Durham City Vision is an ambitious partnership project aimed at raising the economic competitiveness and potential of the City as a key driver for regional wealth creation. As part of the aims of '2020 Vision', transport developments are focused on building upon the successful demand management measures that have already been introduced by the County Council based largely on the recommendations of the Durham Travel Study undertaken by Colin Buchanan in 1997. These have included the completion of an integrated package of measures including a comprehensive controlled parking zone, the first road charging scheme to be introduced in the UK and the development of three extremely successful 'state of the art' park and ride sites in 2006 at a cost of £10m. Complementary cycling and pedestrian facilities are also an essential part of the package. The road charging scheme continues to reduce traffic significantly in the historic core of the City, including the World Heritage Site. The park and ride scheme is attracting an increasing proportion of commuters, shoppers and tourists who would otherwise have parked in the City centre, enabling more short stay City centre facilities to be provided to support both retail and tourist development.
With the assistance of the Government's Transport Innovation Fund, the County Council is leading a comprehensive transportation study to model future traffic congestion and the implications for the future vitality and viability of the City. Options for further demand management will be considered by the Highways Team in conjunction with Members and the Vision partners, including a possible extension of road charging and the need for additional transport infrastructure together with further park and ride facilities and other public transport improvements.
Roger Elphick, OBE is Head of Highway Management for Durham County Council