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Reports on Local Transport Plan by TRAMS for BATH







This report sets out to examine to what extent the national, regional and local objectives set out in the Local Transport Plan would be met by a modern lightweight electric tramway network of the type proposed by the 'Trams for Bath' group. Copies of the proposals can be obtained from
Mr. A. Tuddenham,
Secretary - 'Trams for Bath',
88, Mount Road , Southdown ,



1) To protect and enhance the built and natural environment.

2) To improve safety for all travellers.

3) To contribute to an efficient economy, and to support sustainable economic growth in appropriate locations.

4) To promote accessibility to everyday facilities for all, especially those without cars.

5) To promote the integration of all forms of transport and land use planning leading to a better, more efficient transport system.



1) To protect and enhance the built and natural environment

The built environment of Bath is unique but the Bath Stone facades of many of the historic buildings are being destroyed by a mixture of Nitrogen and Sulphur compounds coming from traffic fumes. Massive reduction of traffic emission levels in the city, within the shortest possible period, is essential for the survival of these buildings.
The protection of the natural environment is more complex, but excessive traffic is again a key factor in its destruction. The peak levels of airborne pollution in Bath exceed international guidelines and the detrimental effects on health are a major concern.
The tram is the most environmentally sustainable form of public transport and an electric tramway has the ability reduce environmental pollution in a number of direct ways which combustion-engined vehicles cannot achieve:

a) Exhaust Emissions - Electric trams produce no exhaust emissions within their area of operation. The emissions attendant on the generation of electricity are controlled more economically and effectively at a power station without the weight and energy penalty of a vehicle-borne control system. If sustainable energy sources are fed into the electricity supply network, trams will automatically use them without modification.

b) Waste materials - Tramcars require no engine oil changes and produce no waste rubber tyres. Their metal tyres have a lifetime of many years and are fully recyclable. Waste asbestos and other materials are not produced by the braking system because service braking is achieved electrically without mechanical wear. There are no catalysts to generate environmental pollution during production and disposal.

c) Remanufacturing costs - The life of tram tracks and vehicles is often more than 50 years and few scarce materials are used in their construction. Almost all of a tramway is recyclable.

d) Energy efficiency - Trams are more energy-efficient than any other motorised transport when measured by the definitive method of environmental carbon-dioxide generated per passenger-kilometre. Further substantial energy savings will be possible in Bath because the hilly nature of the proposed routes makes regenerative braking, an arrangement which recovers energy from vehicles proceeding downhill, a worthwhile proposition.

e) Noise pollution - Trams are virtually silent. There is no engine to 'idle' when they are at a standstill and, because they move so quietly, a gong, or other audible warning device is necessary to warn of their approach.

f) Visual pollution - The appearance of tram track and overhead wires need not be obtrusive, modern constructional methods have reduced the visual intrusion which gave older systems a bad reputation. In many cases, insulating cord can be used to suspend overhead wiring from existing buildings without recourse to extra poles and fittings. In a Heritage City, the installation of well-proportioned decorative street lamp/ tramway columns could easily be turned to advantage. The visual effect of a modern city with trams is invariably preferable to one which has only buses and cars. Parked trams will not obstruct the city centre. Because a tramway has to be kept clear, the vehicles only stop long enough to load or unload; tram crews take their rest periods at the outer termini .

A tramway, additionally, offers indirect benefits to the environment from:

g) Traffic reduction - A tramway is the most effective means of public transport for inducing motorists to leave their cars. The reliability of the service, coupled with short waiting times and low fares is a great attraction which other modes are unable to match.

h) Better land use - Much of the space which is at present wasted on roads and parking can be put to better commercial or environmental use when car traffic is reduced.

i) Regeneration of brown-field sites - When a tramway is installed, it is perceived as an investment in permanent public infrastructure and this has the effect of increasing nearby land values. The potential of tramways to unlock brown-field sites is now well recognised.


2) To improve safety for all travellers.

