A NEW long-term plan which sets out a two-decade vision of how people will get around Southampton has been approved, with a network of park and rides as well as a “mass transport system” among ideas tabled.

The Connected Southampton – Transport Strategy 2040 outlines the authority’s “vision” for a “thriving” city, and includes schemes to make it easier for both residents and visitors to traverse it.

Council transport boss Jacqui Rayment says the plan will “shape how we make changes and transformations to transport in the city”.

It has also been backed by opposition Conservative members, with their roads chief Councillor Steve Galton proclaiming: “We will be supporting you with this, in all the ways that we can.”

The strategy, which was officially pushed through at Full Council on Wednesday, also includes scheme ideas such as Active Travel Zones and the Southampton Cycle Network, which looks at improving the uptake of walking and cycling around the city.

The council will also be using the document as a framework in its bid to push Southampton towards becoming a Zero Emission City.

This includes the adoption of a “mass transport system” which civic chiefs hope will allow people to easily use public transport to travel around and across Southampton on “reliable, high quality” vehicles. They say this will work by the introduction of a “united system” that allows users to make and pay for their journeys “seamlessly”.

Speaking at full council, Cllr Rayment said: “The scheme will help us to tackle challenge we face in the city, such as congestion, health, and social inequalities.

“We have to do things differently.”

Following the meeting, she added: “I’m really excited about working to deliver our plans set out in Connected Southampton 2040. This is a long term strategy that will ensure the city continues to grow and people can get around easily and safely in a clean, green and sustainable way.

“We have listened to the local people that commented on our plans last year. They want us to deliver on our plans for Park and Rides, to improve public transport, to invest in making walking and cycling easier and more attractive, and on making sure our transport system supports the economic growth of Southampton.”

More than 1,400 people responded to the consultation on the plans last year. This feedback, the council says, was used to form the strategy.

Cllr Galton said: “The vast majority of things in this document are for the long-term and we will work with you to help secure major funding towards it.

Nevertheless, the Millbrook member did take a dig at the plans, saying that “as you can imagine, we would’ve done some things a little differently”, but added that this should not take away from his party’s offer to help the Labour-run council pursue cash grants for the scheme.