Why is Cambridge so congested?

Cambridge faces a number of challenges and its streets are under a great deal of pressure. Cambridge is the fastest growing city in the UK with its population growing 17.6% between 2011 and 2021. Yet unlike many other cities, it has generally avoided undertaking large road building schemes and adding vehicular capacity in order to preserve its historic streets. (These schemes don’t solve congestion for long anyway, due to a concept known as ‘induced demand‘: if it’s easier to drive, more people do and then the congestion returns.)

The preservation of its streets is one of the reasons that Cambridge is adored by so many and why it has been possible to maintain a strong walking and cycling culture. It does however mean that road space in the city is at a premium and explains why there is a need for some form of management of motor traffic which will reduce overall journeys. Policies are needed which discourage driving and encourage the use of sustainable and more space-efficient modes of transport such as walking, cycling and buses.

Image: CambsTravelNews