Our plan to get Bath moving

The way we travel affects us all. Dealing with transport issues is an important part of improving the quality of life for local people.

Over the next 20 years, there are plans to create thousands more homes and jobs across the area, creating more wealth and opportunity for local people. But this growth cannot happen without a robust plan for supporting infrastructure, such as a reliable transport network that helps people to get around safely and easily.

That's why we're implementing a package of joined up transport improvements and looking ahead to help meet rising demand and reduce the impact of traffic on local people.

What is our plan for the future?

No single transport initiative in isolation has the power to transform our travel choices, cut congestion, improve air quality or ease parking issues. What is needed is an integrated plan.

Our plan is to reduce congestion, improve air quality and support economic growth by encouraging more alternative forms of transport to the car, restricting access for large vehicles, providing alternatives for through-traffic and providing the right mix of parking in the centre and on the outskirts of the city.

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Championing an A46-A36 Link Road

It's estimated that about 12% of traffic entering the city each day is through-traffic that doesn't stop in Bath but is heading to key towns and ports in the south (on the A36 and A367), and to and from key routes in the north and west, such as the M4 and M5.

This through-traffic travels along three main corridors in Bath, with around one third using the A4 London Road to A36 Warminster Road.

Plans for a new Link Road connecting the M4/A46 directly to the A36 in the east of the city would effectively remove this traffic from the A4 London Road and A36.

How are we championing the Link Road?

We're doing everything we can to press our case. The Council is now working closely with Highways England, the Department for Transport, and Wiltshire and Dorset Councils to establish the issues relating to through-traffic in Bath.

We will be assisting Highways England to complete the initial feasibility study before a final decision is taken.

of all traffic does not stop in Bath

HGVs entering the city along the London Road each day exit Bath without stopping

vehicles are estimated to be removed from London Road each day with a new link road

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Improving bus journeys

Bus in front of Bath AbbeyEncouraging more people - especially commuters - to leave their cars at home and take the bus has the potential to remove thousands of cars from our roads every day, working alongside other measures to unlock congestion and improve air quality on key routes into the city

Buses are also vital for those without cars to access work, services and social activities - helping to support our economy, reduce isolation (especially for elderly people) and improve opportunities for all, notably in rural areas.

Across B&NES, bus services are provided by private-sector operators, working in partnership with the Council, which provides and maintains the infrastructure. The routes and frequency of services are ultimately up to the bus companies, but the Council plays a key role in ensuring that services meet demand and are reliable.

We want to:

  • Improve the reliability of buses for everyone
  • Promote bus travel as a viable option for those who'd normally choose a car
  • Encourage the adoption of greener, cleaner buses to reduce pollution


Current and future bus projects include:

  • Improved journey planning
  • Better shelters
  • Quicker, convenient payment
  • Multi-modal ticketing
  • Connecting new homes
  • Better traffic flow for buses
  • Championing cleaner, greener buses
  • Supporting rural and voluntary services
  • Working with large employers

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Improving local rail services

Along with our West of England partners, Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR), we're planning to develop the local rail network to improve the coverage and frequency of local rail services. The ultimate aim is for a network of rail services providing a minimum half-hourly rail service across all the local railway stations within the West of England.

The full project is called MetroWest and it will be developed in phases. Initially MetroWest will deliver improvements on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors in order to achieve a half-hourly service at local stations, and linking the Severn Beach line with Bath, via Bristol. We expect this to be delivered by 2021.

For local people this means more frequent trains between Bath and Bristol, with half-hourly stops at Keynsham and Oldfield Park.

In particular, more frequent services from Oldfield Park will provide a convenient service for commuters to the new employment sites in the Enterprise Zone along the river corridor.

The Council, along with its partners in the West of England, is keen to explore greater opportunities to extend the MetroWest service to provide a regular train service for those communities that currently commute to Bath for work and shopping.

people use Bath Spa station anually

new homes to be built in Wiltshire by 2026

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Future parking measures, including residents' parking zones, aim to strike a balance between the needs of residents, commuters and local businesses, while at the same time reducing the negative impacts of vehicles on our town centres. They are a key part of our overall transport improvements to keep traffic moving and unlock opportunities for economic growth.

