New high-speed transport system proposed for A414 near Hemel Hempstead

Council bosses have proposed plans for a new rapid transit system to link towns along the A414 corridor.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 2:23 pm
An example of an on-road tram system in Sweden

The proposals form part of Hertfordshire County Council's A414 Corridor Strategy, to support 50,000 new homes and an equal number of jobs along the route up to 2031.

It sets out priorities for walking, cycling and new public transport investment, along with road improvement schemes along this key east west route.

The proposed Mass Rapid Transit system will provide a fast and reliable public transport link across the south of the county.

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy, said: “Although these proposals are at a very early stage, we’re excited about this scheme and the huge difference that it can make to how people get about the county.

"We need to get people out of their cars if we want to keep the county moving and our economy thriving, but that’s hard without suitable alternatives in place.

“We want to harness the most modern travel technology to provide our residents with a cost-effective and sustainable transport system.

The details around how the MRT will operate, the exact route it will take and the type of vehicles it will use won’t be decided for some time.

However it is unlikely to involve rail tracks and is more likely to be a system using purpose-built on-road vehicles running on a mixture of dedicated new routes and repurposed existing highway.

Mr Ashley added: "There’s a long way to go, but the Mass Rapid Transit scheme that we’re proposing will provide a real and practical alternative to the car for people wanting to travel between some of Hertfordshire’s biggest towns.”

The county council will be working with district and borough councils, as well as other key stakeholders, to agree the scope, objectives and parameters for the MRT. Only then will detailed designs be developed.

There are up to 100,000 new homes planned for Hertfordshire by 2031 and 50 per cent of these will be along the A414 route.

This will have a significant impact on the road itself, and on the towns along the route.

The increased traffic congestion will lead to longer journey times if we do nothing.

We need to make improvements to this key cross-county road, but just as importantly we need to make walking, cycling and public transport more attractive and practical options.