A driverless park-and-ride could be on the cards for Aylesbury as the council attempts to plan for a sharp increase in the town’s population and reduce pollution.
Last year Aylesbury was awarded Garden Town status – which means it will receive funding from government to improve the area and provide new infrastructure.
Speaking at a meeting of BCC’s transport committee today (July 17), leader Martin Tett, said the council now needs to “step up the pace” towards improving the town – adding there are “exciting opportunities” to introduce electric and driverless vehicles.
He suggested a park-and-ride system could be introduced, which would see driverless pods take people to the hospital or town centre.
Cllr Tett said: “Aylesbury is going to see a lot of growth – that is just the reality of the situation we have – and I think the more we can introduce real Garden Town principles into that growth the better.
“Not just the new areas, but I think we need to filter that into the existing towns so we don’t end up with a two-tier town – one bit green and pleasant, and the other historic town.
“If you look at the issue of air pollution I think the opportunity for having things like driverless pods from hospital into town is a great way we could potentially look at reducing the air pollution and improving the air quality, and at the same time becoming an exemplar town.”
Aylesbury Vale is set to bear the brunt of Bucks’ housing growth – as the districts work towards creating their Local Plans outlining where thousands of homes will be built over the next 15 years.
There is a predicted need for 27,000 homes in Aylesbury Vale, 9,150 in Chiltern and South Bucks, while Wycombe needs to allocate space for 10,925.
Vice-chair of the transport committee, Cllr Steve Bowles, backed Cllr Tett’s suggestion, saying he has already spoken to AVDC officers about potentially launching a driverless park-and-ride service.
He said: “It could have hubs east, west, south, north of Aylesbury.
“People drive there like a park-and ride-basically and then you pick up your driverless vehicle then you come into town.”
Last week BCC’s cabinet member for environment, Bill Chapple, called for more action to be taken to tackle air pollution, as one in every 18 deaths in the county is blamed on poor air quality.