14th Nov, 2019

Traffic modelling needs improving before Sprint bus project moves on, states council

John Carlon 8th Nov, 2019

HIGHWAYS bosses at Solihull Council are urging Transport for the West Midlands to improve traffic modelling, before a scheme to speed up bus travel on the A45 goes any further.

TfWM is working on a project to introduce ‘Sprint rapid bus’ routes in the West Midlands, including a route on the A45 from Solihull to Birmingham.

The longer tram-style buses could provide fast and reliable journeys along some of the region’s busiest roads, the transit agency has said.

In a report prepared for Solihull Council’s economy scrutiny board, transport officers urged TfWM to improve traffic prediction models.

Their response to a recent A45 consultation stated: “Further work is required by TfWM to demonstrate that the future performance of the highway network is acceptable, when taking into account additional demand due to background traffic growth and traffic generated as a result [of the] development.”

“Further dialogue is needed between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and SMBC’s traffic division to agree the basis of this modelling work and to demonstrate that the future performance of the highway network is acceptable.”

The highways department also stressed the need for the agencies to be clear about the types of signs needed at junctions on the Sprint route.

Losing roadside trees along the route has raised further concerns at Solihull council. Officers are now suggesting the Sprint project will need offsetting for any biodiversity loss, along with replacing screening for affected residents.

Proposals to make passengers buy tickets before boarding Sprint buses were also a cause for concern for the council, as officers worried ticket machines could become targets for vandalism.

Junctions and signage are areas for further development, according to the consultation, specifically around Hobs Moat Road between the Wheatsheaf and Melton Avenue.

Separately, Transport for the West Midlands suggested the Sprint route would benefit from new models of bus shelter, with integrated smart timetable displays and free wi-fi.

TfWM stated: “Between 2008 and 2018, 216,000 fewer people were within a 45 minute bus journey to Birmingham City centre due to the increase in traffic congestion impacting journey times. With its dedicated bus lanes, Sprint will avoid traffic congestion.

“These measures along with high quality vehicles will provide reliable and enjoyable journeys, encouraging residents, business owners, and visitors to choose Sprint buses as an alternative to the car. This will help reduce congestion and air pollution on the regions roads.”

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