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Access to Deeside Industrial Park & Garden City Hub, Local Transport Fund bid and North East Wales Bus Strategy - Agito was commissioned by Flintshire County Council (FCC) to carry out a study to examine options for enhanced public transport links for the Deeside Industrial Park (D.I.P.). Shortly after commencing work on the study, Agito was additionally asked by FCC to provide short notice consultant support to develop a bid to the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund for 2017/18 & 2018/19 for funding the schemes proposed for improving access into D.I.P. Although the proposals were still at an early stage of development, scheme descriptions and outline costs were included in the LTF bid. This bid was submitted to Welsh Government in March 2017 and was successful in securing partial funding of nearly £1 million for 2017/18.

The overall study began with a review in the context of a whole journey to be undertaken by someone unfamiliar with the existing bus service provision to D.I.P. and needing to research their travel options, and identified a large number of deficiencies in the existing information and infrastructure. Recommendations were made for new and significantly enhanced infrastructure across D.I.P. and for a new, dedicated Travel Co-ordinator, and an online portal for service information.

In the context of the proposed North East Wales Metro scheme and a potential new Deeside Parkway railway station on the Wrexham – Bidston line, the study reviewed the network of publicly funded transport into D.I.P. to consider how the services integrated with the rest of the public transport network, and whether the bus services afforded the best access to employment opportunities for residents of Flintshire and beyond. As a result, the study proposed a number of revisions to the routes and timetables of existing services to create an even headway of journeys, following a common route through the D.I.P. and renumbering, rebranding and promotion to denote an integrated network.

To reduce journey times by bus travelling to and through D.I.P., and to signal a clear message that the bus has advantages over the private car within the Park, a number of opportunities for new bus-only links and/or enhanced bus priority were identified, taking account of the proposed Northern Gateway and Airfields development sites, along with a phased approach for implementation. The study also considered options for a bus-bus interchange hub at Garden City, before recommending the enhancement of on-highway passenger facilities at an existing local centre.

Finally, the study provided an overview of recent developments in Smart ticketing, and highlighted the need for an integrated, regional approach, noting parallel developments in the English regions and other Welsh Government aspirations.

During the course of the study, Agito was additionally requested to provide short-notice consultant support to draft a new, joint bus strategy for North East Wales (Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham Borough Councils). This required research on previous strategies developed by each of the three authorities and Taith, and liaison with the Transport Officers of each authority on their priorities for inclusion in the new draft document. Drawing on our own knowledge of the bus industry, the current operating environment and constraints in North Wales and examples of good practice from elsewhere, Agito developed an initial draft of the bus strategy, for further development and refinement by the 3 authorities.

Salford Bus Network Review - Agito has recently completed an independent review of the existing bus network in the City of Salford, on behalf of Salford City Council. The review sought to identify the main issues that residents have with travel, and to suggest a modified bus network that would better meet their needs. The objective of the review was to produce a realistic “Vision” for a bus network in Salford that could address social deprivation and support sustainable economic growth and regeneration.

At SCC’s request, the review was conducted in three phases, in Spring 2015, 2016 and 2017, focusing, in turn, on each of the City’s 8 Neighbourhood areas.  Agito conducted a successful public consultation exercise within each of the neighbourhood areas to capture the opinions of local people on their bus services. To avoid any perceptions of impartiality or conflicts of interest, this consultation was deliberately pitched as being independent of the local council, TfGM and the bus operators, and was hosted, solely, by Agito’s experienced staff.

In the comprehensive final report, Agito’s experienced transport planning team used the feedback from the public consultation to suggest appropriate public transport services (bus services and some DRT schemes) that would enhance links to employment opportunities, and access to education, healthcare and leisure facilities. This final report has been well received by members and officers and has now been presented to both the City Region Mayor and TfGM for discussion on securing an enhanced bus network across the City.

The review has helped to shape Salford’s aspirations for the bus network across the City and will inform officers during discussions on future service changes. It may also allow the authority to push for “trial area status” for any revision to the control mechanism for bus services in Greater Manchester, which may be determined by the City Region Mayor, under the new devolved powers of the Transport Act, 2017.


