2024 community share offer
2024 community share offer

NEWS TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bus corridor consultation presents more incremental changes to Exeter road network

£2.4 million Heavitree and Pinhoe Road 'upgrades' have 'potential for an approximate four-minute journey time saving' at peak times along length of each corridor.

Devon county council Public transport Transport policy

Devon County Council is holding a public consultation on bus priority proposals on two of Exeter’s arterial highways, Heavitree Road and Pinhoe Road.

The proposed schemes are among several incremental changes that are at various stages of development as part of the Devon Bus Services Improvement Plan adopted by the county council in July 2022, then updated four months later.

The plan identifies six bus corridors in Exeter, five of which run from the city centre to its outskirts along radial routes and one along Barrack Road between Topsham Road and Heavitree Road.

The current consultation is for bus priority proposals on what it calls the city’s “central” and “eastern” corridors.

Exeter bus corridors map

Exeter bus corridors. Source: Devon County Council Bus Services Improvement Plan v2

The central bus corridor runs from the Paris Street roundabout along Heavitree Road and Honiton Road, forking at Sidmouth Road to reach both junctions 29 and 30 of the M5.

The proposed changes would introduce new traffic signals on an extended eastbound Heavitree Road bus lane to give buses priority when turning right into Barrack Road by allowing them to proceed ahead of other traffic, which would be signalled to stop when buses pass through.

Residents parking and a bus stop would be removed from the south side of the road to create space for the new junction, with some residents parking replacing the bus stop.

The consultation materials do not include an assessment of the viability of these changes at busy times, when eastbound traffic is often tailed back from Heavitree Fore Street to before the proposed new traffic signals.

Proposed Heavitree Road bus lane bus priority layout

Proposed Heavitree Road bus lane bus priority layout. Image: WSP.

The short stretch of Barrack Road between Heavitree Road and Magdalen Road would also be reconfigured as part of the changes.

The footpath on its east side would be removed to create room for an additional northbound carriageway, including a partial bus lane, for buses turning left into Heavitree Road towards the city centre.

The uncontrolled pedestrian crossing on the Heavitree Road and Barrack Road junction would be removed and a bus stop in Livery Dole would be relocated.

At the same time bus lane operation times in Heavitree Fore Street and Honiton Road would be extended and buses would be given extra time to pass through traffic signals.

CCTV monitoring would be used to enable adaptive traffic control (and, if Devon County Council gets Department for Transport approval, fine drivers for moving traffic offences) while traffic information signs would provide real-time information about road conditions.

The county council says there is “potential for an approximate four-minute journey time saving per bus” from all the new measures combined along the length of the whole corridor, although this appears to be only for inbound morning buses.

£1.7 million of government funding has been allocated to these changes.

Proposed Barrack Road northbound bus lane layout

Proposed Barrack Road northbound bus lane layout. Image: WSP.

Bus Services Improvement Plan changes are also proposed on the eastern bus corridor, running from Sidwell Street along Pinhoe Road and beyond as far as the M5.

A two-mile stretch of this route, to the Pinhoe Road junction with Hill Barton Road, would also see the use of CCTV monitoring to enable adaptive traffic control with real-time information on traffic signs and bus priority signalling. Bus lane operation times would also be extended.

The county council describes these changes as an “upgrade” which makes the route an “intelligent corridor”, and again says “there is potential for an approximate four-minute journey time saving per bus”.

The information provided in the consultation materials, however, says inbound morning bus journey times will only be shortened by “approximately 18 seconds” and evening outbound times by “approximately 3 minutes 17 seconds” while there will be “minimal impact” at other times.

£700,000 of government funding has been allocated to these changes.

New North Road bus gate illustrative view New North Road bus gate illustrative view. Image: Devon County Council.

Other Exeter Bus Services Improvement Plan changes have already been approved, or approved in principle.

In October, after a public consultation held in July and August, the county council cabinet approved a scheme on what it calls the “northern” corridor, running from Cowley Bridge roundabout to Exeter bus station via New North Road.

