Cambridge Connect is a new initiative established by Dr Colin Harris, Director of the environmental planning and spatial data business Environmental Research & Assessment, located in Coton, Cambridge. The Cambridge Connect goal is to help create an enduring system of rapid and sustainable transit that would help address the transport challenges facing Cambridge, while ensuring that the social, educational, economic, environmental, historic and cultural qualities that define the City are maintained and enhanced. Cambridge Connect is independent and not aligned to any political party, organisation or group. We aim to contribute to the discussion about options for medium- to long-term solutions from this independent position, offering viewpoints based on research and data assembled on a scientific basis. We will openly identify any individuals, organisations or companies who indicate their support for our efforts. At present, activities are carried out on a voluntary basis and in due course we hope we will secure financial support for Cambridge Connect’s work, since this would enable inclusion of more technical studies by specialists and allow much more rapid progress.
Cambridge Connect believes detailed technical and economic assessments of options are needed. In particular, investigation of underground Light Rail is viewed as a priority because this is considered – at present – the most practical long-term transit solution for Cambridge without impacting the historic city core. Research is needed to identify and report on systems that have proved effective in other cities facing transport challenges. Studies are needed to answer specific questions about transport technologies and models, economics, engineering challenges, and environmental and social concerns to determine properly the viability and time-scales of options.
Cambridge Connect concepts initially grew out of a desire to link some elements of the Greater Cambridge City Deal more explicitly to over-arching and long-term sustainable transport strategies for the City and region. The City Deal offers an amazing opportunity to address the scale of the challenges facing Cambridge and make a real difference.
Cambridge Connect shares much in common with concepts being put forward by other organisations and individuals in Cambridge. This is acknowledged and welcomed. There is much common ground, for example, with Cambridge Ahead, Cambridge Bold, Cambridge Futures, Cambridge Past Present Future, Railfuture East Anglia, Smarter Cambridge Transport, the Greater Cambridge City Deal, and the University of Cambridge (e.g. the West Campus and Eddington developments), to name a few. Indeed, Cambridge Connect draws on and embraces many of these ideas.
Cambridge Connect aims to reinforce ideas where there is common ground, such as Park & Ride sites, promotion of rail, use of public transport and improvements to cycle infrastructure, encouragement of walking etc. We all want to achieve a Cambridge future that enhances our economic vitality, the quality of our environment and maximizes our educational, health and social opportunities and services. This is important both for Cambridge residents and for visitors, for the University, for business, and it is important for the United Kingdom.
Cambridge Connect is independent because we want to provide sharper focus on what we see as a key priority: giving serious consideration to a Cambridge Light Rail system, with an underground component in the historic City core.