Northampton (United Kingdom)

With 212,000 inhabitants, Northampton is an important town in the East Midland region of England. As the city shows growing population, the rising traffic challanges are managed by sustainable measures.

It is well known as a center of shoemaking and other leather industries and with rapid growth expected over the next several years, it aims to become a market city for the surrounding region.

According to 2007 data, Northampton had a modal split of 66.1 percent for cars (as driver), 8.9 percent for cars (as passenger), 1.4 percent for trains, 7.7 percent for busses, 0.6 percent for taxis, 0.8 percent for motorcycles, 3.1 percent for cycling, 11.1 percent for walking and 0.3 percent for other modes.

Since 2000, the Northamptonshire County Council (which governs the town as well as the borough) has produced a local transport plan to guide its development in this field. Its second plan, covering the period 2006-2011, will soon expire and public consultation has already begun on the third plan for the ensuing five-year period.

A major issue will be managing the transport needs of an expected 100,000 new households which are forecast to be welcomed by 2031. The major objectives of the plan, in line with national goals, will be to reduce congestion, improve accessibility, improve safety and improve the environment. Northamptonshire has added priorities such as encouraging healthier travel.

Specific measures aimed at more sustainable travel in Northampton have included street modifications to reduce traffic speeds and enhance safety; signalization changes to reduce travel times for bus traffic; and the creation of new bike tracks and the widening of pavements.

The Northamptonshire County Council reports good achievements in its Local Transport Plan implementation. During the 2007-08 period, for instance:
• Accidents resulting in death or serious injury had fallen 13 percent from 2005, countywide;
• Those involving children had fallen 27 percent in the same period;
• Slight casualties were down 13 percent from 2005;
• Bus patronage has risen by 9 percent from 2005/06;
• 63 percent of bus users were satisfied with local bus services, compared to 54 percent in 2005/06; and
• 88 percent of settlements (with more than 3,000 population) had a bus service each hour.

Partnership and cross-boundary cooperation are important features of transport development in Northampton and the county. Good partnerships exist between bus operators, the Casualty Reduction Partnership, District and Borough Councils, the Highways Agency, the Local Area Agreement, the Local Strategic Partnerships, MGWSP (Northamptonshire County Council’s partner consultants), North Northants Development Company and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. Authorities in Northamptonshire also partner with authorities in the neighbouring jurisdiction of Milton Keynes and South Midlands Growth Area.

Summary updated: July 2010

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