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£1bn travel blueprint unveiled for the Welsh capital

Words: Roger Milne
Cardiif / Shutterstock_1122091682

A £1 billion ‘game-changing’ travel blueprint designed to cut congestion and improve air quality has been unveiled for the Welsh capital.

Cardiff City Council leader Huw Thomas outlined the strategy, which involves ambitious proposals for a light rail/tram network, at a conference on Thursday.

The measures include:

  • Cardiff Cross Rail – a new light rail/tram line from east to west connecting major population centres and new suburbs in the west with Cardiff Central;
  • Cardiff Circle Line – a joined-up orbital light rail/tram line linking large residential areas to the transport network;
  • a new park-and-ride system at junction 32 of the M4 connected to the Circle Line;
  • a new rapid bus network using green and electric vehicles;
  • new, safe cycleways and walking routes linked to bus, rail and tram networks;
  • an integrated ticketing system allowing the user to move seamlessly from one transport mode to another; and
  • making Cardiff a 20 mph city.

Thomas insisted: “Cardiff's transport network needs to change. It was originally designed for a city with a population of 200,000, but today our population is closer to 400,000 and there are another 80,000 commuters travelling into the city by car every day.

“It’s clear to everyone that this situation is unsustainable. We have a network which is already creaking. It only takes one road to go down in the city for delays to ensue. We also have some of the highest levels of NO2 in Wales.

"That is why I am setting out a vision for a greener, more sustainable city – a vision which could transform the way people move around our city by 2030. It is a plan for the future of Cardiff and it affects everyone who lives here and travels here to work.”

Under these proposals Cardiff Crossrail would be a light rail/tram line that connects central Cardiff with major population centres to the east and west. It would include a new station at Rover Way/Newport Road. It would help to transform Cardiff bay, with direct, frequent tram connections to Cardiff Central interchange. It aims to regenerate the link between the city centre, Bute Town, and the bay with the creation of an urban park.

It would also be designed to improve rail connections and transport access for parts of Cardiff suffering economic challenges (including Splott, Tremorfa and Ely) and help to bring forward more business development along the route into Rhondda Cynon Taff.

The council believes it would directly tackle the need to link major new housing sites in north-west Cardiff with the rest of Cardiff in a way that would avoid unmanageable congestion.

The local authority will publish a white paper in the autumn with more plans for the capital.

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