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GRO4 - Using transport investment to drive growth

GRO4 - Using transport investment to drive growth


The Plan will help deliver targeted integrated transport measures to help support the sustainable growth of Plymouth, in accordance with the vision, objectives and policies of the Joint Local Plan.

Image Bus
Image Trains
Image Park Ride
Photo by Mat Reding


The city will deliver targeted integrated transport measures to help support the sustainable growth of Plymouth, in accordance with the vision, objectives and policies of the Joint Local Plan. These include:

  1. Continuing to support the High Quality Public Transport Network and improve public and sustainable transport services through, where appropriate, subsidies and new infrastructure.
  2. Maintaining, improving and expanding the network of Park & Ride facilities and services, addressing the needs of both Derriford and the City Centre including a new facility at Deep Lane, exploring suitable locations for new facilities and considering the reallocation of space at existing sites.
  3. Continuing to support and develop new and existing local passenger ferry services, by working with stakeholders.
  4. Working with partners to promote improved and more resilient local rail services, through developing and communicating the Plymouth/Devon Metro concept, reinstating the Tavistock to Plymouth branch line and investigating the need for new rail stations.
  5. Improving facilities and services to encourage cycling, including continued delivery of Plymouth's Strategic Cycle Network.
  6. Investing in a range of measures to enable and encourage more journeys to be made on foot, including maintaining and expanding the network of Public Rights Of Way and trails.
  7. Continuing to support and where feasible expand Community Transport schemes.
  8. Supporting and promoting car sharing and the establishment of coordinated car clubs in new developments.
  9. Developing our Intelligent Transport Systems to increase the efficiency of the highway network to make best use of its assets.
  10. Partnership working with neighbouring authorities and Highways England to ensure effective operation of the local and strategic road network and the interface between the two.
  11. Development and implementation of powers to reduce the impact of works being undertaken by statutory providers.
  12. Management of demand for travel through the application of accessibility based car parking standards, charging policy for car parks to discourage commuting by car, and targeted fiscal based management strategies in major employment locations.
  13. Use of smarter choices and travel planning to provide and promote travel choice, through the planning process.
  14. Facilitating efficient freight movements at all spatial scales, with due consideration for the most appropriate mode of travel for the freight being transported, including encouraging and enabling low emission logistics, and working with operators to identify and deliver appropriate facilities.
  15. Developing and delivering targeted infrastructure interventions, consistent with the long term vision and objectives for transport set out in the Joint Local Plan.


The overall framework and strategic approach for transport and planning is set out in the Joint Local Plan. The above policy explains in more detail the approach that will be taken in Plymouth to support the city's growth.

A hierarchy of measures will be applied when developing transport solutions, interventions and delivery plans:

1. First priority will be to actively apply 'softer' measures which encourage and enable use of sustainable means of travel rather than the car. Such measures include:

  • Travel planning, including personalised travel planning, which the LPA may require of new developments;
  • Setting up car clubs;
  • Providing car sharing facilities;
  • Encouraging 'active travel' - walking and cycling which also have clear health benefits;
  • Promoting the use of public transport.

2. Secondly, the city will continue to work with service operators to develop an integrated strategic High Quality Public Transport (HQPT) Network, with the initial focus on key high quality public transport corridors, connecting Plymouth's three Growth Areas (City Centre and the Waterfront; Derriford and the Northern Corridor; Eastern Corridor). In these areas, growth will lead to an increased demand for travel which will be met through an improved, integrated, multi modal transport network, delivered in accordance with the Joint Local Plan's Transport Hierarchy, which provides people with genuine travel choice. Key to the creation of attractive and popular public transport services will be a combination of:

  • Safe, accessible and attractive bus stops and interchanges;
  • Access to the latest technology for both journey planning and ticketing;
  • Ongoing investment in modern vehicles with the latest emissions and accessibility standards;
  • The delivery of a more efficient public transport network by providing improved connectivity, more accessible information, reduced journey times and increased
    reliability, and that achieving these relative to the private car are essential to achieve our mode shift targets.

3. Finally, it is recognised that it will be necessary to invest in targeted network improvements to reduce journey times and increase journey time reliability for public transport users thereby increasing accessibility by public transport to all parts of the city and promoting sustainable growth.

The aspiration is for the HQPT Network to have the following attributes:

  1. A clearly defined, high quality, integrated and efficient network for buses, coaches, walking, cycling, trains and ferries.
  2. Modern good quality, clean and welcoming mass transit vehicles operating at regular frequencies.
  3. Safe, accessible and attractive bus stop and interchange environments with real time electronic information displays at key locations.
  4. Bus priority measures delivered where feasible along the entire HQPT Bus Network to ensure reliability and efficiency.
  5. Built-in flexibility to allow for responding to new technologies and funding opportunities.
  6. Multi-operator ticketing and smart/contactless-payment options through technologies designed to speed up passenger boarding times and remove a perceived barrier to travel by non-bus users.