Odd down park and ride

Off-street parking in the centre of Bath

In line with plans to reduce the impact of vehicles into the city, and the need to protect Bath's heritage, there will be no overall increase in the amount of off-street parking available in the centre of Bath over the next few years.

Instead, we'll be addressing the balance between short and long-stay parking availability to help support economic growth. We'll be providing more short stay parking spaces in the centre so that people can easily access shops, services and local businesses, while gradually moving the majority of our long stay parking outside of the city to Park & Ride sites.

off-street parking spaces in they city

parking permits issued to residents and businesses

passengers are carried into Bath by the Park & Rides each year

Long-stay parking

Encouraging drivers to make greater use of long-stay parking in the outskirts of the city, along with reliable public transport and transport hubs close to major employers, is seen as an important part of managing the increased demand for places.

Bath currently has three Park & Ride sites at Newbridge (West), Lansdown (North West) and Odd Down (South). They are used by over two million passengers a year and offer free parking as well as convenient transport into the city, especially for commuters and shoppers who require longer term parking.

Better parking facilities, management and information

To cater for changing habits and to encourage greener travel, we'll be providing better parking for disabled users, electric vehicles (with charging points) and car clubs, and more secure, sheltered cycle and motorcycle parking.

people travel into Bath by car every day

people expected to travel into Bath per day by 2029

residential parking zones introduced

Supporting events

The increased demand for parking during key events in the city (such as rugby games, university open days and the Christmas Market) has considerable impact on the city and its residents.

The Council is improving its collaboration with events' organisers. We are making the most of technology and have introduced a new smart app that allows event organisers to get information more easily, helping them manage their event successfully.

Catering for coaches

Coaches play an important role in supporting our tourist industry, and tour operators need access to the centre. However the presence of coaches needs to be carefully managed to avoid congestion, pollution and potential delays in the city. The overall plan is to provide long-stay parking for coaches outside the city centre with drop off/pick up points across the city .

coaches successfully managed during the Christmas market

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Summary Infographic

Click on the inforgaphic below to view our interactive version.

Click to view interactive summary infographic

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Tackling the presence of goods vehicles in Bath

Getting the balance right between supporting businesses and limiting intrusive traffic is important. The effects of heavy goods vehicles in Bath include congestion, noise pollution and restricted pedestrian movement. To limit this, we're working with industry and local businesses to explore several solutions, including:

  • Restricting deliveries by goods vehicles in the centre to certain times of the day
  • Out of hours deliveries

To tackle the issue of HGVs travelling through Bath but not stopping, we're also championing the construction of an A46-A36 link road.

of all traffic entering the centre is HGVs

HGVs a day (2009) travel along the A36 Bathwick Street

of HGVs less than 7.5t were making local delivery in Bath (2009)

of HGVs over 18t are making through trips (not stopping in Bath)

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Improving traffic flow with new technology

Message board

Together with our West of England partners, we're collecting real-time transport data and sharing it with people in a way that enables them to make informed choices about their journey.

All of the initiatives below will help to keep Bath moving as the city grows, limiting congestion and delays:

  • Variable message signs
  • Real-time information at bus stops
  • Signal-controlled junctions
  • Online journey planning


city centre locations now have live car park availability signs

variable message signs installed on the edge of the city

variable message signs installed in the city centre

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Improving the highway network

Highways improvementsTogether with our West of England partners, we're collecting real-time transport data and sharing it with people in a way that enables them to make informed choices about their journey. The Council understands that poor surfaces and unattractive routes can deter people from travelling sustainably, particularly walking and cycling. Proactive management of our roads and pavements helps to meet our users' needs.

Maintaining the roads

Poorly maintained routes often require unplanned emergency repairs which can be very disruptive to travel. The Council has invested millions of pounds annually to improve roads into and through Bath. This has involved:

  • New surface treatments
  • High-skid resistance surfacing
  • New cycle lanes as part resurfacing works.

Working with utility companies

To coordinate road works and reduce the time taken to complete works.

Improving footways

Improvements for pedestrians include resurfacing, improvements to crossing facilities, improved quality of dropped kerbs and tactile paving that particularly benefits pedestrians with mobility/visibility impairment.

Modern LED lighting

The Council replaced old street lighting columns with new LED lighting systems. As these new lights require less maintenance, we are reducing the numbers of road works needed.

street works coordinated annually

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Improving air quality in Bath

Cyclist being exposed to traffic emmissionsThe Council monitors air quality at over 50 locations around the city, and is responsible for driving transport improvements that help to reduce pollution in areas that exceed accepted levels.

