The ConnectedCities methodology identifies Stevenage as a potential hub town. It has a population of 89,000 and is one of the largest towns in Hertfordshire. It is the first of the post-war new towns, with a growing regional acute hospital (Lister Hospital). Within 15 minutes rail travel of Stevenage are:
Hitchin (pop. 33,000) - an ancient market town that has successfully adapted to the challenges of the centuries;
Letchworth Garden City (pop. 33,000) - the first garden city;
Baldock (pop. 10,000) - another old market town, much smaller than Hitchin and Letchworth;
Arlesey (pop. 5,000) – a small, straggling, largely unplanned town in Central Bedfordshire. Its present station is too far north to serve the town properly;
Knebworth (pop. 4,000) – a large village centred on a station;
Watton-at-Stone (pop. 3,000) – a village entirely to one side of a station;
Not on the railway but in the area is Stotfold, a small town in Central Bedfordshire, and various villages. Together they have a population of approximately 41,000.
The first ConnectedCity is in at least four local government districts: Stevenage Borough, North Hertfordshire, East Hertfordshire, and the unitary council of Central Bedfordshire. If it has a station at Woolmer Green it will also include part of Welwyn-Hatfield.
Stevenage is an Intercity station on the East Coast Main Line. North of Stevenage a line to Cambridge diverges at Hitchin, and to the south a loop line via Hertford North diverges, rejoining it at Finsbury Park.
The FCC is identified in the Hertfordshire CC Transport Vision as being in both Corridor 3 (N-S) and Corridor 7 (E-W) including links to and between Luton and Stansted airports.
Rail services within the FCC are good, with 2 rail operators
and six stations
The main line is four-track, but its capacity is limited by a two-track section at Welwyn viaduct and Welwyn North station. There is a flyover south of Stevenage at the junction with the Hertford loop, and another north of Hitchin for trains to Cambridge.
The European Rail Traffic Management System (a ‘system which will replace traditional railway signals with a computer display inside every train cab’, enabling trains to ‘run at an appropriate safe speed, allowing more trains onto the tracks’) is being tested on the Hertford Loop.
Walking & Cycling
Stevenage was designed with dedicated cycleways and a network of pedestrian routes which avoid vehicle traffic. Hitchin and Letchworth both have extensive existing networks of pathways centering on their stations.
At present Stevenage has a large bus station in the centre of the town. Services from it are both local to Stevenage and also serve the other towns of the FCC.