The safety standards of tramways are unequalled for any road vehicle. The Midlands Metro put a value of £5.99 million (based on standard DoT values) on the accident savings which would result from a 29km tramway.

a) Safety in the streets - A tram is driven in the streets 'on sight'. It is at least as safe as any other vehicle and can be subjected to the same speed restrictions which are nowadays automatically enforced by the vehicle's control system. The path taken by a tram is clearly marked and the vehicle never deviates from that path; this contributes greatly to safety for other road users. Trams are permitted to run at higher speeds on reserved track which is segregated so that there is no danger of collision.

b) Braking - The braking efficiency of a tram is the equal of any Public Service Vehicle, with anti-skid arrangements fitted to all modern trams. If it should skid, in extremis, a tram cannot leave the track and there is no risk of colliding with vehicles on other parts of the road or with trackside objects or pedestrians.
Electrical control of the braking system ensures that the 'jerk factor', which is a major cause of passenger injury, is kept within safe limits.

c) User safety - Because a tram is rail-guided, it always stops in a predetermined position. Modern low-floor trams offer level loading with no significant gap, which increases safety for people with impaired mobility and users of wheelchairs, pushchairs and shopping trolleys. The vehicles proposed for Bath only require a short length of raised pavement to achieve this, so reducing the additional hazard which a long loading platform might present when the tram was elsewhere.
The tramway is controlled throughout by an electronic communications system which would allow surveillance cameras to be installed at tram stops and other strategic places at little extra cost if they should prove necessary.

d) Safety in the Vehicle - In addition to the actual safety of trams, there is a perceived safety which attracts patronage. The proposal to include a conductor in the crew of Bath trams is based on experience in Sheffield where addition of conductors greatly increased accessibility to the elderly and young. Groups of children travel unaccompanied on the Sheffield trams in a way which could not be contemplated for buses.

e) Indirect safety factors - The reduction in traffic which results from the installation of a tramway contributes to road safety in general. The layout of the proposed tram stops will increase safety for passengers after they have left the vehicle because the position of the stationary tram is arranged to stop the following traffic so as to allow pedestrian priority.


3) To contribute to an efficient economy and to support sustainable economic growth in appropriate locations.

a) Industrial Growth - Sheffield and the West Midlands both included among their reasons for choosing a tramway solution to their traffic problems, the well-known regeneration effect which tramways have on derelict industrial land.

Bath has a large area of derelict industrial land in the Western Riverside site, it's redevelopment is at present being hampered by transport problems. A modern electric tramway network which passed through this site, giving links to all parts of Bath, would prove the key to unlocking its potential. The ease of integration of tramway tracks with roads, pedestrian areas and landscaped sites means that the extra land space needed for a tramway is minimal and it does not give rise to the divisive effect on the site which a busway or main road would.

b) Commercial Growth - In the United States of America, many previously prosperous inner city areas have become waste land partly as the result of excessive car use; new electric tramways are being installed as a means of regeneration through better public transport. Although Bath has not reached such a stage of dereliction, there is a widely held belief that this will be the inescapable long-term effect of failure to sort out its traffic problems. Transport is a vital part of commercial infrastructure and the present traffic situation does nothing to help commerce. Not only does it deter customers from making their purchases in Bath, but it creates problems in running the businesses themselves. Extra wages costs arising from car-dependency, difficulties in obtaining and keeping suitable staff because of transport problems and the unreliability of staff who are forced to depend on public transport, all have to be passed on to the customer.
The restriction on increased trade which is being imposed by the present traffic situation will not be lifted until effective public transport is available.

c) Tourism - Bath depends heavily on tourism and future expansion of this vital source of income is increasingly being hampered by transport problems. The replacement of city centre traffic by a non-polluting modern electric tramway would give Bath the ambience which is essential if it is to live up to its World Heritage City status.
Tourist venues such as Prior Park and the American Museum would become more accessible and patrons of the Spa Project would benefit from a transport system of the appropriate status.
Without such improvements, the long-term prosperity of Bath is open to doubt.


4) To promote accessibility to everyday facilities for all, especially those without cars.

