Open Access Articles- Top Results for Transport in Cardiff

Transport in Cardiff

Transport in Cardiff, capital and most populous city in Wales involves road, rail, bus, water and air. Several factors have influenced the development of its transport network. It is a major city of the United Kingdom and a centre of employment, government, retail, business, culture, media, sport and higher education.

Welsh Government statistics for 2008/09 showed that Cardiff had the lowest percentage of the population who travelled to work by car, van or minibus, suggesting the highest public transport usage to work out of all 22 local authorities in Wales.[1]

Between 2008 and 2009, car and taxi usage dropped from 59.7% to 52.3%, while walking was up by 1.4% to 18.3%. For bus usage, the figure had risen by 3% to 15.5% and cycling use increased from 1.6% to 7.4%. Train usage also rose from 3.8% to 4.7% over the same period.[2]


The M4 motorway connects Cardiff to towns and other cities in Britain. To the east: Newport, Bristol, Bath, Swindon, Reading and terminating at London. To the west: Bridgend, Swansea, Llanelli and terminating near Carmarthen. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Cardiff can be accessed directly from junctions 29 - 34 inclusive:


M4 Motorway
Eastbound exits Junction Westbound exits
No access J29 Cardiff East and South A48(M)
Cardiff East A4232 J30
Cardiff Gate services
Cardiff East A4232
Cardiff North, Merthyr Tydfil A470 J32 Cardiff North, Merthyr Tydfil A470
Cardiff West, Cardiff International Airport, Barry, Penarth A4232 J33
Cardiff West services
Cardiff West, Cardiff International Airport, Barry, Penarth A4232
Llantrisant, Rhondda, Cardiff Northwest A4119 J34 Pendoylan, Cardiff West, to the A48
A48 (M) Motorway
Eastbound exits Junction/Interchange Westbound exits
Newport, Chepstow,
London M4
M4 J29 Start of A48(M)
Start of A48(M) J29A No exit
A48 (T)
Eastbound exits Junction Westbound exits
St Mellons A48 J29A Start of A48(T)
Bridgend (M4), Pontprennau,
Cardiff Gate A4232
Pentwyn Interchange Bridgend (M4), Pontprennau,
Cardiff Gate A4232
Pentwyn Llanrumney Interchange Pentwyn
Cardiff East, Docks, Cardiff Bay A4232 Llanederyn Interchange Cardiff East, Docks, Cardiff Bay A4232
Access only UHW University Hospital
(M4 West), University Hospital, City Centre A470 Gabalfa Interchange City Centre, (M4) A470
Start of permanent dual carriageway Road continues as mostly single carriageway
Llantrisant A4119 Road junction City Centre, Llantrisant A4119
Fairwater, St Fagans, Pentrebaine B4488 Road junction Fairwater, St Fagans, Pentrebaine B4488
City Centre, Cardiff Bay A4161 Roundabout City Centre, Cardiff Bay A4161
St Fagans Road junction St Fagans
City Centre, Penarth A4232
Barry A4055
(M4), Newport, Bridgend A4232
Culverhouse Cross
City Centre, Penarth A4232
Barry A4055
(M4), Newport, Bridgend A4232
Start of A48 (T) - End of A48 (T)

The A48(M) motorway connects Junction 29 to the city centre with exits for the Cardiff suburbs of St. Mellons (westbound only), where it becomes the A48, Pontprennau (M4 junction 30 via the A4232), Pentwyn, Rumney, Llanederyn and also for the University Hospital of Wales.

File:Ely Link Road.jpg
The Peripheral Distributor Road (A4232) Ely Link Road

The A4232 (also known as the Peripheral Distributor Road) connects M4 junction 33 with junction 30 by bypassing through the south of the city. From junction 33, exits are at Culverhouse Cross Interchange, Leckwith Interchange, Ferry Road Interchange (for Barry and Penarth) and Butetown, the road ends at Queen's Gate Roundabout, where the long awaited Eastern Bay Link Road will eventually link with the Southern Way Link Road. It then goes onto the M4 at junction 30 via the A48 (Eastern Avenue) and the Pentwyn Link Road (A4232).

The A470 road is the main North - South Wales route running from Cardiff Bay to Llandudno via exits for the suburbs of Tongwynlais and Taff's Well. The A470 is a major road within the city that provides an important link with the Heads of the Valleys road, Mid and North Wales.

As with many other cities car traffic has caused congestion problems and as such the council has designated bus lanes to improve transport into and out of the city centre. The Welsh Assembly Government is considering the introduction of variable congestion charging in the city centre, but only once there has been significant investment in the city's public transport network.[3]

There are several road and rail bridges that cross the River Taff in Cardiff. These include the Clarence Road Bridge, a comparatively modern bridge which replaced a swing bridge. The original bridge was named after the Duke of Clarence.

