City Science has developed a Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Milton Keynes Council to cover the whole borough, including the towns of Milton Keynes, Bletchley and Wolverton. Gaps within the existing ‘Redway Network’ (shared walking and cycling paths) were identified as well as existing paths to be prioritised for upgrading.
Although Milton Keynes has over 340km of Redway paths across the main town, the proportion of commuters travelling by private vehicle is very high, compared to the UK average. This is due to the efficient system of grid roads and the ample parking in the town centre.
With the goal of being the greenest city in the world, the Council mean to address mode share by encouraging more active travel within the borough. Prior to City Science’s appointment, the Council sought suggestions for walking and cycling schemes from the public which were then considered alongside any schemes proposed by the LCWIP. These totalled over 100 schemes and included tackling some of the main issues with the existing Redway network including:
- Missing links
- Indirect routes
- Poor signage and wayfinding
- Steep gradients, particularly on the approaches to underpasses and bridges
- Poor path surfacing
City Science Response
City Science produced a comprehensive evidence base for this LCWIP which included a policy review, a summation of findings from initial stakeholder engagement, review of the existing network and analysis of current demand.
The team conducted multiple workshops, both within the council and with external stakeholders, to help inform the evidence base. Later in the project, stakeholder engagement was carried out to agree upon the criteria to be used in the appraisal methodology. The outcomes of the LCWIP were presented to a broad range of internal and external stakeholders towards the close of the project to seek feedback on the final report.
After compiling the Evidence Base a site visit was carried out to investigate the issues with the existing infrastructure in the real-world setting and gain a truer understanding of the area. The team walked and cycled across the town of Milton Keynes using the existing Redway network and local leisure routes.
Using the methodology below and the evidence base as a starting point, a long list of around 270 schemes was developed. These schemes included long-distance strategic routes, new road crossings, rural routes connecting villages and localised improvements to the existing network.
A multi-criteria assessment framework was developed, in collaboration with Milton Keynes Council and key external stakeholders, to appraise the long list of schemes. The framework looked at multiple types of metric including socio-economic, integration with policy and effectiveness. Examples of some of the datasets used in this appraisal methodology are shown below.
Based on the results of the appraisal, delivery timeframes were assigned to the schemes to create prioritized plans for the rollout of schemes at borough wide and local levels. The rollout plan for Central Milton Keynes is shown below.
Final LCWIP Report
The final LCWIP report included a summary of the evidence base, long list development, the appraisal methodology and the resulting networks. The report also detailed how this LCWIP will be integrated with existing and future local policies and what wider recommendations City Science proposed as part of this study, such as network wide improvements to signage and maintenance.
City Science successfully delivered a full LCWIP which provided Milton Keynes Council with an ambitious plan for their future Redway network. The appraisal results and prioritisation of schemes are already helping them target available funding to improve the network. Following the production of the final report, City Science worked with Civic Engineers to produce feasibility designs for a selection of spotlighted schemes, so that the Council would have funding-ready designs available.