when car parks are all opened again around BCP. Todays post firstly gives a request from the leader of BCP Council Cllr Slade, whom I’ve been in constant contact with since lockdown on Cycling and Walking matters, whilst I know readers of this are the informed, who are aware of how good that we have things in the area compared with other Councils, please still observe the following and do whatever we can to influence others with these points:-
- Stick to cycling speed limits of 10mph on shared space
- Stick to the ‘pedestrians have priority’ rules on shared space
- Ask cyclists to instal and to use a bell or a courteous ‘excuse me’ when approaching (Especially from behind)
- Maintain more than 2m social distance
- Not travel in groups as this is still not allowed and flouting the government rules
- Where travelling in family groups or with one other person from another home to drop to single file when passing others
Now onto the post today- more partner work. Bournemouth University is one of the biggest commuter sites in the area and does much to promote Active Travel. Our regular contributor to the forum Richard Wintrip shared these details with me about how this large employer and educational establishment is working on the aims of BHAT.
BU Travel Plan and promotion of Active Travel
BU is a major higher education institution, which is home to approximately 20,000 students and 1,800 staff and multiple visitors generate a significant number of trips to/from/between our two main campus sites in the conurbation at the Lansdowne and at Talbot Campus.
The university has had a Travel Plan in place since 2003, which has achieved the following notable changes in travel behaviours over 3 iterations of the plan:
- A reduction in the proportion of single occupancy staff car travel to campus between 2003 and 2018 (from 67% down to 46%)
- A reduction in the proportion of single occupancy student car travel to campus between 2003 and 2019 from (15% down to 5%).
In October 2019 the university launched a refreshed travel plan which seeks to address environmental challenges associated with our travel at the following levels:
- On campus: To improve the accessibility and quality of the campus environment and to allow the campus to operate effectively;
- Local level: A large number of commuting and business journeys are generated each day by BU. This activity contributes to local traffic congestion and air pollution;
- Global level: BU’s travel activities generate carbon emissions which contribute towards the warming of the planet.
The new plan has 4 objectives:
- To maximise opportunities for sustainable and active travel modes and, in doing so, reduce the number of cars driving to and from BU’s campuses;
- To limit the environmental impact of BU’s activities
- To enable strategic campus development to be delivered in a sustainable and inclusive manner
- To enhance travel opportunities and limit the environmental impact of travel using technical innovation and collaboration with external stakeholders
At the heart of the Travel Plan is the promotion of a sustainable travel hierarchy, which seeks to reduce the need to travel and then promote active travel modes as the next best option for student and staff journeys.
The plan has set targets to measure it’s success against the objectives. Different modal targets have been set for Talbot and Lansdowne campus sites to reflect the operational and locational characteristics of each site:
The plan also sets out a number of qualitative targets such as: a commitment to robust transport related carbon reporting; supporting strategic campus development; and seeking opportunities for research and collaborative projects to support the delivery of Travel Plan objectives.
Delivery of the Travel Plan
The Travel Plan will be delivered by continuing to provide the most successful/impactful measures introduced through previous iterations of the Travel Plan. Active Travel examples include:
- The promotion of Walking and Bicycle User Groups for staff and students to facilitate communication and engagement;
- the provision of regular, free Dr Bike sessions on campus;
- the provision of a low cost annual bike hire scheme through Hope 2 Cycle;
- staff electric bikes to ‘try before you buy’;
- Subsidised D locks and free bike security tagging
The Travel Plan will also seek to introduce new and enhanced measures related to Active Travel:
- Promotion of the Bery Bike share scheme and provision of on campus bays
- Delivery of planned improvements to active travel facilities (secure parking, showers, lockers, drying facilities)
- A refreshed communication strategy to promote the benefits of active travel
- Close collaboration with BCP relating to active travel infrastructure to remove barriers to active travel
The Travel Plan recognises that in order to achieve the modal targets set, changes to travel policy will be required to manage the demand for car parking and to bring about mode shift. The Travel Plan sets out a 3 phase parking strategy which seeks to reduce the number of days each week/month that parking permit holders can park on campus and this will be complemented by a review of parking charges (prices and mechanisms).
