Destination Hereford Project Success kept Secret for 6 Months – Why?

This report assessing the impact of the Governments funding in Hereford City for promoting sustainable transport, was completed in March 2016. Despite the success of this project in tackling congestion in Hereford, this report was kept confidential. It was only when the project outcomes were formally requested via a public question at a full meeting of Herefordshire Council, on 30th September 2016, that the Council decided to release the document.

This evaluation report shows how a relatively small amount of investment (£4.97 million) has had an impact on the way in which people travel in and around Hereford over the 3 years from 2012 to 2015. By promoting behaviour change, improving active travel infrastructure  and offering cycle training and alternatives to car use, the following changes have occurred:-
1. Car trips undertaken across journey all purposes have decreased from 66% mode share in 2012 to 62% in 2015;
2. Active travel (cycling and walking) trips have increased from 22% mode share across all journey purposes in 2012 to 27% mode share in 2015; and
3. Public transport mode share has remained at a similar level to 2012, with an 8% mode share for all journey purposes in 2012 and 7% mode share in 2015.

These changes occurred over a period when fuel prices were at an historic low for motorists and when public transport was facing significant cutbacks in the overall provision of bus services in Herefordshire. This report shows that for a fraction of the public money Herefordshire Council is currently spending on building new roads for cars and motorised vehicles, congestion could be more simply and effectively tackled in a short space of time if it was directed at sustainable transport infrastructure and behavioural change.

During the 6 months when the report was kept confidential from the public and elected councillors, Herefordshire Council approved a planning application for their £27 million Southern Link Road project and approved work to start on developing a route for the “Western Relief Road”,  anticipated to cost in excess of £160 million.

The full report can be read HERE.

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