An eastbound bus gate is to be introduced in New North Road by widening the existing contraflow cycle lane in front of John Lewis to create a new bus lane, returning two-way traffic to this section of the street after its previous removal.

Buses travelling along New North Road will head directly to the bus station via Sidwell Street, instead of following the current route along Longbrook Street and York Road past St Sidwell’s Primary School.

The county council said the changes would mean bus passengers would save “approximately 2.5 minutes”, with eight services per hour across eight routes representing a “17% reduction in bus journey times”, although it appears this would depend on where passengers embarked.

The scheme is to cost £400,000.

New North Road bus gate layout

New North Road bus gate layout. Image: Devon County Council.

Bus Services Improvement Plan changes are also on their way in Exeter’s “western” corridor, which runs along Dunsford Road and Cowick Street to the city centre across Exe Bridges.

In Cowick Street the operation times of the existing 100 metre bus lane are to be extended, with changes accordingly made to parking and loading times.

Buses will also be given priority over other traffic at the Cowick Street/Buller Road junction, and CCTV-based adaptive traffic control with real-time information will be introduced, as elsewhere.

On the other side of the river, buses turning out of Preston Street into Western Way will be given priority and linked signal timing will be used to prevent queuing traffic blocking the road.

An informal consultation on the Cowick Street bus lane changes that was held last October yielded just seventeen responses.

Three were from bus operators, two from local businesses and eleven from a local resident group. The remaining response was from a bus user who attended a single library drop-in session.

Apart from the bus operators and the individual bus user, all the respondents opposed both consultation options, while each of the bus operators disagreed with the others.

A county council report noted the limited sample size and lack of consensus, then recommended that traffic regulation orders for the second option be advertised to “gauge wider views on the proposals” on the basis that the council will approve them “if no objections are received”.

The traffic regulation orders have not yet been advertised for the scheme, which is expected to cost £235,000.

Exeter Western bus corridor map

Exeter Western bus corridor. Image: Devon County Council.

The government launched its national bus strategy “Bus Back Better” in March 2021, requiring local transport authorities to submit a Bus Services Improvement Plan setting out how improvements could be made.

Devon County Council estimated that the annual cost of delivering its plan would be £33.6 million, but it was allocated just £14.1 million for the three-year period from 2022-23, £86.7 million less than it requested.

All the currently-planned schemes must be delivered by March 2025.

Devon County Council will be required to publish an updated Bus Services Improvement Plan by June, following guidance issued by the Department for Transport in January.

It will have to identify which of its schemes have been, or will be, delivered by the end of 2023-24 against those which are programmed for delivery in 2024-25, while determining “ambitions and priorities for future delivery in 2025 and beyond”.

The county council consultation on the proposed Heavitree Road and Pinhoe Road corridor changes is open until Friday 29 March.

Drop-in events are being held from 4.30pm-7.30pm on Tuesday 19 March at Exeter Guildhall and from 10.30am-2.30pm on Thursday 21 March at Exeter Library.

Respondents can also submit comments via an online survey.

The consultation is also inviting comments on two active travel crossing proposals, neither of which is currently funded. One is in Honiton Road, between the Rifford Road and Sweetbriar Lane junctions, the other at Polsloe Bridge.

A major nationwide study published in November last year found that Exeter bus services had been cut by nearly 42% since 2010.



Recent stories
Howell Road garage student block illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Howell Road garage for sale a week after student block redevelopment plans granted at appeal

Developer denied he would 'spin in and spin out and take my profit' at planning committee that approved 'backstop' plans for nine flats on site, saying student block was 'what we want to build'.

Howell Road garage

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

26-bed Howell Road garage site student accommodation block allowed at appeal

St James Neighbourhood Plan community balance aims discounted and council policy and evidence deemed insufficient in inspector's decision to overturn planning committee refusal.