The proposed tramway will give access to everyday facilities for the majority of residents and visitors, without the necessity for a car.

a) Physical accessibility - Modern low-floor trams are fully accessible to people with impaired mobility; the proposal that each vehicle carries a conductor will assist further in this respect. The foyer of each tram will have level-loading space for wheelchairs which can also be used for perambulators and small shopping trollies; special drop-down seats for people with limited walking ability are also proposed. These are all standard features on modern trams.

b) Geographical accessibility - Lack of geographical accessibility is the main failing of a 'corridor' transport system. By reducing vehicle weight and tracklaying costs, 'Trams for Bath' has been able to propose a widespread tramway network, at an economical price, which gives a high degree of geographical accessibility.

The proposed tram system covers 90% of the built-up area within 500 metres walking distance and 75% within 250 metres. The entire commercial city centre is within the 250 metre distance. Residents will have access to the system without the need for a car. The system also includes extensions to all the major Park+Ride sites, this will give access for people who arrive from the surrounding area by car.

It is anticipated that an extension of the system to the Norton-Radstock area, in the manner of many successful interurban tramways on the continent, will eventually be implemented. This will reduce the car-dependence of residents in that area.


5) To promote the integration of all forms of transport and land use planning leading to a better, more efficient, transport system.

a1) Integration Policy - Integration with all other modes of public transport is an essential feature of any system which is to succeed. 'Trams for Bath' fully supports any move which will lead to better integration of public transport.

a2) Physical integration - The proposed system includes a stop at Bath Spa Railway Station, the Avon Street coach park, the existing and proposed Bus Stations and all the Park+Ride sites. If Green Park station or any other railway interchange point should be opened in future along the old Somerset and Dorset Railway alignment, the tramway system will be able to link into it.

a3) Integration of Fares - Through-ticketing will be essential for the proper integration of services. With modern ticketing systems, this is easily achieved.

a4) Integration of Timetables - With the proposed tram service, this will be achieved automatically. The tram services would be so frequent that interchanges from other modes to tramway would have an average waiting penalty of 3.75 minutes. The reliability of a tram service would make planning a journey with tram to other mode interchanges particularly easy.

a5) Integration with Goods Deliveries - The possibility of a goods interchange station on the outskirts, to keep heavy lorries out of the city centre has been considered. The proposed tramway extends along most of the major roads where such a depôt might be situated. Goods arriving during the day could be temporarily stored until the tramway could perform their distribution during the evening, night, or early morning by means of electric goods trams. Goods trams were used in the past for general delivery in Manchester and for heavy industrial goods in Glasgow and London.

b) Land Use Planning - The tramway itself requires the use of very little land, a corridor less than 3 metres wide per track. In contrast, the effect of an efficient tramway on land use planning is usually very significant. The permanence of this form of transport means that long-term advantage can be taken of the land savings to be had when wide roads and large areas of land given over to parking spaces become unnecessary.
There is a psychological effect which accompanies the ability to go from one place to another reliably and quickly. The result is as if the two places were nearer together than their geographical distance. It is a feature of tramways that they produce this effect most strongly and it could be put to good purpose when planning land use. The present need to site the bus station very close to Bath Spa Railway Station to facilitate interchange of passengers would become unnecessary. Instead, the bus interchange point could be anywhere reasonably near the railway station as long as it was on a tram route. This would release a great deal of land in the Southgate area for more suitable use. Similar thinking could be applied to the Ambury car park, and the parking proposed in the new Southgate complex.

c) Efficient Transport - Tramways are the most efficient form of urban public transport, the running costs are much lower than those of buses and the reliability of the services is higher. As well as exhibiting high efficiency, trams enable other forms of transport to operate more efficiently. By removing unnecessary traffic, the tram allows essential services to experience fewer delays. Pedestrians circulate more freely in areas where trams operate, because the path of a tram is totally predictable. Other forms of public transport experience a boost when a tramway is installed, even if integration is not attempted. If integration is achieved, a much greater increase in patronage can be produced.






1) To encourage alternative modes of transport to the car

The modern electric tramway is the most successful mode of public transport at promoting modal shift away from car use. Whereas bus use across the country is falling steadily, tramway systems in Manchester, Sheffield and all over the Continent are experiencing a substantial increase in patronage from car owners.

