Issue date: 26 April 2002

ISSUE DATE: 26 April 2002

The University of the West of England is proposing a diversion to the proposed tram route which would introduce a stop at UWE before going on to Parkway as originally planned.

The University claims that the proposed tram diversion, currently being considered by Bristol and South Gloucestershire Councils, would meet more effectively the needs of: Southmead and Lockleaze Estate residents; the MOD, Abbey Wood; UWE’s Frenchay Campus; Hewlett Packard; Bristol Business Park; Stoke Park Estate; the proposed new High Tech campus on land surplus to HP’s requirements; new residential developments and a possible hospital complex at Harry Stoke (replacing Southmead/Frenchay hospitals).

The proposals are described as a major contribution to:

 South Gloucestershire’s plans for easing traffic flows in North Bristol and improving the environment.
 significantly increasing passenger numbers using the tram: UWE has some 27,000 students and staff making it one of the largest educational establishments in the UK. They are already the biggest users of public transport in Bristol.
 The UWE Frenchay campus could also be available at weekends for ‘park and ride’ by tram journeys to Bristol City Centre.
 making education as accessible to people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire as many universities are in the United States and Canada. UWE’s mission is to promote educational opportunity and the tram would make it more accessible for under represented groups in the Bristol region, as well as encourage lifelong learners. UWE currently serves some 7,000 part-time students of all ages.
 assisting the regeneration and improving the local economies of Lawrence Hill and Stapleton as students seek accommodation in these areas. The average student spends £7,000 a year, with some £3,000 going on accommodation.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Halton, who recently presented the UWE proposal to representatives of the local councils, said “The UWE diversion would bring significant benefits to the people of Bristol and South Gloucestershire to education and to the local economy”.


Editor’s notes

 The LRT variation proposals are underpinned by a full technical and economic evaluation, which shows:

 the estimated capital costs for either of the two variations are similar to those for the original route
 the benefit/cost ratios of the two alternative routes are already at least as attractive as the original scheme and will show significant improvement if used by personnel from the proposed High Tech Campus adjacent to HP, the new residential developments envisaged in South Bristol’s recently published draft district plan, and/or staff and visitors of the possible new hospital is taken into account
 the two variations identified do not have significant environmental disadvantage relative to the original route.

 The economic evaluation and analysis does not at this stage include any quantification of ‘ridership’ improvements associated with prospective future developments at

 Hewlett Packard’s Campus (expansion)
 the proposed High Tech Campus adjacent to HP
 the UWE Frenchay Campus (including a large student village which will further reduce student traffic flows in peak hours)
 the new hospital proposals (on land East of Harry Stoke Road).

The ridership and revenues from those likely developments will improve the economic benefit of the alternative routes very significantly.

 Other advantages forecast to arise from the variation of the LRT route include:

 creation of a surface level stop at Bonnington Walk (replacing that originally proposed which is in a deep cutting), meeting the needs of Southmead and Lockleaze Estate residents more effectively
 the prospect of buses, cyclists and pedestrians sharing use of an LRT bridge over the A4174 (Filton ringroad)
 socio-economic benefits as increasing numbers of UWE students begin to seek accommodation in newly accessible Lawrence Hill and Stapleton Road areas of Bristol which lie within the EU Objective 2 Programme neighbourhood renewal priority areas
 potential use of the UWE Campus at weekends for ‘park and ride’ journeys to Bristol city centre.
 the contra cyclical pattern of use which will improve the economies of the tram. For example, at peak morning periods UWE staff and students will generally be travelling from the city centre when most passengers are commuting in the opposite direction.
 significant off peak usage.

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers
Tel: 0117 3442208; fax: 0117 976 3912;
E-mail: Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.uk or Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk
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UWE press releases are available on http://news.uwe.ac.uk/uwenews/default.asp

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