Conference to address city’s unique transport problems
Balancing the needs of business, tourism and heritage are the key challenges on the agenda at a transport conference. The Future of Transport in Bath: Shaping & Delivering a City Transport Plan will bring together transport experts, local politicians and the public on November 16. One of the speakers is Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail. He was also a former commissioner for Transport for London and the Bath Transport Commission. He has lived in Bath for 27 years and is well aware of the transport problems the city faces. He will be taking part in the ‘Transport challenges for local authorities’ talk and the ‘Can Bath resolve its transport issues’ panel. Sir Peter said: “I don’t know if I’m impartial, I’ve lived in Bath 27 years and I was the commissioner of transport for London for nearly 10 years, but I’m not a politician. “It’s very hard in a world heritage city to balance the interests of businesses, tourists and the citizens and I think everyone accepts that. “On the one hand it’s difficult to get stuff done because of the world heritage status but on the other hand that means it’s even more important to get stuff done. “I think the transport strategy has an emphasis on more walking and cycling and public transport and intelligent restraint of cars. “All easy things to say, but the hard bit is putting policies in place.” One of the proposed solutions to Bath’s transport woes is the introduction of trams, but Sir Peter said: “I’m probably the only person in the city that has built a live rail system. “The most generous thing I could say about trams is that if it is a solution it’s not a solution for tomorrow. “My interest is getting something done in the next five years.” Also attending the conference to share his views and ideas is Richard de Cani. Richard is the director and head of UKMEA planning at Arup and former managing director of planning for Transport for London. Richard said: “I thought I would be helpful as Bath is so unique and it has some unique transport challenges so I wanted to talk about the role transport has in sustainability and look at other cities. “People are looking at it in different ways, every city is unique whether it has historical or geographical challenges and people respond in different ways.” Richard spent 18 years working on London transport and 25 in the transport industry altogether and says Bath and London are comparable in transport problems. He said: “The principles of the challenges they are dealing with are very similar. They need to connect people, promote growth and protect a unique environment. “I think it’s important, rather than jumping to a particular solution, to understand what is contributing to the problems - who is doing what, bad journeys, what’s contributing to congestion... We need to capture data and evidence to understand what the problem is first. “It’s a good time to get a group of people to talk about this, to look at what’s happened over recent years, what problems are happening and what we want to consider.” The conference will take place on November 16 from 8.30am to 1pm at The Assembly Rooms, Bath. There are 200 spaces available at this event, but you’ll need to book. Go to eventbrite.com and search ‘The Future of Transport in Bath’ to register.