The Hyder Report




1.1 Hyder Consulting has been commissioned by Bath and North-East Somerset Council to undertake a review of the potential for rapid transit in Bath.

1.2 The review was to have particular reference to the Trams for Bath (TfB) light rail network proposals taking account of previous studies, other background information and discussions with other relevant parties.

1.3 On this basis a series of observations, conclusions and recommendations have been prepared for further consideration by the Council.



Background Material

Rapid Transit in Bath Pre-Feasibility Study.
(JMP Consultants for County of Avon and Bath City Council - October 1995).

1.4 This considered options for an east to west route linking Park and Ride facilities at Newbridge and Lambridge with a recommendation that this concept was worthy of further more detailed investigation.

1.5 A number of alternative technologies were evaluated, including, guided bus and light rail systems. All alternatives were found to be capable of raising sufficient revenue to cover operating costs, with guided bus being the best performing option, in terms of the assumptions used.

1.6 Of necessity, this initial study used an arbitrary estimate of demand for comparative assessment purposes. Patronage and revenue were assumed to be constant, irrespective of the characteristics of the various transit modes considered. This type of comparison inevitably favours the modes with the lowest operating and capital costs. In reality the variation in patronage and revenue between the alternative modes would affect the system specification and the relative performance in operational, financial and economic assessment terms.

Bath Local Plan Written Statement.
(Pre-Adoption March 1996 - Bath City Council).

1.7 Policy T19 "The City Council will encourage further investigation of the possibility of enhancing the Park and Ride service by the provision of a rapid transit link between the Newbridge and the proposed Lambridge Park and Ride sites, and the City Centre, and will if considered appropriate, safeguard the possible route of such a link from development".


Interim Rapid Transit Study.
(JMP Consultants for Bath and North-East Somerset - May 1998).

1.8 This study considered five potential connections between outlying Park and Ride facilities and the City Centre and recommended bus based Park and Ride with segregated running, wherever possible, to overcome traffic congestion.

1.9 The study report concluded that kerb guided bus would be more appropriate than light rail or people-mover alternatives due to the flexibility and lower cost of bus based technology. However, the report does not acknowledge that relative inflexibility and permanence is one of the major assets of light rail. Furthermore, the report does not give any weight to the likelihood that the patronage, revenue and mode change potential of light rail will be higher than that of guided bus.

1.10 The study found that an off-road route between Newbridge and Lambridge would be viable at a £1.50 Park and Ride to City Centre return fare. The capital cost of the system was estimated at between £15m and £20m. The best performing technology was kerb-guided bus, however, trolleybus and duobus options were also considered to be potentially viable on this corridor.

The report reached similar conclusions with respect to the Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride linkages to the City Centre (but the proposed method of segregation was not elaborated upon)

1.12 The segregated route from Odd Down via Western Riverside (using former Somerset and Dorset alignment) was not found to be potentially viable.

Multi-Modal Study.
(Oscar Faber for Bath and North-East Somerset 1999).

1.13 A comprehensive record of existing conditions has been undertaken as part of this study in order to establish the basis for reliable modelling in and around the Bath area.

1.14 Surveys are in the form of counts and interviews of road traffic and bus users crossing an inner cordon supplemented by surveys at other selected sites.

1.15 Across the central area cordon, the overwhelming majority of trips per 12 hour day were made by car (110,931 trips) with bus (10,310 trips) and Park and Ride (1,829) trips playing important supporting roles.

1.16 The type of data collected includes origin destination and journey purpose by time of day. Journey time surveys have also been conducted to assess current conditions on the strategic highway network in the City.

1.17 Data on walking and cycling does not appear in the reports.

1.18 On the basis of this information, it is understood that EMME/2 and SATURN models have been constructed and validated, although reports on the model construction have not been received at the time of writing.

It is however likely that stated preference surveys, which are specific to the Bath area, will be required prior to using the models for a detailed assessment of the potential for rapid transit in Bath, for funding application purposes, etc.

Western Riverside Transport Issues.
(Oscar Faber for Bath and North-East Somerset - July 1999).

