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Millions sought from government to help cut Norwich congestion

PUBLISHED: 15:17 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 02 September 2019

Heavy traffic in Norwich Photo: Archant

Heavy traffic in Norwich Photo: Archant

Emma Knights

Norwich could spearhead trailblazing ways to get more people to car share, if a multi-million pound bid for government cash is successful.

The city is one of seven areas through to the second round of a government scheme which aims to create three Future Mobility Zones.

Those are areas awarded money to tackle congestion and carbon emissions in innovative ways.

County councillors agreed on Monday to agree to the outline business case for the bid.

The council is seeking £16.2m towards a £24.6m project involving a number of initiatives, including:

Boosting the number of electric vehicles, including buses and car club vehicles

Using data to create an app which provides comprehensive information for all modes of travel

Greater promotion of car sharing

Surveys have shown an average of 85pc of private vehicles which travel across the Greater Norwich area have just one person in.

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And that rises to 95pc during rush hour periods, so officers are keen to find ways to get more people sharing vehicles.

It would complement the work which will be done through the money the government has awarded Greater Norwich through its Transforming Cities Fund.

A report which went before the Conservative-controlled cabinet stated: "There is significant benefit if we are able to reverse this trend and maximise the efficiency of the transport network."

Officers want to change people's behaviour, so that sharing vehicles is the norm.

And, of the app, they said: "A new app will be the key tool to bring together all mobility data and communicate it to users in a straightforward and easy to use way that has not been possible before in Norwich.

"This will be the 'go to' tool for any journeys that are made in Norwich.

"The app will be able to demonstrate that there are cost, health and journey time consideration of different travel options and should be applicable to both planned and spontaneous journeys."

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: "This would enable us to reduce single car occupancy.

"If we can reduce that by 10pc, it would be a significant change for everybody, cutting congestion and emissions."

The council is due to find out before Christmas whether its bid is successful.

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