Value for Money Assessment for the New Radcliffe Bus Station - The work  involved a high level assessment of three Scheme Options developed by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), with Bury MBC. Each Scheme Option was assessed against TfGM’s key design objectives for new public transport passenger facilities to  create step change improvements to public transport.  Integral to the work undertaken by Agito was a robust and appropriate cost-benefit appraisal, which helped to identify the option which provided the best value for money and underpinned investment decisions to support a major regeneration initiative being taken forward in the town centre.  The new Radcliffe Bus Station is due to be operational November 2015.   

Personalised Travel Planning Projects - Two projects have recently been carried for a large national media company seeking to relocate offices in North West England and London. The projects identified the impacts of the potential relocation on staff journey to work. In the North West project this looked at travel options for more than 500 staff relocating to 3 possible office locations. In the London project we examined the travel options for more than 120 staff moving to 2 possible sites in Central London. In both projects, detailed journey plans by public transport were produced for each  staff member, showing travel mode, interchange points and journey time. The results have helped to inform the client of the impact of the relocation on existing staff. 

A55/A494/A550 Park& Share study. The study, for North Wales Trunk Road Agency and Flintshire Council, considered sites where informal Park & Share activity was already taking place, provided research on existing formal sites elsewhere in the UK and suggested an implementation strategy for the development of new P&S sites along the North Wales Expressway corridor. A framework analysis was carried out to determine site suitability and considered deliverability, cost, demand, suitability as rural transport hub, integration with bus services, safety and location as key parameters.
 
Môn a Menai Sustainable Travel Area.  A Project to conduct consultation on travel patterns in the City of Bangor and the wider Môn a Menai Sustainable Transport Area (STA). The STA project reflects the particular issues faced by a small city with a rural hinterland, and to provide transport services that meet the needs of the rural communities around the economic and administrative hub. The project is the first of its kind to focus on a region rather than a specific city in Wales.
The project entailed extensive public and stakeholder consultation to develop a series of improvements to bus services, walking and cycling routes, information and Smarter Choices activities. The output was a comprehensive strategy and implementation programme to deliver a range of measures to promote and support sustainable travel and influence travel behaviour in North West Wales.
Parc Menai Travel Planning Project. In parallel with the Môn a Menai STA project this project carried out a detailed examination of Travel to Work on a large business park to the south west of Bangor City Centre. An extensive bilingual Travel to Work questionnaire survey was carried out amongst employees leading to the identification of a range of sustainable travel initiatives and the founding of a Travel Planning Partnership amongst businesses on the Park.
 
  
A477 St Clears to Red Roses Improvement - Agito specified and carried out detailed traffic surveys including MCC's, ATC's, Roadside Interviews, speed surveys, public transport surveys and non-motorised user surveys along the route of the proposed improvement. A Traffic Model was developed in Excel, using Diversion Curve analysis to predict traffic transferring to the new alignments, as part of the route selection and development of the Preferred Route. This was validated and calibrated against traffic count data and a previous SATURN model, used for option testing.  Traffic growth was undertaken using the National Transport Model, National Trip End forecasts and local planning growth data for South West Wales and Carmarthenshire.

An Economic Assessment of the improvement proposals was undertaken using COBA and QUADRO, the former comparing the costs of construction against the scheme benefits, the latter quantifying the costs of construction, maintenance and the effect of diversions.

The study also included Road Safety Audits, Non-motorised user audits and collation of data for input to the Environmental Impact Statement, with particular reference to Air Quality and Noise.

Nigel Roberts presented the expert witness evidence for Traffic and Economics at the successful Public Local Inquiry.

 

Busway Transit Feasibility Study - This study examined potential Bus Rapid Transit scheme options on behalf of GMPTE for possible inclusion in the third Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan.

This was a two stage project.  Stage One of the work included a desktop evaluation of 14 routes and route options identified by GMPTE. Most of the routes followed disused railway formations.  The study examined the relevant district council development control policies and the impact of the proposed routes on the surroundings, a preliminary evaluation of potential infrastructure requirements and how off-highway routes could be integrated with the highway and transport network.

Stage Two included an extensive on-site examination of routes and identification of the required infrastructure at an outline level, coupled with cost estimates. Bus service planning, including outline service specifications and costings, was included at this stage of the work.

The main challenge for this work was in avoiding excessive detail whilst still covering the full range of costing and feasibility issues affecting each BRT and busway option.

 

Daneshouse, Stoneyholme and Duke Bar Transport Study - This project provided transport and accessibility analysis for the Daneshouse, Duke Bar and Stoneyholme Area Action Plan and included an Air Quality Assessment and associated modelling work. 