Although it early days, the refreshed Travel Plan has already delivered a number of Active Travel measures since it launched in October, including:
- A bikeability type training courses designed, funded and provided for students and staff delivered by BCP in collaboration with Beryl Bikes;
- A programme of retrofitting cycle changing rooms with drying facilities is underway;
- The staff cycle to work scheme limit has been increased to £3k to promote the uptake of electric bike use;
- The university has been actively consulting with BCP over infrastructure scheme such as Wallisdown Road; Boundary Roundabout and the Lansdowne Urban realm project
- The purchase of 20,000 Beryl Bike minutes to provide to students and staff to encourage the bus of Beryl Bikes
Since the launch of the refreshed Travel Plan the University Board has approved an aspiration for the BU to become carbon net neutral by 2030. Working is currently underway on a new Carbon Management Plan. The scope of this plan will include Scope 3 student and staff commuter emissions for the first time.
The impact and opportunities of COVID-19
The Bournemouth University campus sites have been closed since 24 March. During this time students have been receiving their academic teaching online and staff have been working from home and utilising technology to undertake meetings by video conferencing.
The recovery plans for the reopening of the university are currently being worked up and will continue to evolve over the coming weeks. What is becoming clear is that a ‘new norm’ will require many of us to think carefully about how and when we travel. The BU Travel Plan is well aligned to this need.
Active Travel is going to become increasing important given the social distancing rules around pubic transport and queuing to access shops etc. Historically the majority of BU students normally choose to travel to campus by public transport, but this may need to change in September (or whenever students return) due to the limited number of passengers that public transport vehicles will be able to safely. The travel behavior of staff is also going likely need to change.
The Government has announced additional funding for emergency interventions to make cycling and walking safer during this period. Pop-up bike lanes; wider pavements and Cycle and bus-only streets are the sort of interventions which can be considered by local authorities. BU will be seeking to collaborate with BCP and BH Active Travel to explore opportunities for such schemes, which would support travel to campus sites, once re-opened for academic activity. One possible idea would be re-prioritise road space and traffic signaling on the Lansdowne Road/Wimborne Road at Cemetery Junction, in order to encourage a direct and safer cycling arterial route between the campus sites. The perceived risk of cycling this route has long been a ‘barrier’ to active travel for many students and staff.
The current situation has led to a signficant reduction in road congestion in the local area, as highlighted by Tom Tom traffic data in Figure 1. New ways of working and an increased uptake in active travel would present the local area with the following benefits:
- Improved air quality
- Lower CO2 emissions;
- Better health and welling being amongst the local population
- Fewer road casualties
Figure 1 – Source Tom Tom Traffic data – 24 April 2020
We should do all we can to ensure we seize the opportunities that a new norm presents to us.
Thanks to Richard for this, and we look forward to any changes that BCP can make soon. As I also reflected there have been road closures in BCP area many times before, I was sent this recently which shows the Christchurch LEAF event back in 2000, 2001-
Anything can happen, if there are people that want to make it happen.
“The last full Christchurch Local Ecology and Arts Festival (LEAF) festival was in 2001. We ran a couple of leafesque-type activities after that (lantern procession etc).
The bike rides probably started in 1998’ish, running each year with 1000 bikes. In 2000 and 2001 we organised 2000 bikes. We asked people to meet at Stanpit Recreation ground where we had music and lots of welcoming activities, numbering the bikes and offering to dress any that hadn’t come already dressed up. We organised live music along the route and at the end.
The route itself was along Stanpit Road, Bridge Street and into the town centre, ending opposite the town hall where people threaded through to Druitt Gardens. We had stalls and activities in the town centre and a woodland festival atmosphere with more stalls, food, storytelling, music and wildlife and arts activities in the gardens. We worked with the police to close the roads throughout. We found it better to have a full road closure rather than opening and closing as cyclists passed.
It was a really wonderful and quite a powerful event and, hopefully, something that people remember taking part in. The idea was to promote cycling and persuade the council to give it a higher priority.”
Bournemouth Parks In Mind
Have a good week, we will be in touch soon about a Zoom meeting for the original Forum meeting 02 June. Jason, Angela, Marc.