Tackling poor air quality in these areas is a priority for the Council.

High levels of pollution occur in built-up areas where there is also a high concentration of very slow moving vehicles, for example along the A4 London Road, A36 Bathwick Street, A3039 Dorchester Street and at key points along the A36 Lower and A4 Upper Bristol Roads.

We've declared an Air Quality Management Area where we exceed accepted levels, and we monitor pollution extensively in this area to help us manage and track improvements.

We're also currently agreeing a new five-year Air Quality Action Plan for Bath that supports the Council's transport and parking strategies.

Supporting low emission vehicles

Our aims include:

  • Encouraging bus operators and our own Park & Ride operators to swap diesel buses for ultra low-emission and hybrid diesel-electric or biogas buses
  • Providing sufficient electric car charging points at public car parks
  • Encouraging new developments to include electric car charging points
  • Supporting the introduction of electric car charging points at large employment sites
  • Exploring the feasibility and funding of a Clean Air Zone

public electric vehicle charging points installed

car club vehicles in Bath City Centre

hybrid buses on Park & Ride routes

air-quality monitoring stations in the city

of nitrogen oxides emissions are from diesel vehicles

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Encouraging walking and cycling

Walking or cycling is not only healthier than taking the car, it also means fewer vehicles on the road and less pressure on parking as the city grows - improving everyone's quality of life.

So to encourage more people to leave their car behind, we're working on projects that make walking and cycling in and around the city easier and more attractive.Cycle lane

Improving our streets and spaces

This includes resurfacing roads and pavements, restricting access to vehicles, giving pedestrians priority in busy shopping areas, and making it easier for people with restricted mobility to get around.

Helping people find their way

Over 30 way-finding signs are helping tourists and residents alike to walk to where they want to go. The signs feature large maps of the city with the user's location clearly marked along with average walking times.

Improving cycling routes

We're working with Sustrans and local cyclists to review existing routes and identify what barriers exist to getting around by bike. Our priority is to improve routes and includes:

  • Resurfacing and widening of paths for shared pedestrian/cycle use
  • Creating better access to towpaths and railway paths
  • Installing and upgrading signal controlled crossings to help pedestrians and cyclists.

cycle hire stations across Bath

journeys made by hire bikes since June 2014

of Bath households do not own a car

of residents who live and work in Bath walk or cycle to work

young people have undergone cycle training

Connecting Bath's Riverside development

New homes and offices planned for Bath's riverside will be designed to reduce the need to travel by car. To support this, we're constructing a new footbridge (Bath Quays Bridge) that will help pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the river avoiding the busy A36/A367 junction.

Improved facilities and opportunities for cyclists

Ensuring better facilities for cyclists at public transport hubs and workplaces is one way to encourage more people to commute by bike.

We currently support businesses and organisations to apply for grants for improving cycling facilities. We offer trial loan bikes for those looking to travel by bike to work.

Since the Council introduced the nextbike cycle-hire facility within the city, the number of users has increased to the point that it is now self-funding and sustainable in the longer term.

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Working with schools and large organisations

working with large organisationsWe want to ease the burden of commuter traffic on our roads at peak times in ways that also improve people's health and wellbeing. One way of doing this is working closely with our schools and largest employers, helping them to promote and incentivise alternatives to driving, such as walking, cycling and using public transport. These modes of travel are not only better for our health, they're better for the environment too.

Working with large organisations

We work with large employers in Bath to support sustainable travel among staff. We do this by helping employers to produce travel plans that promote the most sustainable ways that staff can travel to their place of work, and what facilities the employer provides to support these. We also support employers to access any Government funds available for upgrading facilities that make walking, cycling and other modes of sustainable transport more attractive.

worth of grants awarded to support travel initiatives since 2013

requests for loan bikes in the last three years

Modeshift STARS

A national awards scheme for schools that recognises the promotion of sustainable travel and road safety among pupils and families via School Travel Plans.

Better home working

We're working with our West of England authority partners to progress plans to roll out superfast broadband across the area, particularly in rural areas, so that home working is a possibility for more people.