The delivery of such a network will require strong leadership and partnership working with public transport operators, with the City Council playing a key role in influencing and creating the right environment for the required investment in the HQPT Network.

Road and rail connectivity

The city will work with its partners in the south west to promote and secure radical improvements to the quality and resilience of Plymouth’s road and rail connectivity.

Plymouth needs a well performing Strategic Road Network that supports the economy through:

  • Improvements to the A303 identified in the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) as part of RIS2.
  • Improvements to the strategic road networks that connect Plymouth and South West Devon to wider markets, including improving journey time reliability on the A38/M5/M4 corridors and on the second corridor to London and the south east via the A303/A358/A30 corridor.
  • Strengthening the strategic role of the A38 in supporting economic growth in Plymouth and South West Devon, and Cornwall, including delivering an improvement plan for the A38 and investigating the case and options for upgrading the road to a high standard.

Plymouth needs a resilient railway that has fast journey times with sufficient capacity and connectivity to and from Plymouth.
The Peninsula Rail Task Force report "Closing the gap: The South West Peninsula strategic rail blueprint", sets out the priorities for investment in the peninsular railway.

Immediate priorities to 2019 are:

  • Invest up to £350m in resilience, including commencing the securing of the main rail line through Dawlish and Teignmouth.
  • Completion of committed flood relief schemes at Cowley Bridge, Hele andBradninch.
  • Replace most of the existing rolling stock used by Cross Country Trains with new rolling stock capable of operating along the seawall at Dawlish when waves are
  • Commit to funding an outline business case for the diversionary route East of Exeter as set out in 'Speed to the West'.
  • Invest £22m in GRIP 3 options for reducing journey times.
  • Increase frequency to two direct trains an hour from Plymouth to London in the new franchise, reducing journey times by up to 10 minutes, whilst at least maintaining
    existing services.
  • Work with the rail industry to maximise the benefits of new trains from December 2018 and invest £25m to make our journeys more productive through on board
    travelling office, by providing continuous media and mobile/Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Invest £1.5m in the development of Tavistock to Plymouth design.
  • Undertake the line speed improvements and move from 60mph to 75mph between Totnes and Hemerdon (Plymouth) as part of the track renewals already programmed by Network Rail.

Over the medium term to 2029, we are focused on gaining continuing investment:

  • Increase train capacity on Cross Country services, especially between Exeter and Bristol.
  • Fund a resilient network not susceptible to regular disruption due to adverse weather, including completing Dawlish seawall and cliffs resilience, the diversionary route between Exeter and Castle Cary and estuary flood protection.
  • Invest £1.5bn to reduce journey times by up to 14 minutes to Penzance, through infrastructure improvements, partial electrification and franchise renewals.
  • Invest £150m reducing journey times and increasing core capacity on the Exeter - Waterloo line.
  • Invest £358m to improve capacity and comfort through new rolling stock, infrastructure enhancements and phased opening of the Northern Route.
  • Increase frequency to two trains an hour west of Exeter to Bristol and the Midlands.

The development of the road and rail network needs to keep pace with economic and population growth in the city and across the South West Peninsula.

To support planned growth and maintain competitiveness both regionally and nationally there needs to be resilience in the strategic road network, a reduction in journey times and improved journey time reliability. The maintenance and enhancement of the A38 is crucial to the growth of the city and therefore we will seek to ensure that the A38 meets appropriate standards between Plymouth and Exeter and that the A38 and its key interchanges with the Local Road Network in Plymouth and the urban fringe are enhanced, including at Deep Lane, Marsh Mills, Forder Valley, Manadon and St. Budeaux.

The ongoing call for investment in better rail connectivity across the South West Peninsula also remains unchanged. In November 2016 the Peninsula Rail Task Force published its 20 year plan for rail in the South West - ‘Closing the Gap’ the South West Peninsula strategic rail blueprint. The 20 year plan is based on a 3-point plan, of resilience, improved journey times and connectivity and greater capacity and comfort. Its intention is to redress decades of under-funding and create and support economic growth in the South West Peninsula through a sequenced programme of investment in and delivery on the rail network over an agreed time frame.

The building and financing of the high speed train fleet for the south west is a crucial step towards addressing the decades of under-funding of rail in the south west and an end to some of the 40 year old rolling stock operating in the region. New trains, with automatic passenger doors, better performance in terms of acceleration and deceleration and faster top speeds will help bring about incremental reductions in journey times before the end of the Great Western Franchise, contributing to journey time savings that are essential to achieving economic growth.

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