Councillor tests traffic times in Cheltenham
TEN journeys. Five routes. Two vehicles. One man.
With St Margaret's Road three-week traffic light switch-off kicking off today, Councillor Andrew Lansley, will embark on his crusade to discover just how commuters winding their way by car through Cheltenham will be affected by the traffic trial.
For the next five days, Mr Lansley (Lib Dem, St Paul's) will take to the wheel to drive five routes across town.
And to add another dimension to his own experiment, he will be alternating the journeys he makes between his Volkswagen Polo and Citroen Relay white van.
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His routes will start from his home opposite the University of Gloucestershire's Francis Close Hall campus, to the institution's Park campus, where he works as a lecturer.
The stopwatch will run from the moment his key turns in the ignition, and stop only once he's reached his destination, in his quest to assess how congested the journey is.
"I hope to have a better understanding on the impact that the switch-off will have on traffic and also to see if there is a difference," he said.
"I'm not looking to replicate the statistical data that will be used to assess efficiency, just to experience for myself the problems faced by drivers using the road and how it impacts on using the roads of St Paul's."
Mr Lansley will set off between 8.30am and 9am today and tomorrow, between 9am and 9.30am on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9.30am and 10am on Friday.
As well as tracking his progress in the Echo, Andrew will use Facebook and Twitter to log his experiment, illustrating his findings with screenshots of Google Earth and maps as he compares the estimated times with the real length he spends in the vehicles.
"The journey usually takes between six and 11 minutes, depending on traffic and the lights," he said.
"At the moment I can't tell if it's going to be worse or better, or make no difference whatsoever – it could go wrong, or it could have a positive effect."
Mr Lansley has admitted he would prefer Cheltenham to be a cycling town although he recognised many made their way to work by car.
He added: "I can't blame them for using St Paul's as a rat-run to avoid the sets of lights that halt traffic trying to drive through the town.
"It makes sense to this trial from the point of view of those it will affect the most."