Working with schools

As part of our Safer Routes to Schools programme, we're currently reviewing key routes to and from schools to identify what improvements would encourage more families to walk or cycle instead of taking their car.

schools signed up for Modeshift STARS across BANES

safer routes to school schemes being investigated with 4 likely to be implemented during Summer 2017

young people received cycle training in Bath in 2016

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Connecting new developments

Bath Quays South development

To support the area's planned economic growth, nearly 50,000 square metres of modern offi space and 13,000 new homes will be built across the area by 2029.

We will ensure that new homes and offies are built in the right places, well supported by transport infrastructure and facilities that encourage less reliance on the car, to avoid putting pressure on our highway network.

Building in the right place

To reduce reliance on cars, we want new homes to be built in or next to existing urban centres and amenities, with good access to public transport, walking and cycling routes.

Connecting Bath's riverside development

Plans for development in the centre of Bath include 7,000 new homes and 40,000 square metres of modern business space. 3,300 of these new homes will be located within the new riverside developments. The majority of new offices and business space will also be focused along Bath's riverside, stretching from the centre of town westwards to Twerton and Newbridge. The development will be designed in such a way to reduce the need and desire for people to travel by car, while other planned transport improvements will help to meet the increased demand on our transport network. For example:

electric car charging

  • More frequent trains are planned between Bath and Bristol
  • Exploring opportunities to extend MetroWest to the east of the city
  • All new major new developments will be supported by the transport infrastructure
  • Well-planned, clearly signed paths will be created for cyclists and pedestrians
  • A new pedestrian/cycle bridge is being built to connect central Bath and its key public transport hubs with residential areas and the new Enterprise Zone

Supporting sustainable travel

There are other ways that we'll seek to contain the number of car journeys from new developments and support greener, cleaner ways to travel, such as:

  • Providing better facilities for charging electric vehicles within new developments
  • Providing secure bike parking
  • Using contributions from developers to improve transport infrastructure around the development

new office space to support 7,000 new jobs in Bath by 2029

new homes for Bath by 2029

new homes across the area by 2029

new jobs across the area by 2029

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Improving access for people with restricted mobility

wheelchair userWe want to make it easier for everyone to get around Bath, including elderly and infirm people, parents with prams, wheelchair users, people with visual and hearing problems, and pedestrians weighed down with shopping.

If we're to reduce dependency on the car and ensure Bath is a welcoming place for everyone, the walking, cycling and public transport needs of people with restricted mobility are an important consideration.

Improving access to public transport

We've recently completed refurbishment of 375 bus stops across the area to make them wheelchair and pram friendly.

We continue to monitor bus contracts to ensure that low-floor accessible buses are used, and we have upgraded our internal fleet.

Lifting the barriers to getting around

We've commissioned an independent survey of the city centre to inform improvements to roads, paths and crossings that will make it easier for people with restricted mobility to get around. We've also set up an expert panel on disability issues. We've resurfaced pavements, improved road surfaces and restricted vehicle access on our most popular shopping streets to help people get around busy areas safely and more easily. For those people with visibility impairments, we have installed tactile paving and textured, contrasting-coloured surfaces to aid their travel.

Better parking and access for Blue Badge holders

Cars are often the only feasible means of transport for some disabled people and therefore their needs are important. Dedicated Blue Badge holder parking bays are in place around the central area, with additional parking permitted by Blue Badge holders on double and single yellow lines for up to three hours.

In spring 2016, we carried out work at a number of our car parks to make them more accessible.

wheelchair accessible bus stops constructed

disabled bays in Bath

Blue Badges issued in 2016

dropped kerb crossings provided in the last three years

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Funding transport improvements

development work under-way

The majority of transport improvements are funded through grants from the Department for Transport. The Council tops up that funding to deliver specific transport work needed by the community.

We identify schemes that require additional capital funding, usually provided through Government grants. We often do this jointly with our West of England partners, receiving a proportion of the money awarded.

We also receive contributions from developers when new homes and offices are built. As a local authority, we've been very successful in bidding for and winning funding for key transport projects that benefit us all. As a member of the West of England Combined Authority, we will work to secure funding for larger infrastructure projects.




The West of England Combined Authority

Through the West of England Combined Authority and the new regional Mayor, over the next 30 years, £1bn of investment from central government and other sources will be made available to support the economic growth of our region. This level of investment unlocks opportunities at a scale not seen before.

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