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Letter: My Review of the London Road Traffic Modelling Report

Published on: 6 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 6 Jan, 2024

Image of London Road taken in August 2022. Google Street View

From: Niels Laub

I have reviewed the Traffic Modelling Report published by Surrey County Council in October 2023 in support of the Active Travel Scheme proposed for the London Road.

The SINTRAM73 model used for this traffic modelling is a strategic model more appropriate for assessing significant changes in the network. For detailed modelling of smaller areas such as this, a sub-area model would be more appropriate.

Given the detailed changes to the A3100 involved in the scheme design, detailed modelling of the key junctions such as the new Dutch-style roundabout at Boxgrove, which may well have an impact on traffic congestion, and the roundabout at New Inn Lane, which is already highly congested at certain times of the day, should also be carried out. These have not been modelled.

The effects of the scheme in the vicinity of the Girls’ High School with the proposed Cycle Street and 20 mph speed restriction; the introduction of five new traffic lights between York Road and the Boxgrove roundabout; and the loss of traffic lanes to accommodate traffic turning right at the York Road junction, all require detailed traffic modelling.

The traffic modelling shows that, at peak periods, southbound traffic on the A3 is likely to be diverted further south to the Stoke Junction, and that traffic on the London Road will be diverted into neighbouring residential streets like Nightingale Road and Tormead Road.

However, the report only suggests that the situation needs to be monitored once the Active Travel Scheme is in place. We believe that the extent to which traffic is likely to be diverted onto other roads should be included as part of the traffic modelling process.

In its conclusions, the report claims that, due to the reduction in the capacity of the A3100, and therefore the increase in traffic congestion, drivers will be discouraged from using this route and will inevitably try other routes including local residential streets. I believe this to be unsafe and something that ought to be avoided.

According to the report, the A3100 experiences the greatest increase in journey time of between 28 per cent and 33per cent. The report therefore claims that the introduction of the Active Travel Scheme will reduce the traffic capacity on the A3100 making for “a safer more pleasant environment for cyclists”. This ignores the fact that the reduction in capacity on the A3100 will cause traffic queues on the London Road and Parkway causing more delays and increased air pollution locally.

Finally, Surrey County Council justify the Active Travel Scheme as providing greater “choice” for people. This overlooks the fact that most drivers on the A3100 are commuters travelling in from long distances who do not have the option of travelling by bike, and that parents ferrying children to school, often from some distance away, have no alternative but to use this route to deliver their children to the Girls’ High School, Lanesborough and Tormead.

The evidence in this report of a substantial increase in traffic congestion, and the likelihood of traffic being diverted onto nearby residential streets, is of such significance that the fact that it was published four weeks after the commencement of the consultation period suggests that any responses to the Surrey County Council’s online questionnaire prior to its publication should be disregarded.

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Responses to Letter: My Review of the London Road Traffic Modelling Report

  1. Mark Stamp Reply

    January 6, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    Mr Laub states that some parents have to drive their children to school which is true but does not cover all pupils.

    Having spoken to a member of staff at Guildford High, they said that a number of students and staff had spoken to them and said that they wanted to cycle but just didn’t feel safe enough to do so.

    His argument also doesn’t take into account the pupils from George Abbot which has a smaller catchment area where most pupils would be able to walk or cycle.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      January 7, 2024 at 8:46 pm

      Mr Stamp has summed it up George Abbot has a smaller catchment area but this means there is less need for cycle lanes on Main roads as it is possible and prefareble to use back roads, although Geoge Abbot’s school catchment is far wider than he thinks: it’s pupils don’t just come from Burpham or Merrow.

      While Guildford High School has a larger catchment area, London Road is the least of their problems, if cycling.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    January 7, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    Whilst most councils, especially in London, appear to be taking action to prevent the use of residential streets as ‘rat-runs’ for motor vehicles, Surrey County Council seems to be actively promoting their use, suggesting that in doing so drivers will actively seek alternative main road routes.

    I don’t think so. It doesn’t appear to have dawned on the Council that the increase in pollution and danger from increased traffic, in residential areas, will have a significant impact on pre-school children, pedestrians and cyclists as well as those householders who are vulnerable due to age, health related issues or other life-limiting conditions.

    Turning, if I may, to Mark Stamp’s point and clearly he is, as most people are, anxious to encourage greater use of cycles and to promote pedestrian safety, I suggest his informal survey, dependant on what and how his questions were posed, is about as scientific and impartial as the County Council’s in support of the Active Travel Scheme.

    Frankly, the latter was and remains a waste of time and public money which could better be spent on high need matters, examples of which include Social Services, Children’s Services and other public services of greater priority.

  3. Paul Robinson Reply

    January 7, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Yesterday the Daily Telegraph had a report on Floating Bus Stops in London.

    Unfortunately, the report is only available to subscribers.

    Sadiq Khan’s cycling tsar has admitted floating bus stops “feel dangerous” because most cyclists refuse to give way at zebra crossings, The Telegraph can reveal.

    Leaked documents show Transport for London’s (TfL) latest research has found 60 per cent of cyclists do not obey road rules by giving way to pedestrians at crossings.

    Despite the “key finding” that 60 per cent of cyclists do not stop at London’s 121 floating bus stops’ zebra crossings, Mr Norman concluded “the casualty data shows there is a low risk of a pedestrian/cycling casualty at a bus stop bypass in London”.

    However, campaigners believe the true accident figure could be far higher because many collisions go unreported.

  4. James Masterman Reply

    January 8, 2024 at 5:49 pm

    Mr Laub, as always, stretches a point and paints an extreme view. The modelling report also states that the maximum increase in vehicle journey times during peak periods, is only one or two minutes. What price on a road where 2 per cent of current traffic is bikes, but cyclists incurs 30 per cent of the reported traffic injuries?

    Mr Laub also fails to point out that the additional pedestrian controlled crossings included in the design are much of the source of peak period vehicle journey time extension. But again providing safe pedestrian crossings for the many parents and pupils crossing on foot at peak time, from Burpham Primary at one end to Guildford High at the other, can only be a laudable step forward for road safety.

    And vehicle delays at off peak times? Probably imperceptible.

    We will get to know the outcome of the extensive and verifiable SCC engagement process shortly. It’s time to stop picking at the plans, and time to start preparing to accept and work towards whatever outcome emerges.

  5. Helen Reply

    January 10, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    I have looked several times and have been unable to find the source of the assertion that the majority of the traffic on London Road is not local (or the definition of local). Please can the author of this letter cite his sources for this ‘fact’ which he is using to underpin the dismissal of professional traffic modeling that has been undertaken.

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