Southend on Sea

Pilot Site: Southend-On-Sea

Partner in Trace in charge of the Pilot site: Southend-On-Sea Borough


The Borough of Southend-On-Sea is located on the north side of the Thames Estuary, approximately 40 miles east of London. The Borough is 16.1 square miles in size and made up of 17 wards, with a total population of 177,900. Southend is an important economic and residential part of the Thames Gateway regeneration area and, with seven miles of seafront; it is a key destination for tourism and leisure. The Borough’s economic links with areas beyond its boundaries are strong, particularly with London, which is within convenient commuting distance and accessible by two railway lines, with journey times of around one hour.

Southend-On-Sea sustainable urban mobility goals

Southend-on-Sea’s Local Transport Plan states the policy goals for sustainable transport as:

  • The Core Strategy Development Plan provides the vision, objectives and broad strategy for the spatial development of Southend, with quality improvements to transport infrastructure, accessibility and the promotion of sustainable travel regarded as essential in delivering regeneration and development in Southend.
  • Transport related strategic objectives of the Core Strategy are: 

    • Secure a ‘step change’ in the provision of transport infrastructure as an essential part of new development.
    • Secure the sustainable use of the River Thames and its Estuary as an asset for transport, leisure and business.
    • Reduce congestion within the Borough.
    • Encourage and facilitate the use of sustainable modes and public transport for travel
    • Ensure access to London Southend Airport is predominantly by sustainable modes.

Notable Achievements

  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has won several awards for its behavioural change campaign, Ideas in Motion. This campaign sought to ask citizens for their ideas, hints and tips on how to travel sustainably. This work was carried out in conjunction with hugely successful personal travel planning. During this activity we visited over 30,000 households and conducted a questionnaire led conversation with over 10,000. This lead to 30% of those asked stating that they used their cars less. 

Activities in TRACE

Southend on Sea will test three TRACE tools:

  • Positive Drive pilots

Engineers and Transport Planners currently rely on traffic counts to inform policy and strategy. As a side benefit of cycling and walking tracking we will have access to large amounts of data on the journeys made by users. This data will enable information valuable for planning and devising policies on issues like: better linkage between spatial planning and mobility planning, congestion, delays and capacity allocation and studying and taking into account choice preferences of cyclists and walkers. 

  • Traffic Snake Game tracking application pilots 

This tool is ideal to build on the work delivered by the personal travel planning, Ideas in Motion behavioural change campaign and the general delivery of sustainable transport education in schools. It will seek to further encourage parents, partly via pester-power, to leave the car at home and walk their children to school. This will lead to a longer term behavioural change and have lasting health benefits.

  • Cycle to Shop incentives pilots

This pilot will introduce a tracking-based mechanism to identify cyclists arriving to specific places, i.e. shops, which will be able to confirm their mode of arrival and offer discounts or gifts on that basis. This has a two-fold interest to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. Firstly it will encourage additional cyclists to use sustainable means to travel to the shops. Secondly, the tool will demonstrate to business holders the value of the cyclists £. Thus having the result of business holders enticing cyclists into their business by offering further facilities and catering for their needs.

Quick facts

Population: 177,900

Road network length:  452.7km

Cycle paths length: 76km

Walking paths length (Public Right of Way): most footpaths are combined with cycle paths.

  1. Footpath 45 km
  2. Bridleway 1km
  3. Restricted Byway n/a
  4. Byway Open to All Traffic 1 km

Public transport (PT) modes: Bus and Train