Bristol Parkway Station Travel Plan

Context

Bristol Parkway is the third most used station in the West of England (after Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa). Approximately, 8350 people use the station each day and there has been a 33.5% growth in passengers in the last 5 years (source: 2007 West of England Rail Survey Report). It was opened in 1972 as the pilot for the 'parkway' concept of stations.

Located in the North Fringe which is north of the urban area of Bristol, Parkway is both an origin and destination station. Half hourly train services are provided to Swindon/Reading/ London; South Wales; and Cheltenham / Birmingham / the north. There is an hourly local service to Yate/Cam and Dursley/Gloucester; Bath and Westbury; and Weston-super-Mare. There is also an hourly service to Taunton/ Exeter/Plymouth.

Bristol Parkway has grown beyond the original Parkway station, as many employers have opened offices nearby (e.g. Axa, the MOD and the University of the West of England (UWE). The station has had a number of improvements in recent years including, a new station building (in 2002); a dedicated bus interchange (in 2003); and a new platform (opened in 2007). There are plans to introduce a fourth platform shortly to ease congestion.

Need for a Travel Plan

Growth in passengers using Parkway station and growth in employment and housing in the North Fringe has led to congestion around the station, particularly at peak times and pressure on the station car park. The car park reaches capacity between Tuesday and Thursday during the day and there is pressure on local residential streets from overspill parking.

Developing a station travel plan for Bristol Parkway has also provided an opportunity to show clear linkages between the station and key projects in South Gloucestershire including, the Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN) and Cycle City. These projects have brought major funding to improve the transport infrastructure around the station.

Description of the process

The process of developing a station travel plan for Bristol Parkway has been lead by South Gloucestershire Council with First Great Western as the principal partner and support from the West of England Partnership.

A small project group was responsible for preparing and producing the travel plan and a wider stakeholder group has been consulted along the way. The wider stakeholder group includes representatives from local employers (including The University of the West of England, The Ministry of Defence and Rolls Royce), bus, taxi operators, the British Transport Police (BTP) and Sustrans, the cycle charity based in Bristol.

The following steps summarise the approach taken to developing the travel plan:

  • Analysis of data and information: The West of England Rail Survey and the national baseline data as well as ticket information and First Great Western customer surveys were used to establish the existing situation.
  • Site Audit: An audit of existing information and facilities at the station was carried out by the project group to act as a baseline from which change can be measured.
  • Development of aim and objectives: The aim and objectives were developed,
  • embracing wider policy objectives and incorporating the findings of the data analysis and site audit. Where possible the objectives were given SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based) targets.
  • Development of Action Plan: An action plan was devised with specific tasks, with timescales and responsibilities, to enable the targets to be achieved.
  • Implementation: The action plan will be implemented during 2009/10 and 2010/11, during which progress will be regularly reviewed.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring of progress towards implementing the action plan and meeting targets will take place.

Action Plan highlights

Improving onward journey information

  • A 'Parkway Travel Guide' has been produced showing onward journey options, with bus links, walking and cycling routes to key locations and businesses. As well as being available at the station, the guide is available on partner's websites to help passengers plan onward journeys in advance.
  • A new onward journey information display with a large map and leaflets will be prominently displayed in the station concourse.

Improving cycling facilities

  • A new enclosed cycle cage has been provided right outside the station entrance providing 32 extra cycle parking spaces. Existing cycle parking will also be replaced with updated stands.
  • The 'Hourbike' bike hire scheme is being piloted at the station with hire bikes available outside the station entrance and at the University of the West of England.

Improved cycle and pedestrian routes

  • Four of the Cycle City routes hinge around Parkway. Over the next two years these cycle and pedestrian routes will be upgraded. There will be new finger post signage which will benefit pedestrians as well as cyclists.

Addressing bus access and interchange

  • A review will be undertaken of bus reliability and there will be a review of timings.Work will be undertaken with operators to address issues and maximise interchange opportunities. We will seek to improve publicity including providing a rail logo on buses serving the station.

Encouraging motorcycling

  • A survey of motorcyclists will establish their priorities. Improved parking facilities will then be provided and if capacity allows, free motorcycle parking at the station will be promoted.

Key lessons learned

  • Establishing a small project team to meet regularly to move the project forward and take key decisions worked well. Regular project group meetings were also used to draw in other officers from different parts of the local authority to move issues forward.
  • Setting up a schedule of meetings from the inception to lunch of the Travel Plan helped secure commitment to regular meetings and develop relationships between partners.
  • The economic downturn means we are likely to postpone some taxi sharing initiatives until 2010/11. There are also funding constraints likely to prevent significant improvements in the number of bus services to the station.
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