The work considered strategies and improvements for the cycling and walking networks, public transport accessibility and service improvements, local safety scheme improvements, transport modelling, traffic management and traffic calming schemes, economic evaluation of proposals and consultation with stakeholders and the local communities.  NATA type assessment was carried out to determine scheme priorities to submit into the Council’s work programme.  Final recommendations were accepted by the Council and incorporated into their Action Plan.

 

Leisure Development, Carnforth Transport Assessment - This study, supporting a Planning Application for a holiday village and leisure development near the southern Lake District, consisted of the preparation of a Transport Statement/Transport Assessment report.  The Transport Assessment provided a comprehensive assessment of existing and post development traffic conditions for consideration by the Local Planning Authority.  The report provided commentary and analysis under the three main subject areas; Existing conditions, Proposed development and Construction period.  Highway design was undertaken to assess the site access arrangements and detail a traffic calming scheme on the access route to the site.
 

 

Connecting bus services: MediaCityUK. MediaCityUK, at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, is rapidly developing as an internationally significant centre of employment in the digital and creative industries, including the BBC’s new headquarters in the North.  This study, on behalf of Salford City Council and GMPTE, examined options for a new bus service connecting Salford Crescent station and Salford University with the new developments. The study assessed potential patronage and revenue for a number of different route options and recommended a preferred route. The study developed the proposal, on behalf of GMPTE, for a successful bid to the DfT’s Kickstart competition. The suggested new service was subsequently introduced, funded by GMPTE and Salford City Council, and proved to be so successful that it was commercialised after just over one year of operation.
 
Leigh – Salford - Manchester Busway Scheme -
This project involved the provision of technical assistance and human resources to a leading bus operator for its bid to be the operator of choice for the Leigh – Salford - Manchester Busway (LSM) scheme which is due to open in 2015. The promoter of the scheme, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), devised a three stage procurement process and this project focused on the Invitation to Submit and Outline Solution (ISOS) stage, which was the second stage of the process. 

Agito worked closely with senior staff at the bus company to draft and prepare detailed responses to the technical questions set by TfGM. The project culminated in a presentation and question and answer session to TfGM, with support from Agito.

 

Llanrwst Town Centre Study -

The study considered several local concerns regarding highway operational performance to identify improvements.  These included raising driver awareness of pedestrian presence; increased pedestrian safety at pinchpoints; minimise delays to Trunk Road through-traffic and potential vehicle/pedestrian conflict.

Many options were investigated and ranked against the study’s objectives using S-Paramics.  This determined the traffic effects on Llanrwst and the wider network of numerous traffic signal plans and alternative solutions such as speed limit changes, alignment improvement, vehicle priority systems, building demolition with alignment alterations, traffic calming, signage strategy and pedestrian routeing.

Pedestrian and VRU movement was reviewed and a previous Safer Routes for Communities study was incorporated.  As a result four new pedestrian crossing facilities were promoted; a new Puffin crossing, two new zebra crossings and a new uncontrolled crossing.

A stakeholder event presented proposed and rejected options, using study drawings and S-Paramics visual outputs of the traffic impacts.

 

North Wales Trunk Road Speed Review – using Welsh Government  guidance, we determined how many sections of road were required to be surveyed and reviewed.  The length of each section varied according to its location, route characteristics, length of existing speed limit and distinct change points such as major junctions.

The sections identified were a mixture of rural single and dual carriageways with national speed limits and more urban stretches of trunk road with various speed limits.  We developed a standard proforma to summarise the findings and recommendations for each section. 

Traffic data was collected through the use of automatic traffic counters to determine traffic volumes, composition and vehicle speeds.  From this data Annual Average Traffic flows were calculated by factoring the observed counts by annual factors from longer term ATC data.  Average speed and 85% speeds were calculated for each direction of travel. 

Accident data was reviewed to assess the number, nature and severities for each of the sections.  Accident trends and clusters were assessed and compared to national average data for similar types of road.

We carried out an on-site audit of the highways to identify features that could influence traffic speed. Checks were carried out on the road signs and carriageway lining to confirm that they conformed to the current standards and were visible to motorists.  An assessment of Vulnerable Road User activity was carried out to determine whether there were areas where schoolchildren, pedestrians, cyclists etc., could come into conflict with road vehicles. 

