Sustainable transport at North West Bicester

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North West Bicester (NW Bicester) is the first Eco Town in the UK. The first phase of this innovative development, known as Elmsbrook, will see the construction of 393 highly energy efficient homes, creating the UK’s first true zero carbon community.

Why is sustainable transport important?

Travel accounts for some 32 per cent of a typical UK carbon footprint, with private car use alone accounting for 18 per cent of this.1 As lead developers of the UK’s first eco town, A2Dominion is committed to shaping a range of options and initiatives designed to encourage people’s choice of travel to be as environmentally friendly as their home.

NW Bicester has a target to reduce number of local journeys made by petrol or diesel cars by 2026. Currently 67.5 per cent of trips in Bicester are made by car, and one of the projects greatest challenges is to reduce this to 50 per cent by encouraging a modal shift is residents travel choices.

We’re working with specialist partners and providers to deliver initiatives that will allow people to access and experience a range of new transport options, giving them the opportunity to consider and make changes to their existing modes of transport.

We’ve planned for a range of alternative modes of travel to minimise C02 emissions and enable residents to make sustainable transport choices and we’ve built features into the design to make travel by foot, public transport, bike or electric car an easy option.

We’re working with specialist partners and providers to deliver initiatives that will allow people to access and experience a range of new transport options, giving them the opportunity to consider and make changes to their existing modes of transport.
Source: Stockholm Environment Institute.1

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Architectural design and working with communities

NW Bicester has been designed to create walkable communities. Every home will be within 400 metres of a bus stop and within an easy ten-minute walk of a local centre, with shops, services and primary schools.

Generous segregated provision for pedestrians and cyclists will provide safe travel routes with minimal conflict.

A dedicated Travel Plan Coordinator (TPC) will be in place to facilitate business and personalised travel planning; promote the use of public transport, walking and cycling; support the use of the car club and car share services; and offer incentives for electric vehicles and ultra-low emission vehicles.

A range of educational activities, community initiatives and annual events will be delivered and shaped with the community and local primary school to encourage sustainable lifestyle choices.

Encouraging cycling as an easy, safe and sustainable alternatives

Secure and convenient bicycle stores will come as standard with every home and public spaces will incorporate generous bicycle rack provision.

A comprehensive network of high standard walking and cycling routes, linking into the town’s existing network have been designed to encourage more cyclists to use these routes including families and children.

A2Dominion hosts an annual Bicester Bike Day in partnership with Bicester Millennium Cycle Club, local community groups and businesses to encourage people to get out on their bikes and make cycling accessible to all competitors and amateurs. The event combines fun, with the benefits of cycling with bike safety and cutting down on the number of short trips made by car.

Bike fixing workshops to educate residents on regular bike safety checks and maintenance will be delivered with local charity, Bicester Green.

A programme of cycle incentives, including electric bike loan schemes will be rolled out to NW Bicester residents.

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Access to electric Car Club

Residents who don’t have a car but who need to use one on occasions will have access to the NW Bicester community Car Club. On the first phase this will include four ultra-low emission vehicles.

Availability of the Car Club and booking can be done conveniently through an in-home information system provided to all households and will include hire, fuel and insurance of the vehicle.

Car share schemes will be actively encouraged to remove the expense and hassle of owning a car and make it easier to share journeys with friends and neighbours.

Providing reliable public transport with real time travel in every home

A ‘dial-a-bus’ community bus service will be in place from first occupancy, with a 15 minute bus service operating from the 200th occupation onwards taking residents to Bicester town centre, the train station and key employment destinations.

An in-home information system provided to all households will give residents real-time bus information from their nearest stop, making public transport more accessible.

A series of bus only road links will mean public transport is more rapid and a convenient way to travel.

All homes will be located within 400 metres of a bus stop.

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Accelerating the transition to electric and ultra-low emission vehicles

A2Dominion is working in partnership with North Oxford BMW, Fleetdrive Electric and E-car to encourage the transition to electric and ultra-low emission vehicles at NW Bicester. Fleetdrive Electric is the UK’s leading ultra-low emission vehicle leasing company, working at the forefront of the Electric Vehicle (EV) market with key bodies such as the Department for Transport and Energy Saving Trust to accelerate the UK’s transition to ultra-low carbon transport.

Working closely we have shaped a range of initiatives designed to engage future residents and educate the new community about the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles and practical usage, with the aim to achieve 10 per cent of residents switching to an ultra-low emission vehicle (pure electric or plug-in hybrid) by 2017.

Neighbourhood EV test drive events – giving residents the opportunity to view and test drive a range of electric and hybrid vehicles.

‘Try before you buy’ flexible leasing options – giving residents the opportunity to access electric and ultra-low emission vehicles for two-week blocks to find out which vehicle could be practical for them.

Access to a network of EV charging points to support EV usage – as well installing charging points in communal areas, home-charging units will be available for installation free of charge to residents within the first two years.

Education programmes to inform residents – Fleetdrive will be providing residents with expert advice and guidance on the benefits of ultra-low emissions vehicles and tips on practical usage. A dedicated website on the in-home information system will provide a tool to analyse the cost benefits of fuel vs. electric, advice on choosing the right vehicle and FAQ’s.

Peer to peer communication – through a website blog, social media and neighbourhood events, encouraging residents to share their ideas and experiences.

Subsidised EVs for Community Champions – a number of pure electric Nissan Leaf cars will be available for residents to lease at a specially discounted rate for a trial period of 24 months.