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Cambridge metro boosted by feasibility study

A feasibility study of the proposed Cambridge autonomous metro (CAM) has concluded that there is a “compelling case” for the scheme to go ahead.

The strategic outline business case (SOBC) says that the CAM would unlock significant growth, offer high value for money and  provide the “transformational change required to the area’s under pressure transport network”.

The study was conducted by consultants Steer. It also concludes that the £4bn scheme could be be funded through a range of local and central government sources.

The report was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.

The report claims that up to 100,000 jobs and 60,000 new homes could result from the construction of the metro system. 

The scheme would include 12km of twin bore tunnel under Cambridge city centre. It includes two underground stations, one at the city centre, and one at Cambridge railway station.

The metro would serve inner transport corridors in the Greater Cambridge area from the city to Cambourne, Granta Park, Waterbeach and park and rides in Newmarket Road and Trumpington. It would also serve the regional area, with corridors extending to St Neots, Alconbury, Mildenhall and Haverhill, extending the network to 142km.

Arup worked with the Cambridge Combined Authority to develop a technical report on funding and finance as part of the SOBC. This says a funding strategy for the CAM should be done on the basis of beneficiary pays where those who benefit from the transport infrastructure should contribute to its cost.

The CAM is being planned to operate as a turn up and go service where users would arrive at stations with the expectation of a service within a few minutes. Zero-emission trackless metro vehicles have been proposed. These would be powered by electric batteries recharged overnight and at route termini throughout the day, without the need for overhead wires.

Vehicles are expected to have a maximum speed of about 90km/h and journey times from the east of the city to the west will take 12 minutes.

Construction could start as early as 2021 with the core metro infrastructure expected to be built between 2023 and 2029.

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