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UK Road Sense, Dorset Way / A3049 50 limit

Thank you for your recent email regarding the roadside survey on the Spur road last Thursday.


The roadside surveys are being undertaken by staff from Dorset County Council, however the SE Dorset Transport Study is a partnership project, jointly funded by the 3 Local Authorities - Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset County Councils - and the Highways Agency (who are responsible for running the trunk road network inc the A31), plus contributions from Regional Government bodies. Borough of Poole is lead Authority for the Study.


The purpose of the study is to develop the business case to support major road/ transport infrastructure improvements that are not only to solve existing transport problems, but also to investigate the impacts of future development proposals emanating out of the Regional Spatial Strategy.


The study aims to collect a true picture of transport movements in the area. The most high profile element of the data collection is the roadside interview surveys. Additionally further surveys of public transport users and interviews at a number of public and workplace car parks are planned this autumn.


Information from motorists and public transport passengers about their journeys will help with the development of a comprehensive computer-based model of travel patterns. This will help inform decisions on highway and transport improvements over the next 20 years plus guide future housing and employment development.


The model is vital to help predict the likely impacts of major projects proposed for the area, such as the A31 Poole link plus airport and port access improvements and other major routes. With some 42,000 new jobs and 48,000 new dwellings - identified in the Regional Spatial Strategy for south east Dorset over the next 2 decades - it is essential that we start the planning now.


The councils must have a Department for Transport (DfT) approved model to stand a chance of claiming government funding for schemes - estimated to be £400 million.


Whilst I understand the frustration of sitting in queues during the roadside interviews, this needs to be balanced against the need to collect accurate information in order that our long term transport plans for the area have a sound basis.


A model is only as good as the data put in, and whilst there have been advances in technology such as number plate recognition cameras and satellite tracking, these methods would not provide the detailed information required for the type of transport model that's needed. A roadside interview is still the only effective means of collecting the information. To develop a comprehensive model it is necessary to collect information from the busier roads over a 12 hour period including the rush hours. It is also necessary to undertake the surveys on parallel routes, on this occasion Matchams Lane, to capture information from those drivers who may have attempted to avoid the queues on the Spur road by taking the back roads.


It's recognised that any type of obstruction or incident on the Spur road will cause significant delays, especially during rush hour periods. However the surveys must be conducted with safety for motorists and survey staff as the prime consideration - that is why it is necessary to place cones and signs to create a safe area for conducting the survey. The site traffic management was designed in line with Dept for Transport Chapter 8 guidance used for roadwork's, which dictates that for high speed dual carriageways the 2 running lanes need to be reduced to one to allow the safe access and exit for sampled traffic under Police direction, and for the safety of motorists and survey staff undertaking the interviews. Warning signs are also placed in advance of the survey sites in line with the guidance.


The other emergency services are notified in advance of the surveys to minimise the disruption to their operations. In the event a number of ambulances had to make their way through the queuing traffic.


Delays and inconvenience for motorists are an unfortunate consequence of collecting this data at the roadside - if there was an easier or less disruptive method available you can be assured we would use it. I can only repeat my apologies for the queues.


Whilst we do not publish the details of the survey locations to avoid motorists diverting en-mass and skewing the data, if anyone has a flight, ferry or important hospital appointment, they can contact the project team with their journey details and we may be able to advise them if they may be affected."


The project team can be contacted by answer phone on 01202 265260 or email: SEDorset.transport@poole.gov.uk.


Alternatively, you can visit www.bournemouth.gov.uk/SEDorsetTransportStudy for more information. The link to the 'frequently asked questions' page may be of particular interest.


I hope this provides some clarification to points raised,