The modal split estimates set out below indicate projected ranges of access by various modes in the future as Western Riverside is developed, dependant on the type of land use involved;





 Park and Ride







1.21 The need for frequent fast services is recognised in the assessment of Western Riverside development issues, as is the requirement for the perceived cost of public transport to be less than for car access.

1.22 It is proposed that the 'centrepiece' should be a public transport system of significance, which includes the Newbridge Park and Ride and an eastern extension.

1.23 The Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride systems should be extended to serve Western Riverside and local bus and country bus services should be diverted to through the site. The dedicated public transport route is proposed to be either guided bus or light rail/tram.

1.24 It is clear that a high quality service is needed to support the new development if the modal split targets are to be achieved. A rail-based system is likely to be more attractive for car users but a bus-based alignment could potentially be used by any buses and not only the Park and Ride service. A combined bus and tram alignment could be developed but some of the potential benefits of a tramway, for example grassed tracks, could not then be used.

1.25 The importance of the eastern extension, presumably to serve a new Park and Ride site at Lambridge, is clear, given the difficulty of accessing Western Riverside from the east. A cross-town linked Park and Ride service would be operationally efficient, provided that it was segregated from traffic delays.

1.26 It is unlikely that diversion of the Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride services to Western Riverside would be justified. It would however be possible to ensure good interchange in the City Centre with an east-west public transport route.

The report envisages the potential for a Newbridge Park and Ride facility in the form of a multi-storey car park of between 2,000 and 3,000 spaces.

Provisional Local Transport Plan. Bath and North-East Somerset. July 1999.

1.28 The Provisional LTP contains cordon count data showing existing bus use for each corridor for a 12-hour period 7am -7pm, as set out below.

 Corridor No


 No. bus passengers

 % by normal bus

 Park and Ride
 % by Park and Ride

 Weston Road




 Upper Bristol Road






 Pines Way




  Oldfield Road










 Prior Park




 Widcombe Hill




 Bathwick Hill




 Beckford Road




 Bathwick Street




  Walcot Street










 Cavendish Road









1.29 While the proportion of bus passengers is less than 10%, it is over 20% on some corridors and nearly 30% on Lansdown. A total of 20.3% of bus passengers have a car available. The bus station currently handles about 17,000 passengers per day.


 Existing Park and Ride Capacities and Usage


(A4 west)


 Odd Down
(A367 south)
















 Bus service:

 10 mins.

 10 mins.

 15 mins.

 12 mins.


 15 mins.

 15 mins.

 15 mins.

 12 mins.

per month





1.30 The Newbridge site is operating at capacity and needs expansion. It is proposed to relocate the site to the south side of Upper Bristol Road, which would be closer to the former rail alignment.

1.31 The proposed site at Lambridge would provide 800 spaces on the east-side with good access from the A46. The Council has approved its provision in principle, but Planning Consent has yet to be granted, although it is expected shortly. A study of heavy rail-based Park and Ride at Newton has shown that it is not likely to be justified.

 The Number of Rail Passengers for One Day in November




 Bath Spa




 Oldfield Park




1.32 It can be seen that rail traffic is growing and Railtrack expect 30% growth over 10 years. On current trends that may be a significant underestimate. More freight traffic is also expected. Railtrack's Network Management Statement (NMS) proposes lengthening the westbound platform at Bath Spa Station to take 9 coach trains.

1.33 The proposed Southgate development includes redevelopment of the existing bus station to provide an integrated bus/rail interchange. However, it appears that rather than create an improved transport terminal, the proposed location of the bus station between Dorchester Street and the River Avon will involve longer walking distances for most bus passengers. This will include crossing a main traffic route, compared with direct access to the shopping now, and will not improve interchange with main line rail services. It is likely that the area for bus stands, parking and manoeuvring will also be reduced.

1.34 It will be essential that any new system, whether bus- or tram-based, has good interchange with existing bus services and trains at the station.

1.35 A target of 20% reduction in traffic in the City Centre has been set within 5 years and a reduction of 10% in the urban area. Central area traffic levels have been static for the past three or four years.

1.36 A 40% increase in bus patronage is sought over the next 5 years. These targets may be considered ambitious and will need some major changes in priority for public transport if they are to be reached. The proposed bus gates should assist considerably in this respect.

