Hertfordshire needs much better east-west transport. The A414 is already over-loaded, while current public transport is both limited and slow.
The best possible game-changer would be an east-west tramway linking together such ever-expanding places as Hertford, Hatfield, and St Albans. Hertford Civic Society has been actively campaigning for a route of this kind. The Civic Society has a transport development professional among its members (Reg Harman). In 2018, the Civic Society facilitated his presentation to Hertfordshire County Council of what he calls Herts Orbital Transport (HOT).
Hertfordshire County Council originally advocated a different set of proposals (in their LTP4 transport strategy of 2016). This involved a Hertford bypass and, at best, an enhanced east-west bus route, termed an MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). However, in the face of ‘community resistance’ to this package, spearheaded by Hertford Civic Society, the County Council managed a rethink .
Plans for the bypass were put on hold, and options for east-west public transport were enhanced, possibly even involving a tramway. This new east-west transit option, still in principle featuring either buses or trams, is called HERT (Herts Essex Rapid Transit). There is no fully defined route, though the eastern terminus might be Harlow or Stansted Airport (both in Essex).
While a tramway line would involve higher up-front investment costs than buses, Hertford Civic Society actively supports a tramway. Tramways offer a unique combination of high capacity levels, high speed, high efficiency in the use of energy and staff, and easy access.
Given all the new housing across Hertfordshire, the County needs the best possible transport of an environmentally sustainable kind. If we are to change travel habits on any large scale, and tempt people out of their cars for many journeys, trams would be more popular and effective than buses. Recent heatwaves and droughts are a reminder that ‘transport as usual’ (just building more roads) is no longer an appropriate option.