Reading consults on future of travel

Reading Borough Council is consulting on its new Transport Strategy, which it says sets out an ambitious vision for the future of travel in the borough up to 2040.

The strategy outlines the Council’s vision of providing even better bus and rail services as well as improved walking and cycling facilities “to provide more attractive and affordable alternatives to the private car”.

The ambition is to reduce congestion, tackle poor air quality which blights parts of Reading and create a healthier town for residents.

The document remains draft until resident and business comments are received, and it is adopted by the council’s Strategic Environment Planning and Transport Committee in early 2024. The consultation runs for a period of 12 weeks and can be found at Reading Transport Strategy 2040.

The Council’s aim is to provide residents and visitors easily accessible alternatives to the private car, with a key focus on affordable travel options to help tackle social inequalities, allowing all residents to easily access education, training, employment, and leisure opportunities.

The draft strategy contains proposals to rise to the challenges the future brings. These include doubling the number of bus journeys in Reading in 2040 to 28 million, and rail journeys to 20 million, as well as increasing the number of people using park and ride tenfold to a million.

Councillor John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “We know that Reading is a successful town and a place where people want to live, work and visit. Our new draft transport strategy outlines how we can successfully absorb that growth without both grinding to a halt and damaging the health of local residents.

“The only realistic way to do that is by investing in even better public transport alternatives to the private car. To make public transport attractive to people, we need to make it quicker and more reliable. It is also about making it easier for people to choose to walk or cycle somewhere, particularly for shorter journeys.

“We are realistic, and we know that there are good reasons for car journeys, but if we can encourage people to consider switching to electric vehicles by building more charging infrastructure, it will make a real difference.

“It is a tough balancing act for any town or city, especially a successful one like Reading. I know lots of residents will have ideas and opinions which we want to hear so that they can be fed into determining a final strategy for Reading, aiming to get buy-in from the people who live and work here and are therefore directly affected.”

(Picture – Reading BC)


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