Summary Report

7. The Combined Option

Key Elements of the Combined Option

  • Cycling and walking networks
  • Public transport extension including tunnel
  • Orbital highway development including tunnel
  • Congestion charging in peak periods

Sustainability implications

The economic efficiency of the Combined Option is good. The increase in car transport costs due to the congestion charging are offset by a lowering in transport costs due to the improved public transport and the orbital highway. This combination of transport measure would result in a readjustment of land uses with jobs and households moving outside the city, especially to the East Cambs and Huntingdonshire districts that offer cheaper housing, but would now be served by improved transport.

There is a 5% overall reduction in the cost of production compared to the Base Case, which would help to maintain the competitiveness of the Sub-region. Exporters would reduce costs by 140 million per year.

From the social point of view, the impact is not significant. Similar mixes of socio-economic groups are located in the city and surrounding districts. There is some reduction of the high income groups in the city, and an increase in the Hunts and East Cambs districts. This change may improve social balance in the futures.

There is an increase in mobility that offers people a wider choice of transport modes and a reduction in travel time. The public transport element would provide people with an improved alternative to paying the congestion charge. All groups benefit about equally.

From an environmental point of view, the Combined Option is somewhat mixed. There is a reduction in carbon emissions for trips into the city, but this is counteracted by the increase in traffic within and outside Cambridge. Considering all the effect the carbon emissions do not change significantly from the Base Case.

The Combined Option includes the orbital highway, which would have an adverse environmental impact around the south and east of Cambridge, mitigated by tunnels and landscaping. If the public transport tunnel were affordable, the Combined Option would remove a substantial part of public transport from the streets and provide the opportunity to improve the urban environment of Cambridge City Centre.

Investment Costs Cycling & Walking 2
Equipment etc Public Transport 409.4
  Orbital Highway 120
  Congestion Charging 8
  Total Costs 539.4
Annual Benefits User: tolls -38.6
  User: cost savings 5.7
  User: time savings 28.2
  User: convenience -1.1
  User Total Benefits -5.8
  Operator: revenues 38.6
  Operator: costs -8.2
  Operator Total Benefits 30.4
  Government Benefits -1.3
  Total Benefits 23.3
Rate of return Social 4.4


  • Car traffic reduces substantially with fewer trips into Cambridge and less delays
  • Public transport use increases
  • Walking and cycling little change
  • Environmental improvement in the City centre, the impact of the orbital road is mitigated by tunnels. Less local air pollution in the City, but no overall change in fuel consumption and carbon emissions
  • Cost of living and production costs reduce substantially making the Sub-region much more competitive
  • Investments cost is large but there is overall transport economic benefit. The revenue raised from the congestion charge can contribute to the costs of the transport improvements
Introducing the Study Base
Cycling/ Walking Public Transport Orbital Highway Congestion Charging Combined Option Options Compared