Radically transforming the way people make journeys in the county and how public transport is provided are at the heart of Northamptonshire County Council’s Total Transport proposal.
Over the next fours years the county council will work with partners, businesses and the voluntary sector to see just how this could be achieved.
Currently the council is working with the University of Northampton, the NHS, further education establishments and businesses to collect data to create a snapshot of present and future transport needs.
A detailed business plan will then be drawn up and will be presented to the council’s cabinet, currently scheduled for Autumn this year.
The Total Transport model could work by creating a social enterprise model to improve efficiencies and delivery to better meet changing transport needs. Any profits would then be put back into local communities.
Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “The traditional way of providing public transport needs to change to keep pace with the way we want to make journeys now and in the future.
“We have to look at modal change, changes in working hours and opportunities for more people who wish to work from home.
“Not only is the current model costly but it is also inefficient when you consider how congested our roads can be, particularly at peak hours. We will be examining opportunities for staggered working hours and how their introduction might help with the problems of historic ‘rush hour’ congestion.
“And while we can’t promise an immediate solution I do think it’s important that we start finding a way that not only works but that is also cost-effective as Northamptonshire’s population continues to grow.
“We have twin objectives of creating a variety of transport options to meet the changing needs of the travelling public while achieving substantial cost savings to the council.”
With a rapidly growing population, increased car ownership and town centre layouts that are hundreds of years old, radical proposals are needed to increase the efficiency of the transport network.
Not only do longer journey lengths and congestion cause frustration for motorists and commuters but they also cause more pollution, add costs for businesses and restrict further economic growth.