Business and Economy

Have your say on future transport plans for Exeter

Cover of the Exeter Transport Strategy documentExeter Transport Strategy

Posted on: 22 January 2019

Devon County Council has launched a public consultation on its draft Exeter Transport Strategy.

The strategy is being updated to reflect current travel trends and the needs of communities. It will aim to provide a sustainable transport system which supports continued growth in the city but also enhances the environment for residents, pedestrians and cyclists.

Exeter and the surrounding area has grown rapidly, with 15,000 new homes built between 2005 and 2015. Although traffic volumes have remained unchanged during this time, there has been increased demand on transport systems with rising levels of walking, cycling and public transport use.

One of the greatest challenges for the city is Exeter’s pull from the surrounding towns and rural villages, with its ‘travel to work area’ the second biggest in the country, behind Cambridge. Around 50% of people that work in Exeter commute in from outside the city, but the majority of Exeter residents working in the city now use sustainable modes of travel to get to work.

The County Council has helped deliver around £80 million of new transport infrastructure in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point area since 2011. This has included junction upgrades at Junction 29 of the M5 motorway and A379 Sandy Park; new roads such as the Tithebarn Link Road and Clyst Honiton Bypass which have unlocked major housing developments to the east of the city; road widening at Bridge Road; strategic cycling infrastructure such as Redhayes Bridge over the M5, the E4 cycle route and completion of the Exe Estuary Trail. There has also been continued roll-out of Co-Cars car clubs, Co-bikes electric bike hire; new rail stations at Cranbrook and Newcourt in Exeter; and improved bus services East of Exeter.

With existing transport networks at capacity in peak times, additional capacity is needed to support economic growth, especially with the number of people employed in Exeter and on the outskirts of the city forecast to increase by another 25-30% over the next 20 years. However, the historic road network and the River Exe means there is limited scope for further road widening and highway capacity improvements.

There are three key themes set out in the strategy: ‘Greater Connectivity’ with nearby towns and the rest of the country; ‘Greater Places for People’ to enable a healthier, active city and ‘Greater Innovation’ to make the most efficient use of the transport network through new technologies.

These themes include more specific measures:

  • Retain and enhance strategic road, rail and air connectivity with the rest of the country and overseas
  • A consistent standard of sustainable transport between Exeter and nearby towns, for example, half hour frequency on rail services, high frequency bus services and high-quality cycle routes
  • Double the number of Park & Ride spaces serving the city with Park & Ride sites on all key routes into the city to provide a sustainable travel option for those travelling into the city from rural areas
  • 50% of trips starting within Exeter to be made on foot or by bike. Strategic cycle links will connect residential areas with employment areas and the city centre to support the aspiration to become the country’s most active city
  • Improve bus journey time reliability on key routes into the city, enhance bus connections to key employment sites and work with operators to achieve a modern, reliable and low carbon network of bus routes
  • Reduce the dominance of cars in urban areas and support the uptake of greener technology. This will include corridor enhancements, with particular focus on enhancing Heavitree Road, to reduce pollution, improve pedestrian safety and achieve more reliable journey times
  •  Introduce a single ticket scheme (similar to an Oyster card) and increase shared mobility travel choices, such as car clubs and cycle hire
  •  Test and help develop and launch new transport innovations
  •  Use technological advancements to better understand, operate and effectively manage transport networks with possible innovative car parking strategies to encourage longer stays in off peak hours and in the evening

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The ongoing growth of the economy in Exeter is a success story but it presents challenges for the transport network in the city.
“We need to find new ways to keep the network moving so that Exeter continues to be an attractive place to live, work, study or visit.”

Cllr Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Liaison for Exeter, said: “It is the right time to refresh the transport strategy as travel behaviour is rapidly changing as we see technology impacting more on the way we go about our daily business.
“More people are working from home, shopping online and we need to plan positively for these changing habits and behaviour. I look forward to hearing what people have to say.”

Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director at Exeter City Council, said: “We aim to make Exeter a city where active travel is promoted, and transport is not a barrier to accessing education, jobs, services or social activities.
“Our Corporate Strategy prioritises the need to tackle congestion and increase accessibility and the Exeter Transport Strategy sits squarely within these stated objectives. We wholeheartedly support it.”