2) To discourage car use where appropriate alternatives are available

The real alternatives to car use for many car journeys do not exist in Bath. The proposed tramway system will provide the most appropriate alternative for the greatest number of journeys. With a suitable fare system, many complex journeys which are not normally achievable by public transport will become possible by tram.

3) To integrate transport with urban regeneration and planned development.

Tramways are compatible with open spaces, built up areas, pedestrianised areas and other transport routes; a tramway corridor uses little land. This enables tramways to be integrated easily into urban regeneration and development plans. The investment in permanent infrastructure, which a tramway represents, has the effect of promoting regeneration and increasing the value of developments.





The installation of the proposed tramway system will ASSIST WITH the following local objectives:

a) Carry forward national, regional and Structure Plan objectives, including those relating to air quality, safety, noise and other environmental considerations.

c) Encourage alternatives to the private car, [particularly public transport]

d) Promote a switch from private car use to other modes of transport, especially for short journeys.

e) Discourage car use [by providing a viable alternative]

f) Reduce the impact of motor vehicles on the World Heritage Site of Bath [...] and Norton-Radstock.

g) Achieve the integration of local transport to provide seamless journeys with convenient interchange between modes.

j) Promote social inclusion and assist people with impaired mobility.

k) Promote community safety in [many] aspects of transport.

l) Work towards more effective, integrated information about transport services.

o) Ensure that the proposals for new development and regeneration minimise the need to rely on access by private car.


The installation of the proposed tramway system will have LITTLE IMPACT on the following local objectives:

b) Make local residents, businesses and others aware of current and future transport issues etc.

h) Seek co-operation at national, regional and sub-regional level to minimise the amount of road traffic passing through the B&NES area.

i) Reduce the adverse impact of road-based freight trips etc. [Unless the tram delivery system detailed in response 5a5 (Page 8) is implemented at some future date]

m) Review the transport aspects of services provided by B&NES

n) Reduce the need to travel through I.T. and more home-based activities.


The installation of the proposed tramway system will DETRACT FROM the following local objectives:







Trams for Bath considers that Rapid Transit of the type envisaged by the Consultant's reports and the Government White Paper is not suitable for Bath.

1) The distances involved can be covered in a reasonable time by a properly planned and integrated tramway service without the need for a dedicated Rapid Transit corridor.

2) The proposed corridor-based scheme does not serve the majority of the area of Bath.

3) The "Light Rail" vehicles, so far considered, would be too large and expensive for the needs of Bath.

4) The track to support such large vehicles would be inordinately expensive.

5) The proposed busway would cost even more to install and run than "Light Rail" and would have a shorter life of both track and vehicles.

6) A guided busway is incompatible with other road use and would cut the Western Riverside site in half.

7) If a stadium or other large public venue were to be located in the Western Riverside area, a tramway, with it's higher 'crush' capacity, would be many times more effective than a bus-based system.

8) Neither the Consultants' report, nor the Government White Paper has shown any awareness of the light tramway developments taking place in Britain during the last 10 years.





The proposed modern electric tramway system is capable of achieving all the national and regional objectives set out in the Local Transport Plan, in many cases more effectively than any other proposal. It will promote attainment of the majority of the local objectives without detriment to any.


In view of this, the following recommendations are made:

1) The long-term potential benefits of a tramway of the type being proposed, need to be assessed in relation to Bath by means of comparison with similar systems in equivalent-sized cities on the Continent.

2) The Local Transport Plan should include the commissioning of a feasibility study of a light tramway system for Bath.

3) The feasibility study should be carried out in year one or year two of the five year plan:
a) To reduce pollution and congestion as quickly as possible.
b) To unlock stagnated economic development plans.
c) To take account of the long time scale of transport projects.

4) Government support and European funding should be sought for this project, with particular emphasis on the following aspects:
a) World Heritage City
b) Pollution control
c) Traffic reduction
d) Sustainable transport
e) Technological innovation


LTP 990412