Exeter Academy English language school in Sylvan Road, Pennsylvania

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Plan to convert language school to nursery to test credibility of city council active travel policy

Exeter Academy sits near top of steep hill 250 feet above city, far from accessible bus and rail routes, but developer claims local plan compliance in 'demonstrably sustainable location' which is 'conducive to sustainable modes of travel'.

Corner of Fore Street and West Street with St Mary Steps church in the background

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developers claim council planning committee refusal was 'if not malevolent, certainly misguided'

Appeal against decision to deny fifth additional storey in build-to-rent scheme above Crankhouse Coffee accuses councillors of seeking to 'appease the weight of objectors' orchestrated opinion' against amendments to eleven year-old consent.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter bucks national trend as Labour support falls 6% and party loses vote share in all but one ward

Independent group, Greens and LibDems all take seats and Conservatives increase share in four wards as Labour stays in control of council after close call in Mincinglake & Whipton, holds in key battlegrounds and third Topsham win.

, updated

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results party seat distribution

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate with vote share and vote share change by party in each ward, plus turnout and the distribution of seats.

, updated

On Our Radar
More stories
2024 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2024 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Our comprehensive guide covers who's standing where, wards to watch and the backdrop to this year's ballot, which promises to be the most unpredictable contest in years.

Exeter Labour 2024 campaign leaflet

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council raids community fund for £6 million to pay for eight year-old food waste collection promise

Emergency decision to finance materials reclamation facility investment taken less than a week before 2024 local elections campaign officially began.

Exeter Community Lottery homepage

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Australian multinational is biggest council lottery winner as 92% of local causes receive less than £500

Operator collects £26,000 and city council £16,000 in first nine months as public support for Exeter voluntary and community organisations turned into private profit.

Devon County Council Devon and Torbay devolution deal consultation results bar chart

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

County council to impose new local government tier despite majority opposition to devolution deal

Emptiness of claims that new combined authority will be accountable reflected in failure to respect consultation results as all eight Devon district councils decry prospective democratic deficit.

Electoral Commission voting options graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

When, where and how to vote in the 2024 Exeter local elections

Our guide to casting your ballot in person, by post and by proxy as well as voter ID requirements and new regulations for postal votes.

Auditor value for money arrangements recommendations summary chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Auditor broadens inquiry to include Exeter City Futures and ex-CEO secondment to liquidated company

More 'significant weaknesses' found in city council governance and financial and performance management arrangements while St Sidwell's Point valued at £7 million less than build cost and £370,000 ex-CEO final year pay and benefits confirmed.

Spotlight
Spring 2024 community share offer

Exeter Observer celebrates five years of local public interest news publishing

Invest in our Spring 2024 community share offer to help us deliver all the independent journalism Exeter needs and make it five more.

All topics

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   COP26 COP26 COP26   COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19   CITYPOINT CITYPOINT CITYPOINT   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS   CO-LIVING CO-LIVING CO-LIVING   COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY   CONGESTION CONGESTION CONGESTION   COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX   CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE   CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING   DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT   DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE   DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS   EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER   EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN   EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX   EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE   EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK   EXETER ST DAVID'S EXETER ST DAVID'S EXETER ST DAVID'S   EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER   FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER   GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS   GUILDHALL GUILDHALL GUILDHALL   HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS   HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP   HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS   LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+   LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED   LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD   LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER   LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY   LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS   MAKETANK MAKETANK MAKETANK   MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON   MET OFFICE MET OFFICE MET OFFICE   MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS   OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE   PARIS STREET PARIS STREET PARIS STREET   PARKING PARKING PARKING   PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT   PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION   PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH   PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC PARKS   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST   SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET   SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION   SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER   SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY   SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT   ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN   ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE   ST SIDWELL'S POINT ST SIDWELL'S POINT ST SIDWELL'S POINT   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER   WATER LANE WATER LANE WATER LANE  

More stories