Comments received during the consultation, which continues until Thursday 28 February, will help inform the Exeter Transport Strategy and action plan which will be taken before Devon County Council’s Cabinet in the Summer.

The consultation can be found online at:

You can respond online or post feedback to Transport Planning Team, AB2 Lucombe House, County Hall, Topsham Rd, Exeter, EX2 4QD.

For more information, or to receive it in a different format, please email: or write to the above address.

18 comments on “Have your say on future transport plans for Exeter

  1. Hamish Penberthy says:

    With a press release on the 22 January and the consultation closing on the 28 January this feels like a very short timescale to gather views on such an important issue. Make no mistake, Exeter congestion is a nightmare and getting worse. The Strategy continues to be preoccupied with cycling and fails to address the 30,000+cars entering the city a day, and the miserable bus service.

  2. J. Hubert says:

    The recent years of budget cuts the bus services especially from the Exeter commutable belt (Teignbridge) was reduced and a multi million pound project was carried out the widen the Splatford Split (A38 south). With the recent growth in Teignbridge the situation at Splatford Split has become as dangerous as before the improvement works. The tail back in traffic with standstill is now creeping back up Haldon Hill. It is very visible between 8 and 8.40 am. Now it would be a good time to make commuting by public transport more attractive and effective. Every morning the Falcon bus goes past my town Ashburton and if it would stop the service would get me into Exeter with 25 minutes. The current X38 bus was reduced to a few times per day and takes between 50 min and 90min depending on traffic. Devon County Council will face in the near future the question about upgrading the A38 again. Perhaps other options might be more effective e.g. Affordable commuter pass for rail and bus, synchronisation between bus services and rail.

  3. Cat says:

    Part of the plan is to increase the amount of trips that are completed on foot or bikes. Given that some people don’t want to cycle because they think they’re not fit enough, or the issue of getting sweaty if you need to get anywhere fast on a bike, can’t there be more assistance in getting people on electric bikes. The co-bikes scheme is great, but not that convenient for getting to work from your front door. Cycle to work schemes that help people buy bikes tend to have the £1000 ceiling; this isn’t because there is a limit to the cycle to work scheme itself, but because of credit licence limits. The Green Commute Initiative (GCI) is a cycle to work scheme that extends the benefits beyond the £1000 ceiling. Please can someone in the council look into it and consider if GCI or something similar can be supported. Support doesn’t need to be financial, if you could just talk about it, suggest employers seriously consider it for example, I think that would really help.

    For anyone who doesn’t know about the GCI, or what it can do, just Google Green Commute Initiative – all this information and more is in the FAQs section. If you’re buying a decent electric bike, it’ll cost around £2K; the GCI could save you £640, and spreading the cost over a year it would be just £114/month off your take home pay. For employers, you get the benefit of NI savings (typically 13.8% if you finance the scheme yourself, or this drops to about 6% if you go for the financed option which saves the scheme affecting your cash flow).

  4. Robert chapman says:

    Okehampton needs the rail link to Exeter,more people than ever are working in the city and travelling from our area ,at the moment most of these people are queuing in their cars at the Exe bridge pinch- point ,with the rail-link re-established they could simply get off at Exeter central and walk a short distance to their workplace,

  5. Dan Bullock says:

    REMINDER! People commenting here, don’t forget to use the survey to get those thoughts officially recorded and considered:

  6. R Hillier says:

    With 15,000 new homes built between 2005 and 2015 I find it hard to believe that ‘……..traffic volumes have remained unchanged during this time…..’

  7. Mrs Celia Hicks says:

    The philosophy of creating more park and ride can only be a plus for businesses.