1.37 The fact that 45% of car users have free central area parking may inhibit the potential modal split change. The consideration of workplace parking charges could encourage modal change and provide a source of revenue to support public transport investment.

1.38 Car ownership levels are given as 27.5% of households with no car for BANES compared to 33.4% national average. However some areas have higher non-car ownership including Oldfield 40%, Twerton 48% and Abbey 57%.

Western Riverside, Bath Comprehensive Development Framework.
(CB Hillier Parker for Bath and North-East Somerset - September 1999).

1.39 Securing a new dedicated high capacity public transport route, termed 'Public Transport Boulevard' (PT Boulevard), is seen as essential to attract significant numbers of trips to public transport and hence to the regeneration of Western Riverside. The development is expected to have a catchment area well beyond the limits of the City of Bath. Linkages to Park and Ride at Newbridge and Lambridge are needed as well as to the City Centre.

1.40 Mode split targets for types of development are given with Park and Ride and bus accounting for between 15% and 45% of trips. This implies a major change compared with current modal split in Bath.

1.41 While the centrepiece is seen as the Public Transport Boulevard Park and Ride service, diversion of local and country bus services and extension of Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride are also considered important. The PT Boulevard could be operated as a simple busway, guided busway or as an LRT/tram system.

Bath Western Riverside Urban Design Strategy Final Report.
(Urban Initiatives for Bath and North-East Somerset - October 1999).

1.42 The vision is to create a vital and viable place which reconnects the urban fabric of Bath in a seamless way to offer a high quality environment that function as a working and living quarter of the city.

1.43 A key is seen as the need to shift the balance from the car to sustainable modes of public transport. A 'rapid transit boulevard' is proposed to create a strong east-west pedestrian dominated spine, linked to a major Park and Ride site at Newbridge and the City Centre. It is envisaged that a 'people-mover system' would be introduced in the future but guided bus technology would be used in the foreseeable future.

1.44 The spine concept will maximise public transport accessibility to the development and exclusive use should give substantial advantages to public transport in terms of access times, journey times and reliability.

1.45 The concept of a pedestrian dominated Boulevard would be easier to achieve with a tramway than with a guided busway where the guide-rails would inhibit pedestrian movements. A tramway also allows more extensive environmental treatment including grassed tracks.

1.46 The pattern of land use envisages commercial and retail developments along the rapid transit boulevard. While this could function with buses or trams, it is likely to be more attractive with a rail-based system.

1.47 The access strategy builds on the Park and Ride at Newbridge with links into and through the City Centre serving the railway station, bus station and Lambridge Park and Ride. This could best be achieved with a rail based tramway type of system provided that a segregated alignment could be achieved.

Census '91 Atlas. (City of Bath 1991).

1.48 The Atlas charts the characteristics of the City population which currently stands at 80,000 and which has been relatively static for the past 40 years.

1.49 The City has 35,000 employed residents, whilst the number of people working in the City stands at 45,000.

1.50 The compact nature of the city is illustrated by the fact that a relatively high (22%) proportion of resident employees travel to work on foot.

Lambridge Park and Ride Multi-Modal Corridor Study Final Report.
(Steer Davies Gleave for Bath and North-East Somerset - April 2000).

1.51 This report considered a number of options for alternative packages in this corridor. The best performing option in terms of overall appraisal of effects was the 'local environmental improvements option' which proposed increased bus priority, traffic calming, residents parking measures, lighting and surfacing treatments along the corridor.

1.52 However, the report found that none of the options reviewed would provide an entirely comprehensive solution and declined to make a firm recommendation as to the best choice of option. Bus and rail priorities in the corridor have been agreed by BANES Council.

Newton Park and Ride Station/Saltford Rail Station. Final Report.
(Steer Davies Gleave for Bath and North-East Somerset - May 2000).

1.53 Although new stations would be in line with Government policy, are likely to be supported locally and could reduce traffic levels, the study shows that demand for both stations is marginal and revenue potential is low.

1.54 Wales and West have indicated a desire to stop trains at these locations.

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