A collaboration of three companies has been appointed by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Nestrans to undertake the Aberdeen Cross City Connections study.

SIAS, Peter Brett Associates and Energised Environments are to work together on delivering the study.

The purpose of the study is to consider transport connections between new areas of development (both housing and employment) on the periphery of Aberdeen, and in areas of Aberdeenshire close to the Aberdeen City boundary, in conjunction with the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

The aim is to provide viable, attractive, sustainable and direct transport linkages, as an alternative to the private car.

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Council Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “This is a step forward in producing our Aberdeen Cross City Connections study which will benefit both residents and visitors to the city.

“We look forward to the study starting.”

Nestrans Chair Councillor Ramsay Milne said: “We welcome the appointment of the collaboration of the three companies which will help move the study forward.

“It is important for the whole of the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire areas that transport connections both between new developments and around the AWPR are worked collaboratively with different partners.”

SIAS Commission Director, Bob Nicol, said: “SIAS, Peter Brett Associates (PBA) and Energised Environments are delighted to have been appointed as the consultants for this study.

“Together, the collaboration has extensive local knowledge and familiarity with the city region, experience in consultation, transport modelling and environmental issues in the region, as well as specific experience of public transport and active travel demand forecasting and appraisal, and the STAG process.

“We look forward to continuing our successful working relationship with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, NESTRANS and Transport Scotland, and engaging with local communities, transport operators and other stakeholders to develop transport solutions that provide new attractive linkages to support the new development areas, as well as supporting reduced car use and the Climate Change agenda.”

The Aberdeen Cross City Connections study comes from a 2013 Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP) by Aberdeen City Council which focussed on the delivery of the Strategic and Local Development Plans, and identified five key infrastructure goals - housing supply, digital connectivity, skills and labour, transport, and providing a better image for Aberdeen.

In relation to transport, the SIP identified a new project, the Cross City Transport Connections, which will look at how best to lock in the benefits of the AWPR, including opportunities for improving internal connectivity once it is open.

The SIP report said the current Local Development Plan will see the development of significant new housing and business park developments in the coming years.

It highlighted how other similar-sized cities to Aberdeen across Europe have developed rapid transport systems or light transport systems, which connect communities to major sites including universities, business parks, harbours, airports, stations and city centres. The report said these systems are being put in place to tackle issues of congestion, pollution and good connectivity.

The SIP stated a feasibility study would be carried out to start to investigate ways to maximise connectivity between new developments arising from the Local Development Plan, including continuing discussions with Nestrans and Transport Scotland in relation to planning and funding.

Funding for the Aberdeen Cross City Connections study comes from Aberdeen City Council and Nestrans, and will be managed by a project steering group which also includes Aberdeenshire Council and Transport Scotland.

The study will be undertaken in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and will include consultation with stakeholders, businesses and communities; development and consideration of the objectives for the corridor; and consideration of options across all modes for achieving the objectives set.

The study will consider the most efficient and effective network of connections between these areas, based on a range of sustainable transport modes. Key outcomes will be determining patterns of demand, technical and operational feasibility of alternative modes, and commercial viability.

This initial stage of the study is expected to take around a year to complete, with the outcomes informing a more detailed assessment of possible options which best meet the objectives of the study.

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