Over the last two decades traffic in Slough has risen 15% added 8% to journey times – and cost our local economy £34 million in lost time – and traffic is likely to worsen by 15% over the next decade.
Labour believes that doing nothing is not an option, carrying on as normal is not an option and refusing to be part of the change is not option. So we are launching our Transport Vision for Slough which will tackle long term concerns alongside delivering short term outcomes.
In the 19th century transport was all about the railways – in the 20th century we all came to rely on cars – and for the 21st century we are seeing the emergence of new disruptive travel systems like the autonomous vehicle.
Reader’s may smile, but it’s already happening – and you only need to look at the beginnings of our railway network to see just how quickly new disruptive technology can thrive and become mainstream.
Our Town needs to prepare for this, and that is why, this year, we will be implementing our new Transport Vision for Slough.The vision is long term in its thinking – covering a 20 year period. But it will also enable us to take on the challenges the town faces today – congestion, air quality and road safety to name but three.
One example of this – This year we will push ahead with phase 2 of our Mass Rapid Transport Scheme which will link the town centre with Heathrow. We will also add an associated park and ride scheme to get people onto the MRT and take out that last mile of journeys which are causing gridlock in our town.
Short term it will continue to be buses, but in the longer term we will be looking at what’s known to engineers as a fixed track solution – or to you and me automated or guided trams.
Our vision comes with one key priority… To make public transport the most attractive and accessible form of transport in Slough.
To do this we need to learn lessons from the arrival of the car – cars were new, shiny and aspirational. Cars quickly became affordable and delivered freedoms of movement people had not experienced before. Now, hand on heart, not one of us could say any of that about our public transport network – but it is the place we’ve got to get to.
Why? because we cannot continue to accept congested streets, the decline in active travel, and low public transport use, and of course we must also be mindful of the health consequences of obesity increasing, and polluted air.
Labour’s transport vision will move us away from our current thinking and deliver the step change required to reverse our all too obvious current trends.