Local Authorities, NWTRA and North Wales Police were all consulted to provide feedback on any suggested changes to speed limits. 

 
A494/A5 Tyn y Cefn junction improvement - The A494/A5 junction improvement study, considered several possible new junction options including signals, priority and roundabout configurations.  The existing signalised junction suffers from congestion at peak times, particularly during the holiday season.  The aim of the study was to identify a Do Minimum capacity improvement option and also a Do Something improvement.

Traffic turning counts and delay surveys were undertaken, including manual and automatic traffic data collection and traffic speed data collection. These were used to inform junction saturation flow calculations, traffic forecasting using NTM and Tempro, traffic reassignment, and traffic flow validation.

Consideration of signals, priority and roundabout improvement options was carried out through option testing and modelling using PARAMICS, WelTAG compliant scheme option framework analysis and accident analysis and safety appraisal.

From this, Do Minimum and Do Something improvement options were derived and presented to local Stakeholder meetings and consultation, before making recommendations for improvements to Council and Welsh Government.

 

Cycle Infrastructure Design for Go Lakes Travel. Design of cycle schemes at Staveley, Windermere, Bowness, Pull Wyke and Clappersgate to improve safety and amenity for visiting cyclists in the South Lakes. The designs needed to be sympathetic to the National Park setting. The project required Public Consultation, liaison with stakeholders and preparation of tender documents.

 

Borwick Lane Development - Carried out traffic surveys, design and access appraisals and Transport Assessment for the expansion of a leisure site in Carnforth, Lancashire. The commission included access design, parking analysis, traffic forecasting and modelling and traffic management to support the submission of a Planning Application.

 

Oxcliffe Road Development - Undertook site appraisal, access study and Transport Statement for a private residential and mobile home development in Morecambe, Lancashire.

 

Allscott Station Appraisal – A feasibility study for investigation of a new railway station at Allscott in Shropshire. The study considered access to cycling and walking networks, bus service provision, station car park requirements, potential passenger demand, rail service frequency, rail journey times, rail infrastructure improvements and scheme costs. A cost benefit analysis was undertaken, which concluded that the new station would not be viable.

 

Cork Northern Relief Road – Managed the updating and development of the CNRR traffic model and subsequent operational assessment and economic evaluation of scheme options. Work carried out for Cork City/County Councils included modifying the existing CASP SATURN model, updating traffic counts, accident analysis, traffic forecasting using NRA growth rates and local planning data, operational assessment of junctions using Paramics, scheme option determination and testing, optimisation of junction locations, economic and cost benefit evaluations using COBA and stakeholder consultations.

 

Ellesmere Port Vision and Development Framework – completed the transport elements of this vision and development framework for Cheshire West and Chester Council. It took a comprehensive look at all aspects of transport provision for the town and considered how these could be improved in the light of proposed significant local development proposals. The key to the study was to regenerate and raise the profile of the town centre and better link it to its surroundings. This was done in association with urban designers and planners and suggested ugrades in cycling and walking networks, access to local rail stations, revised parking policy, bus service enhancements and highway improvements.

 

Chesterfield Junction Assessments – carried out PICADY modelling assessments for a proposed retail development.

 

Wigan Mineral Extraction Development – carried out PICADY modelling assessments.

 

World of Water, Blackpool – carried out PICADY modelling assessments.

 

Crewe Green Signalised Roundabout - Responsible for the design of an improved roundabout, including testing the installation of traffic signals using TRANSYT. Led and trained the team running checks with different development scenarios as output from the Crewe and Nantwich Traffic Model. Details included enlarging the island, incorporating traffic signals at an adjacent junction, providing a dedicated lane for a non-signalised movement and placing pedestrian facilities in the best locations.

 

South Lancaster Residential Development - Responsible for development of phased housing delivery (of some 1800 units), minimising the ransom to be extracted from third parties by careful highway improvement programming. Liaised with the client and the Town Planning Consultant. Traffic Impact Appraisal (TIA) produced, based on LINSIG and ARCADY.

 

Bentley Bridge Leisure and Retail Development, Wolverhampton - Responsible for theTraffic Impact Appraisal (TIA) of major leisure/retail development, using LINSIG. Also considered parking layouts, internal access arrangements, bus lay-by and pedestrian crossing locations. Liaised with developer, officers of the Metropolitan Borough Council, and the planning team.