Transport Options for Guildford

21 April 2021

Guildford has problems.

Guildford Town being in a gap in a river valley, surrounded by hills, and areas of significant landscape value particularly to the south has major issues in expanding its transport infrastructure.  There has been discussion on supplementing the A3 with a Tunnel.  Extrapolating from costs for the Hindhead Tunnel shows a tunnel of an equivalent standard t from Burpham to Compton would cost in the region of £1.5Bn to £2Bn.  An investment on this scale whilst welcome would not be a total solution.  Solving traffic flows North South through the town is a issue and a upgraded A3 is likely to attract more traffic through the Town and Urban area.

Money Available?

Government spending for the immediate future is likely to be concentrated in the North of the country and also supporting the continued Health and Social Service costs to manage the Covid Pandemic over the next few years.  The Society is doubtful if major sums for investment will be forthcoming in the future.

Green Agenda

The Government has set out several green ambitions for the future e.g. banning Petrol Car Sales in 2030.  They will also ultimately need to tackle the annual income of £40Bn disappearing from Petrol Tax as cars are electrified.  It is also notable that Petrol Tax has been frozen since 2011 whilst public transport fares have continued to rise.

Our Thoughts

The Society Transport Group has considering many of these issues and has now documented ‘Some Thoughts for Transport in Guildford’.  We believe there are a number of initiatives that could be considered to reduce traffic in the town centre, enable Active Travel (Cycling and Walking) and make Public Transport more effective.

Road Pricing?

Probably our most contentious proposal is to consider local road pricing, integrated with smart card technology to charge for Parking, Trains, Buses, ‘cordon’ access to areas of the town etc.  Smart card technology can vary road pricing by time of day, type of road, vehicle class and emission levels. This is an approach that has been adopted in Freiburg, our twin town.

We need a scheme that replaces fuel duty with a system of distance-based road pricing that vary by time of day, type of road, vehicle class and emission levels. Limiting such a scheme to motorways and motorway-equivalent A roads would encourage travellers to use the parallel rail lines that almost always exist, as well as protecting those in rural areas who have fewer alternatives to the car. 

Maybe Guildford should look to adapt and use existing transport infrastructure more effectively as part of a greener future.

See our detailed ideas below.

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