‘Park and bike’ commuting encouraged
Working in association with the universities and hospitals in Headington, Oxfordshire County Council has launched the Oxonbike cycle hire scheme. Using ground-breaking self-service technology, the Oxonbike scheme builds on the 500-space expansion of the Thornhill Park and Ride site by encouraging “park and bike” commuting. The scheme is operated by Grand Scheme and currently consists of 30 bikes at seven locations. The unique technology built into the bikes provides a cost-effective alternative to the standard docking station approach.
Cycling made easy for commuters and visitors
Kent is the first authority to establish a corporate scheme encouraging commuters to use Brompton Docks located at stations. Working in partnership with train operator Southeastern, Docks have been installed at four stations in Kent; the schemes are now being promoted to local businesses and their employees through personalised travel advice, complemented by new cycle routes and station access improvements. The bikes are also being used by those wanting to take leisurely rides around Canterbury and other pretty Kent towns, as was shown at the official launch in Ashford where a number of people used the new Ashford to Canterbury cycle route to explore the picturesque village of Chartham.
Travel Concierge inspires memorable visitor journeys
The New Forest Concierge helps visitors to make the most of cycling and walking in the beautiful National Park, as well as providing information on public transport. As a mobile unit, the innovative pedal-powered concierge can take the advice to the visitors and is brimming with information on the New Forest Tour and other visitor opportunities. The service will operate from Brockenhurst railway station and other locations around the National Park from mid-July to mid-September.
Bus drivers get lessons in providing a warm welcome
The South Downs National Park Authority is working with Metrobus and Brighton & Hove Buses to improve bus driver knowledge of the South Downs National Park. ‘Welcome to the South Downs’ training sessions will be run in partnership with relevant transport operators, and is anticipated to enhance the overall visitor experience.
Open top tour buses breeze onto the Downs
The Breeze Buses provide access from Brighton & Hove to the incredible sights of the South Downs. Devil’s Dyke, Stanmer Park and Ditchling Beacon are now all accessible by bus, with the Visit Brighton podcast highlighting the things that can only be seen from an open top bus. All routes run every weekend, all year round, and the most popular service to Devil’s Dyke runs daily throughout July and August.
Single brand identity makes for clear messaging
Recognising the sheer volume of promotions people encounter daily, local councils in the south of England came together to create a strong and simple identity that would allow them to get across a clear message in the Hampshire area. The result is ‘My Journey’: a bold, friendly and colourful brand that utilises flexible strap-lines to highlight its local significance. The benefit of a shared identity is already being seen. Local resident, Tina Dale, said: ”I live in Gosport, work in Southampton and go shopping in Portsmouth. I’ve seen advertising for My Journey in all three places, which has definitely made me want to find out more. If it was three different logos that looked completely different, I would probably find this confusing and not bother.”
Cut-rate cycling lessons boost confidence
A lack of confidence and concerns about road safety can put people off cycling, so Transport for South Hampshire has subsidised the cost of adult cycle training for residents across South Hampshire. A two-hour lesson costs £5, and both beginner and regular cyclists can benefit as sessions are tailored to the participants skill level. Amina, a Southampton resident who received cycle training, said: “I wanted to get cycling to keep active and stay healthy but I was a complete beginner. I had a couple of sessions with a cycling instructor who taught me to keep my balance and how best to cycle the routes that I wanted to take. I am now cycling pretty confidently around the city and enjoying cycling so much I can see no reason to stop!"
Free travel for young job seekers
Working in partnership with Southampton, Gosport and Cosham Job Centre Plus, Transport for South Hampshire is offering free public transport and travel advice to young job seekers where access to transport is a barrier to employment. Since the project started on 1 January, 700 free Solent Travel Cards have been distributed. During the pilot period, between 40% and 49% of participants accessed work each month.
Sustainable Travel Centre of Excellence
The Centre for Sustainable Travel Choices brings together Southampton City Council, University of Southampton and Sustrans into a shared delivery unit, combining the public and charity sectors. Benefits to date include robust and independent monitoring and evaluation of a selection of LSTF projects, a more efficient procurement mechanism, more effective knowledge sharing and greater utilisation of voluntary and student labour forces to ensure costs are minimised. Ed Wills, operations director of Go South Coast and board member of South Hampshire Bus Operators Association, said: “When students at Southampton University devised a seriously good app for bus services in the city, we realised that a great deal could come out of closer collaboration with our wider customer base. We are looking forward to the opportunities that will start to come out of the Centre of Excellence in the next few years.”
Pedestrian & cycle bridge over River Thames
Once completed, the pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Thames will become a striking landmark for Reading. The bridge will provide a new north-south route, avoiding the currently constrained road network and linking with the existing footpath and cycleway from central Caversham in the north to central Reading. The project ties in with the capacity upgrade of Reading station and the new Northern Reading station interchange works and cycle hub facilities.
Better information for motorists
Reading Borough Council has installed Variable Messaging Signs (VMS displays) at 27 key ‘decision points’ on popular routes. These boost Reading’s ability to manage the road network, reduce congestion and promote the use of sustainable modes. A journey time monitoring system is in place, and Bluetooth devices are being installed at 130 locations covering every key highway corridor in the Reading urban area.
Bus and bike around the island
Isle of Wight’s Island Coaster bike-bus travels from Ryde to Yarmouth and also follows a newly launched tourism attraction: the Dinosaur Isle Trail. The Dinosaur Isle Trail is an exciting augmented reality experience that provides visitors with an opportunity to ‘walk’ with dinosaurs at particular locations along the Coaster route. The bus frequency is increasing from one to four a day, providing greater opportunity for both residents and tourists to travel sustainably to the magnificent spectacles of Tennyson's Down, Alum Bay and the Needles – and all in the company of dinosaurs!
Park your car & sail into Portsmouth
Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth International Port and Gunwharf Quays are supporting a new 'Park and Sail' service. From 27 July to 26 August, shoppers can park at Portsmouth International Port for just £5 and then catch a ferry to the retail and leisure facilities of Gunwharf Quays at no additional cost. As Portsmouth is an island and there are only three routes to the mainland, this project aims to ease congestion and improve links between the mainland and Gunwharf Quays via the international port.
Real-time bus information via your smartphone
Wokingham Borough Council is trialling the provision of bus information using Quick Response (QR) codes. Using a smartphone, passengers can scan QR codes at bus stops to learn when the next bus will arrive. The council has also contributed funding to a mobile app that lets shuttle bus passengers at Thames Valley Park business hub know when the next bus is due (and whether it’s full) before they leave their desk.
Bike and bus better in Brighton
The Lewes Road corridor – a rapid transit bus and cycle route – is nearing completion three months earlier than planned. Brighton & Hove’s ambitious project involves reallocating a lane of traffic in each direction on a busy, city-centre dual carriageway. The scheme gained public support following a large-scale consultation, and includes a number of innovative features such as dedicated cycle lane traffic lights and ‘floating’ bus stops where cyclists can pass behind bus stops and avoid conflict with buses using the bus lanes. The route is already used by over 2,000 cyclists and 27,000 bus passengers per day.
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