King's Norton Station Travel Plan

Context

Kings Norton rail station is a medium-sized commuter station located in an urban area to the south west of Birmingham on the busy Birmingham cross-city rail line. There is a frequent train service to Birmingham city centre used for over half a million trips every year.

Despite expansion of the station car park, in common with most stations in the West Midlands passenger growth has led to demand for spaces exceeding supply. On most days, the car park is full before the end of the morning peak. This increases the risk of losing rail passengers and increasing local congestion.

Need for a Travel Plan

Centro, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, is keen to explore opportunities to reduce single occupancy car journeys to Kings Norton station by supporting sustainable travel modes such as walking, cycling, bus travel and car sharing. In turn this will reduce environmental impact, reduce local traffic congestion and promote the use of public transport for off-peak travel. Particular issues identified include:

  • Cycling facilities are limited in comparison to similar stations. There are six bicycle lockers and two uncovered Sheffield stands which are in poor condition. Neither of these are covered by CCTV. There is no signage for cyclists from or to the nearby off-road Sustrans Millennium Rea Valley Cycle Route, while main road access is via a busy roundabout. Information about links to nearby 'Advisory Cycle Routes' is not provided at the station.
  • Bus services: Kings Norton is well served by local public transport, with many bus services stopping just outside the main station entrance. The current bus service provision to the station gives broad access not only to the local residents of Kings Norton but to the adjacent residential areas of Birmingham that are not served by a rail station. There is limited local bus information provided at the station.
  • Pedestrian routes surrounding Kings Norton Station are generally busy, and typical of a suburban area. Signing of pedestrian routes could be improved. The station has a free park and ride site with space for 211 cars. This is operating at capacity and is regularly oversubscribed by 0900hrs on weekdays.

Description of the process

The following approach summarises how Centro has and will continue to develop the station travel plan.

  • Initial research to select Kings Norton as the pilot for the West Midlands
  • Obtained support from key stakeholders such as Birmingham City Council, National Express and London Midland
  • Site audit of the station
  • Steer Davies Gleeve undertake station survey
  • Analysis of data and information
  • Development of aims and objectives
  • Development of action plan
  • Engagement and integration with key stakeholders through virtual steering group
  • Plan Monitoring Process
  • Delivery of action plan
  • Review and revise STP measures as required

Action Plan highlights

  • Install painted walking route through park and ride car park to platform
  • Set up NWM station travel plan microsite with walk it, bike it, share it, bus it links and events, competitions
  • Refresh/update directional signage at the station
  • Install additional/improved cycle storage
  • Distribute leaflets to promote STP within Cotteridge/Kings Norton public buildings, local shops, trip attractors

Key lessons learned

  • A proven, shared methodology for deciding on the best station for the pilot would have been beneficial. Despite thorough analysis beforehand that indicated that Kings Norton was the optimum station to select, the SDG research uncovered that Kings Norton already had a high percentage of walkers, so we may find it hard to achieve significant modal shift.
  • Some gaps in the data have led to a few issues in marketing the project, as we do not have completely robust postcode data for journey 'origin', therefore it is difficult to calculate how far passengers are travelling from/where they are located.
  • The station travel plan has led to a better understanding between key partners of projects/proposals already planned at Kings Norton station or in the surrounding area, that can be linked together to be more 'joined up'.
  • Funding from DfT would give more 'weight' to the project, and make it easier for project partners to obtain funding internally to support it.
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