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07 July 2017

Roadside traffic surveys in Carlisle next week

Cumbria County Council has announced that a one-day programme of roadside traffic surveys to assess driver’s journey patterns will take place on Thursday 13 July at three sites in Carlisle.

Traffic surveys are really important to give a picture of how, why and where people travel across Carlisle. The data on these travel patterns forms the key part of any case for investment for major infrastructure improvements to the highway network.

The surveys involve stopping a sample of drivers and asking them to volunteer to answer questions about their journeys. E ach survey site is operated in one direction only, with interviews expected to take between two and three minutes.  Safety is of paramount importance, with traffic controls provided by Cumbria Police at all site locations. All necessary steps will be taken to minimise delays.

The council recognises the frustration and inconvenience caused by the recent traffic census on Eden Bridge in Carlisle and is mindful of the importance of keeping disruption to a minimum whilst this vital research is carried out.  The delays on Eden Bridge were made worse by the inclement weather and two vehicles which broke down within a short space of time, requiring the vehicles to be ushered in to the closed survey lane on the bridge.  Surveys at Warwick Road and London Road during the same programme did not experience the same problems and traffic was able to flow much more freely.  Extra efforts will be made to ensure the free flow of traffic at each site on 13 July and officers will halt surveys if congestion becomes a problem.

Further information regarding the surveys –

  • The data on these travel patterns forms the key part of any case for investment for major infrastructure improvements to the highway network. Cumbria County Council is committed to maximising investment in our roads and transport network, but the evidence that investment is required is vital.
  • We need to capture travel pattern data throughout the whole day, including the busiest times such as rush hour. Congestion during rush hour is often the most significant and effective evidence that improvements to the transport network are required. Without data during the busiest times, the case for improvements is weakened.
  • We do not publicise specific site locations as we need to capture typical travel patterns; understandably people may change their route which could distort the results.
  • Other data sources for travel patterns are available and were explored (such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras), but these do not capture key information such as trip purpose. Roadside interview surveys are the most reliable way of collecting this information, and they are the preferred data collection method detailed in guidance from the Department for Transport.

If the queues and delays become excessive at a site the contractors and police are primed to suspend the survey for a period of time to ease congestion and ensure traffic flow.

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Cumbria County Council has announced that a one-day programme of roadside traffic surveys to assess driver’s journey patterns will take place on Thursday 13 July at three sites in Carlisle.