A "Good Transport Plan" for Bristol has been launched by Sustrans in a bid to tackle the city's air pollution and congestion problems, and investigate sustainable transport infrastructure that will help keep the city's growing population moving without adding to those problems.
The plan, which is at present a vision designed to inspire people to think about the way they travel and contribute ideas, identifies nine key transport areas to improve upon, including bus and train services, protected walking and cycling routes, low emissions vehicles and a reduction in city traffic, including fewer lorries.
Suggestions to improve sustainability of each area vary, from car sharing to the use of more "poo buses", a Bristol bus run on human waste. To reduce city centre lorries the charity suggests using more freight consolidation centres, like an existing example in Avonmouth, where large vehicles drop off long-distance freight on the city outskirts to be moved onto smaller vehicles for the last leg of the journey.
Ian Barrett, Sustrans Regional Director said: "Bristol’s roads are already full. We need to invest more in other ways of getting around as the population grows, or congestion and air pollution will get worse."
“The plan sets out how we can improve transport in Bristol and help create a city with vibrant public spaces and thriving community streets.”
According to Sustrans there are 200 premature deaths in Bristol per year from air pollution, and congestion that costs the Bristol economy around £600m per year. With 90,000 new homes planned for the West of England, and almost 70,000 new jobs, substantial strain will be placed on the existing transport network, the charity says.
Barrett says the charity wants to move beyond the "transport tribal mentality" and agree a vision everyone can get behind for the benefit of the city.
"The plan shows that walking, cycling and public transport are not just better for people's health and the environment, but will be essential in moving growing numbers of people around the city over the next 10-15 years," he says.
Barrett said public involvement is a key part of the programme vision.
"We want to get Bristolians engaged in the discussion about transport, and to contribute their views and ideas on how we tackle congestion and improve our city's streets. There will be a Sustrans consultation team attending local events throughout the summer, and a survey asking residents and commuters about the changes they'd like to see is online. I hope to see some great results soon," he said.
Bristol has the highest combined levels of walking and cycling to work of any local authority in England and Wales and is one of the cities to receive money under the government's cycle city ambition money in 2013 and 2014.
Like most UK cities, however, Bristol still has busy, inhospitable roads that the charity says divide communities, while people feel unsafe walking and cycling in the same space as motor traffic.
The Good Transport Plan was inspired by the Good Food Plan for Bristol, and is funded, as part of the city's European Green Capital legacy by the Bristol 2015 Strategic Grants Fund, which has awarded the project £1.35 million via 32 strategic projects.