Transport & Mobility
Exeter St Thomas station access

NEWS

Exeter St Thomas improvement bid rejected as Devon denied step-free access funding for five years

Two-thirds of Access for All money to go to Conservative seats as low-key Department for Transport announcement finds its way into constituency-level news stories and political PR across the country.

Exeter Academy English language school in Sylvan Road, Pennsylvania

ANALYSIS

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'.

Exeter St Thomas station

COMMENT

Access for all? Mobility-impaired passengers still cannot catch their train from some Exeter stations

National railway accessibility policies fail to deliver local transport network access as Exeter St Thomas station improvement funding bid decision awaited.

Proposed Heavitree Road bus lane bus priority signals

NEWS

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.

Stagecoach subsidiary operating companies 2022-23 pre-tax profits bar chart

ANALYSIS

Stagecoach South West posts largest losses in sector despite greatest growth in journey numbers

Lowest year on year revenue rise compounded by above average staffing costs increase as £2 bus fare cap continues to prop up passenger demand.

Devon electric vehicle charging strategy cover

ANALYSIS

Devon County Council adopts charging strategy that provides for only 20% of EVs it expects by 2030

Local ULEV ownership has risen rapidly in recent years but many more vehicles have joined county's roads as local transport area ULEV growth lags behind rest of country and Exeter motor vehicle numbers alone top 87,000.

Peninsula Transport Strategy front cover

NEWS

Regional transport infrastructure strategy published for public consultation

Framework seeks to draw together major evidence base assembled over several years to address key challenges to 2050 including integration of walking and cycling with local bus and rail network and freight decarbonisation.

Exeter area bus services trends map

NEWS

Exeter bus services cut by nearly 42% since 2010, largest fall in area

Many of worst-affected neighbourhoods in areas where major developments planned or being built, some in Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets trial area.

Heavitree & Whipton active streets trial scheme map

NEWS

Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets trial consultation to restart as taxi bus gate use introduced

More than 4,000 responses submitted in first eleven weeks with 1,650 people attending public exhibitions on scheme intended to reduce motor vehicle through traffic and increase walking and cycling.

Devon County Council transport expenditure 2022-23 bar chart

ANALYSIS

Motor vehicle infrastructure still dominates Devon transport spending despite climate claims

2022-23 roads spending remains unchanged at 87% of total as county council diverts rail money to increase active travel capital expenditure by just 1%.

Empty Co-Cars parking bay in College Road, Exeter

ANALYSIS

Co-Cars liquidation expected to leave creditor and shareholder losses of more than £1.3 million

Sale of Co-Bikes fleet and spare parts agreed for just 4.5% of £600,000 book value after significant grant funding and investment fail to float shared mobility provider.

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets modal filter illustration

NEWS

New Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets scheme public exhibitions

Devon County Council is holding two further public exhibitions of the Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme from 4.30-6.30pm on 12 September at Whipton Community Hall and at the same time on 14 September at St Mark’s Church Hall.

Bus lane

NEWS

Public consultation on county council moving traffic offence enforcement powers

Devon County Council is holding a public consultation until 18 September on its plans to adopt moving traffic offence enforcement powers and introduce Automatic Number Place Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Exeter St David's station manager's office

NEWS

Exeter St David's station manager's office to be demolished

Network Rail has notified the city council that it plans to demolish the former superintendent’s office building at Exeter St David’s station in October.

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets illustration

NEWS

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme trial begins

The Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme trial has begun. The first six months, to 2 February 2024, are a statutory consultation period during which residents and organisations are invited to comment on the scheme.

Exeter bus stuck in rush hour traffic

COMMENT

The road ahead for Stagecoach

Exeter's bus services remain a topic of criticism, but when buses fail to turn up it's too simplistic to blame the bus company. An interview with Stagecoach South West managing director Peter Knight helps explain why.

Devon County Council National Bus Strategy Bus Services Improvement Plan cover image

ANALYSIS

Future of Devon bus services being decided behind closed doors

Devon County Council does not want the public to hear whether local service improvements are going according to plan.

Exeter ticket zone map

ANALYSIS

Stagecoach escapes major sanctions over service failures

Traffic commissioner decides four days of free weekend travel in Exeter Plus ticket zone is sufficient penalty for poor performance despite public inquiry hearing severe criticism of company.

Devon County Council 2022-24 capital transport programme allocations

ANALYSIS

Motor vehicle infrastructure continues to dominate Devon transport spending

New active travel infrastructure to receive just 5% share of capital allocations this year and next, with new roads capital expenditure to increase from 74% to 86%.

Exeter adults who do any walking or cycling for any purpose 2016 to 2021 bar chart

ANALYSIS

Figures show declining Exeter walking and cycling rates as active travel delivery falls by the wayside

County council plans to remove Queen Street active travel infrastructure despite road space reallocation commitments expose equivocal city transport policy aim.

Empty bus timetable

NEWS

Stagecoach proposes free travel and fast-tracked information upgrades to compensate for service failures

West of England traffic commissioner holds Exeter's principal bus operator to account at public inquiry, with final decision on performance expected this week.

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Kidical Mass returns to Exeter's streets

Hundreds of people took part in Exeter's third Kidical Mass family bike ride on Saturday as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

COMMENT

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.

Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

ANALYSIS

Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes

Government underfunding and bus sector challenges limit scope for improvement but county council failure to upgrade routes and policy ambitions plus high housing costs make Exeter difficulties acute, undermining net zero aspirations.

Church Road traffic congestions

ANALYSIS

Alphington 'enhancements' will not mitigate traffic impact from massive South West Exeter extension

County council manipulates public consultation and allocates just 1% of £55 million grant to pedestrian scheme while spending 75% on new roads and increased road capacity for 3,500 new cars expected on greenfield housing estate.

Magdalen Road public consultation results option preferences bar chart

ANALYSIS

£900,000 to keep Magdalen Road one-way system despite decisive public support for low traffic street

County council misrepresented and omitted key public consultation findings in report and did not publish results until after decision taken in favour of option with only 18% public support. Exeter Observer snapshot survey finds 90%+ motor vehicles passing shops are through traffic.

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Kidical Mass Exeter: 'The best day ever'

300 people took part in the first Kidical Mass Exeter family bike ride on Sunday 15 May as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

https://unsplash.com/photos/R7nSPG8edVI

NOTES & SKETCHES

More talk less action

The county council has derived more surprising new insights from the second phase of a consultation on the impact of traffic in Heavitree and Whipton.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Kg_B2LMPTLs

NOTES & SKETCHES

Buses stop

Exeter’s Labour county councillors successfully lobbied County Hall to convene an unscheduled meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HaTOC) yesterday to discuss the state of bus services in the city.

https://unsplash.com/photos/ljoCgjs63SM

NOTES & SKETCHES

Not such an honourable mention

Cranbrook’s appearance in a recent Transport for New Homes report examining new housing developments across England to find out whether they are built around sustainable transport or car dependency does not exactly celebrate the satellite town’s mobility provision.

Cargo bike carrying kids in Exeter

COMMENT

If you think electric vehicles are the answer, you're asking the wrong question

Mike Walton of Exeter Cycling Campaign says we shouldn't be seduced by the motoring lobby into believing that electric cars can create the future we and our children need.

RMT campaign sticker on Exeter bus shelter

NEWS

Stagecoach strike to take place following failed pay negotiations

Transport union RMT says Stagecoach pay offer is unsatisfactory and demands better conditions as staff shortages threaten services.

Peninsula Transport vision document cover image

NEWS

30 year plan for SW transport outlined in consultation document

Strategic vision places investment in roads ahead of decarbonisation despite acknowledging the region's high car dependency rate.

https://unsplash.com/photos/YHTOh2q13Eo

NOTES & SKETCHES

Bonanza on the buses

There was no shortage of hyperbole to accompany last Sunday’s opening of Exeter’s glamorous new bus station.

Train at Okehampton Station in 2015

NEWS

Okehampton to Exeter 'Dartmoor Line' passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed

£40 million Department for Transport 'Restoring your Railway' funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.

Pedestrians and people waiting at bus stop on Exeter Cowick Street

NEWS

Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre

Devon County Council cites 'pushback' from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after 'snap poll'.

Cyclists, pedestrians and cars compete for space on Union Road, Exeter, 1 June 2020

NEWS

Devon County Council fails to deliver promised COVID-19 cycling and walking infrastructure

Deadline for action on social distancing for safe travel set by county cabinet member passes despite Devon receiving £1.7 million share of government emergency fund.

Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

ANALYSIS

Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.

Exeter Cathedral and Quay car park top deck

NEWS

Coronavirus halts decision to spend £3.9 million on car park repairs and upgrade

Exeter City Council spending plans will be revisited in June at same time as Net Zero Exeter carbon reduction plan is discussed by Executive.

Country Bus G service to Exeter Quay

ANALYSIS

An integrated public transport service for Devon remains a distant aspiration

A change to Exeter's G bus service operator has revealed the limits of Devon County Council's approach to transport system integration.

Dutch living streets woonerf sign

SPECIAL REPORTS

We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.

Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.

Historic Exe Bridge traffic

COMMENT

Streets are for people, not cars

Cars adversely affect economic output, air quality and wellbeing, take up valuable space when parked and discourage people from walking and cycling when driven. Reducing their use would enhance Exeter's retail and leisure offer, improve public health and attract needed workers to the city.

Recent stories
Exeter Science Park main building

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Council sinks additional £1.25m into struggling Exeter Science Park as company unable to repay £7m debts

Serial scrutiny failures continue as emergency meeting held to increase city council exposure to joint venture to more than £2 million on top of £450,000 project costs plus £950,000 guarantee but rescue plan risks repeating earlier strategic mistakes.

Illustrative view of development beside Gabriel's Wharf

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised Water Lane redevelopment plans submitted for outline approval

Application for up to 980 dwellings and up to 320 student bedspaces with 40,000m2 of other uses on ex-industrial site between railway embankment and Exeter Ship Canal obfuscates numerous key issues.

Exeter City Council 2023-24 unaudited statement of accounts cover image

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Annual inspection period begins as unaudited 2023-24 city council accounts published

Special information access rights enabling residents to examine records apply until 12 July as two preceding years' accounts still not signed off and auditor's inquiry into council governance and financial and performance management continues.

Exeter St Thomas station access

NEWS

Exeter St Thomas improvement bid rejected as Devon denied step-free access funding for five years

Two-thirds of Access for All money to go to Conservative seats as low-key Department for Transport announcement finds its way into constituency-level news stories and political PR across the country.

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.

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