Newport, Wales, has announced new proposals that will transform sustainable travel for the city. In line with its ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030, a Newport 2022 report said that its priorities as a city were to: increase sustainable transport options, reduce carbon emissions from employee commuting, encourage the use of public transport rather than car usage, prioritise active travel in the city, and manage transport network enabling people to travel in a more sustainable way.
Released by the Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, and Newport City Council, there are a series of planned improvements to Newport railway station, Queensway, and Old Green roundabout. With difficult travel between all three locations, as a result of busy roads and complicated junctions, it is said these proposals will make it easier for walking, cycling, and bus transport.
With Newport’s transport emissions estimating around 6.9% overall, the M4 around Newport being named the fourth most congested stretch of road in the UK, and a recommended budget by Lord Burns of £800m on public transport to cut congestion, it is clear that Newport needs to undertake further initiatives reduce its environmental impact.
The Burns Delivery Unit, set up by Welsh Government and Transport for Wales, aims to make public transport, walking and cycling easier. This will transform Newport into a greener and healthier city. A new public transport interchange at Newport Rail Station is to be created to link rail and bus services, including opportunities for safe and attractive cycling, and walking routes to the Railway Station and City Centre. Furthermore, the Council has outlined the proposal for better links between the Old Green roundabout, the city centre, and the riverfront, alongside the Old Green roundabout getting a major revamp.
Moreover, the ‘nightmare’ of Newport, or more commonly known as Old Green roundabout, is a seven-exit roundabout, plagued with congestion, and looming over a dual carriageway situated right in the centre of the city. Despite having gone through huge development back in 1973, when Newport City centre received £3.5m for redevelopment, simulated footage shows plans for a carefully thought-out new transport interchange. These plans would ditch the roundabout, building a multi-exit and entry point junction, with priority access lanes for buses and simplified active travel routes. For any countryside lovers, the footage shows some added greenery for extra points. Once completed, it will make cycling, walking and public transport an easier option for people.
The Welsh Government Deputy Minister for climate change stated that ‘developing active travel routes alongside bus and rail services is central to our plans to make sustainable transport a viable alternative to using a car’.
The impact of these proposals remains to be seen. Although it is established that that the over-reliance on private mobility can be problematic for achieving sustainability objectives, public and active travel developments must be made attractive for residents and users if they are to be effective.