City Science delivered a Transport & Parking Study for Milton Keynes Council focussed on the Central Bletchley area that supported the vision set out in the Central Bletchley Prospectus: “a well-connected, future looking town which is a desirable place to live, work and visit”. Significant renewal and growth opportunities have been identified in Bletchley including East-West Rail (EWR), providing direct rail journeys to Oxford and Cambridge within 40 minutes and two additional platforms at Bletchley Station, along with a new Eastern Entrance to Bletchley Station providing improved direct journeys to and from Central Bletchley for pedestrians and cyclists as well as improved integration with Bletchley Bus Station. Our study built upon these opportunities as Central Bletchley seeks to become a major public transport interchange.
Our study looked at how access within Bletchley can be improved by sustainable modes of transport in both the short and long term, before and after EWR is delivered. This included undertaking a review of parking in Central Bletchley, traffic movement in and out of Central Bletchley and pedestrian and cyclist provision between Central Bletchley, Bletchley Station, Bletchley Bus Station and other nearby centres. This study built upon previous studies, including the work of our Milton Keynes LCWIP, to identify options for multiple transport interventions within the study area, to create a cohesive and sustainable transport network in Bletchley that accounts for parking, active travel, bus and mobility hubs to deliver walkable neighbourhoods that support more intensive development and prosperous communities.
City Science Response
We engaged with local stakeholders throughout the study, including councillors, local businesses, community groups and transport providers, onsite, as well as using interactive workshops and online surveys.
Evidence Base & Development of Study Objectives
Our Evidence Base included a review of local and national policy and strategy, to understand how the study fits into the wider policy landscape and its implications, extensive data collation and analysis, and researching and analysing transport challenges and opportunities across themes. It was supported by a site visit, stakeholder engagement and a review of ongoing public consultation responses.
We developed study aims and objectives in liaison with Milton Keynes Council and stakeholders to provide a focus for the study and a basis for option appraisal.
Drawing on the extensive evidence base and identified challenges and opportunities, we developed a long list of interventions across multiple modes, geographies and timeframes. These were developed in collaboration with stakeholders and the client.
Appraisal & Identification of Preferred Interventions & Options
We then developed a bespoke, multi-criteria appraisal framework in consultation with the client, based on an intervention’s ability to address the study’s aims and objectives and supported by a Healthy Street Audit and a high-level deliverability assessment. Appraisal outcomes identified preferred interventions and a recommended package of interventions (“options”) for Queensway and Saxon Street, two key streets in Central Bletchley.
Development of Bletchley Transport & Parking Study
The Bletchley Transport & Parking Study draws together key outcomes as a result of the identified preferred options and interventions aligned with delivery of EWR, as well as recommendations for Milton Keynes Council outside of the appraisal outcomes.
The study was further supported by the provision of a microsimulation transport model built by City Science to visualise and test the options for Saxon Street. As well as vehicular movements, the SUMO model was able to incorporate pedestrian movements and timetabled buses whilst testing a number of interventions including downgrading the dual carriageway and moving the bus station entrance. The modelling utilised existing data, avoiding fresh data collection and risking counts being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Science delivered the Central Bletchley Transport & Parking Study which set key recommendations for Milton Keynes Council to take forward, consisting of prioritised interventions and street options for Saxon Street and Queensway, to support their vision for Central Bletchley and harness the opportunity of EWR. This was further supported by a model that assessed Saxon Street options, giving a better-informed understanding of these options to the client where we issued a report of the outputs and videos of key model simulation moments.
City Science has subsequently been appointed to support the development of a Business Case and Micro-simulation Modelling for the preferred option for Saxon Street.
“We were very impressed with the work by City Science on our Bletchley Transport study and the traffic modelling work associated with this. They delivered an effective stakeholder engagement strategy as part of this commission, and a robust bespoke appraisal method. Throughout the commission they were very responsive and accommodating. The microsimulation modelling undertaken adapted to the limited post covid data we had available, and was a cost effective solution to satisfy the needs of the study.”
James Povey, Strategic Lead Transport Policy and Planning, Milton Keynes Council