  8. William Taylor says:

    This is all a bit back to front- you are asking for comments on a strategy that looks like it’s already been decided. To be blunt it’s not very innovative and looks like the same old same old.
    1) Stop building these huge estates with no infrastructure- no wonder there are too many car journeys when you have to use the car to get a newspaper. Make developers build in fibre broadband as part of planning permission see point 2
    2) Make BT and other providers supply proper broadband for everybody. In Korea- mostly mountains they have an AVERAGE speed of 28.6 Mbit/sec now. We have what – 10? This would keep cars off the road as you could really work from home.
    3) Sort out informatics. I spent a freezing half hour waiting for a bus which never came as it was a Sunday time table but as a new user it was not evident. So back to the car. Other cities have already done it.
    4) Organise buddy groups for cycling into work plus places to store bikes safely, maybe ask the car park operators to cooperate.
    5) Join up the cycle lanes- too often they end and you are back on a main road. Also refresh the markings- many of them are so faded they might as well not be there.
    6) Make park and ride Park and Cycle too, folding bikes are really good these days.- but sort out the route markings and try to make them easy gradients.
    7) Use ANPR technology to encourage park and ride with discounts on council services for frequent users
    8) Look at Light railway/ reviving old lines to improve passenger access
    9) Limit the access of SUVs and other large private vehicles to the city centre.
    There’s more……………….

  9. J D Inman says:

    Try creating more employment opportunities in the outlying villages and towns to reduce the need for commuting to Exeter. All the outlying new housing attracts the commuters. Reduce parking availability in the new housing and stop on street parking totally which then allows access by all including emergency service vehicles, reduces the vehicles per dwelling and makes garages used for cars and not extra rooms.

  10. Charles Conibear says:

    Serious investigation of putting a park and ride at Peamore if this is going to be developed as an industrial estate needs to be taken. A high volume of traffic coming up from the South into the city could be deferred. This would be a better alternative to the proposed Ide plans.

  11. nick unstead says:

    A dedicated cycle route from Crediton to Exeter is needed. Anyone who cycles the route using the A377 realises just how dangerous it is with current traffic levels at peak times

  12. David Treharne says:

    Work with large employers like the University to encourage alternative means of transport to work. Create cycle routes that actually link together and make a cohesive whole, rather than a random patchwork, and encourage employers to provide not only safe facilities for storage of cycles, but also the means of refreshing/washing/showering. Work with Stagecoach to provide not only environmentally friendly buses, but schedules that actually work ( Has anyone from DCC ever looked at the arrival boards in the High Street – they’re usually provide misinformation.) Work on the Exeter Metro system with the railways providing a joined up service rather than three companies who appear to work in competition. Enforce the Parking permit scheme rather than regarding it as a cash cow. Get out of City County Councillors have a day spent travelling on public transport in Exeter, with a specific timetable of places to get too. Actually this provides far too little space to list all the things that could be done, though finally the closure of Paris Street should not be one of them. Regulate it better.

  13. Dan Bullock says:

    People commenting here, don’t forget to use the survey to get those thoughts officially recorded and considered:

  14. Egdar Coate says:

    Paris Street needs to stay open and it would be better if it and the the road next to John Lewis was two way again. They don’t need such a huge pavement there and all it’s done is create a route through a heavily built up area, Longbrook Street and York Road.

    • Dan B says:

      Weirdly, I’m being sarcastic, the pavement is for people not for cars!

      If you’re in town when it’s busy, especially weekends, you’ll see how much use it gets. I’d think the overall plan is to move cars away from the centre of town, not encourage a route through the people.

      Wider perspective and all that…

  15. Roger Staten says:

    Closing Paris street will be a disaster causing more congestion. There should be a recognised inner ring road surrounding the center with clear and fast usage, i.e. no parking, improve right of ways etc.
    Crediton needs to be linked to the west side of the city clearly.
    There should be a northern bypass from the M5 to the crediton and Okehampton roads.

  16. jean alderton-menz says:

    Now that we cannot use the bus station in Exeter, it is often difficult to find the right bus stop. Sometimes buses queue up behind each other, and have driven off thinking they have no passengers to pick up.This happens in Paris Street, and the other week we had to wait for the next bus in the cold for an hour.

    • Alan Rayner says:

      Some drivers have to park ‘buses away from the allocated stop. One evening that
      happened at Stop 16. The driver got onto the pavement and called out to the
      passengers at the stand. I grabbed my bags and ran towards the ‘bus – directly
      into the transparent petition of the Stop16 shelter! Fortunately I had two hours
      on route 5B to recover from a squashed nose.

      This shelter needs additional markings on it so that the endframe has greater
      visibility in the dark.

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