Cambridge Mass Transit

Project Details

Project Description

LBA Role

Project Highlights


City of Cambridge




Sept 2017 – Dec 2017 and Nov 2018 – Dec 2018

Project Type

Metro, tunnels and Infrastructure



Project Description

 The City of Cambridge and its surrounding region is one of the most vibrant economic zones in the UK.  Extensive development has taken place around the University City and consequently gridlock regularly occurs on the roads at peak times.

Smart Cambridge, a consortium of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cambridge Ahead and Cambridge University, have developed a concept for a mass transit system based on the use of battery-powered rubber-tyred vehicles operating in tunnels through the centre of Cambridge and on tarmac roadways around the perimeter of the city – Affordable Very Rapid Mass Transit (AVRT) – to address these congestion issues.  

Steer were appointed by The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority and Greater Cambridge Partnership Board to develop this concept. The output from the study was the preparation of a strategic options appraisal report providing sufficient information to assist in the development of an outline business case for a future transport system for Cambridge.

LBA Role

LBA was appointed by Steer in 2017 to provide geotechnical, buildability and cost consultancy advice as part of the development of the strategic options appraisal.  Key elements of the proposals which LBA assisted with included:

  • The provision of a high level geotechnical report looking at the ground conditions in and around the Cambridge area and its suitability for the development of a tunnelled transit system.
  • A report looking at the feasibility of building a below-ground central interchange within the centre of Cambridge, based on the AVRT proposals.
  • Various exercises looking at the costs for a tunnelled transport solution including the construction of an extensive underground central interchange in the centre of Cambridge.

LBA’s subsequent role 

Following further study and engineering development, LBA was appointed by Steer to carry out a peer review, including cost review of the preferred option, in late 2018.

Project Highlights

 Following their review of the various options and their benefits / drawbacks and significant stakeholder consultation, Steer, the scheme developer, developed their own proposals for a transport system which they called Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM). 

This would consist of a series of bespoke rubber-tyred articulated vehicles each with a capacity of 100-250 people.  These vehicles would operate on a network of routes around Cambridge with a central 6km tunnel section through the city centre.  The network would include a combination of segregated and shared running including making use of the guided bus routes already developed around the Cambridge area.

Accreditations and Affiliations