Much of Cardiff's central shopping zone is pedestrianised, and further pedestrianisation is planned as part of the current St David's 2 regeneration scheme.


Railways in Central Cardiff

The largest stations in Cardiff (and Wales) are Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street which over 10 million people use each year.[4] They are both operated by Arriva Trains Wales and controlled by ticket barriers.


Cardiff Central is the 10th busiest station in the United Kingdom outside of London with 7 platforms.[4] Cardiff Central is situated on the South Wales Mainline providing national services while Cardiff Queen Street station is the hub of the Valley Lines suburban rail network (See Below).

Central Station provides regular shuttle services to London Paddington via Bristol Parkway, with other links to Swansea and West Wales on the South Wales Main Line while other national services connect Cardiff with Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield, York, Newcastle upon Tyne, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Recently there have also been improvements to the north-south Wales rail network and there are now services every 2 hours that connect Wrexham, Llandudno and Holyhead in North Wales to Cardiff in the South.

It is conveniently located right next to Central Bus Station on Wood Street, less than 5 minutes walk from the St. Mary's Street and Queen Street, two main shopping streets in Cardiff city centre.

Suburban rail

Main article: Valley Lines
File:143607 at Gloucester.JPG
Arriva Trains Wales in Cardiff Central

Cardiff has an urban rail metro network operated by Arriva Trains Wales known as Valley Lines. With Cardiff Central and Queen Street as the hubs, it connects Cardiff's northern, southern and western suburbs to the city centre. There are eight lines that connect Central and Queen Street stations to 20 smaller stations in the city, 26 in the wider urban area (including Taffs Well, Penarth and Dinas Powys) and more than 60 in the South Wales valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan.[5] The council is investigating converting the Cardiff City Line, Coryton Line and Butetown Branch Line into light rail lines and extending them in the near future.[6]


Cardiff has a comprehensive bus network, with council-owned Cardiff Bus providing the vast majority of routes in the city and as well as Newport, Penarth, Barry, Cardiff International Airport and Llantwit Major. Stagecoach in South Wales, Edwards Coaches and EST Buses also provide services in the city.


Stand B at Central Station is used for services to destinations outside Cardiff and the Vale such as TrawsCambria X40 to Aberystwyth, Shuttle 100 to Swansea, Stagecoach services to the Valleys and all National Express Services (e.g. Birmingham, London, Leeds).

The Megabus service to London, and to Newcastle via Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds stops outside Cardiff Castle on Castle Street.


Cardiff Bus uses stands B, C, D, E, F and W at Central Station and Wood Street. Other bus stops in the city are located in Westgate Street, St. Mary Street, Castle Street, Kingsway, Greyfriars Road, Dumfries Place and Queen Street Station. Cardiff Bus operates a comprehensive Overground network.[7]

Cardiff Bus operates the Free b service, a free shuttle bus that circles the city centre every 10 minutes, linking major bus and rail interchanges, as well as the stops of the four Park and Ride services.

Cardiff Bus has introduced "bendy buses" on the popular 17 and 18 Capital City Red routes to Canton, Ely and Caerau and on the Baycar route. Its hub is Cardiff Central Bus Station.

Park and ride

There are four Park and Ride services in the city:

The new park and ride is part of Cardiff council’s Sustainable Travel City initiative, which is partly funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. There are plans to extend the number of space from 340 to 1,100 due to its sudden increase in usage.[8]


File:Heath cycling sign.JPG
A directional sign for cyclists in Llanishen
Main article: Cycling in Cardiff

Cycling in Cardiff is facilitated by its easy gradients and large parks.[9] In 2005, 4.3% of people commuted to work by cycling, compared to 2% in London and 5% in Berlin.[10] However, cyclists in the city appear to be influenced by deterrents to cycling and as a result will need a greater level of improved facilities to increase cycling numbers, according to research by Cardiff University.[11]

There are 3 major off-road cycle routes in Cardiff, each following a major river in the city. The Taff Trail follows the River Taff south to north from Cardiff Bay, through the City Centre, Maindy, Llandaff, Radyr and Tongwynlais towards Brecon. The Ely Trail follows the River Ely west to east from St Fagans through Fairwater, Leckwith and Grangetown to Cardiff Bay. This route is connected to Penarth via Pont y Werin cyclist bridge. The Rhymney Trail follows the River Rhymney east to west in Pentwyn and Llanrumney.


The Aquabus runs every hour between the city centre (Taff Mead Embankment) and Cardiff Bay (Mermaid Quay), and between Cardiff Bay and Penarth (Cardiff Bay barrage). Throughout the year Cardiff Waterbus sail between the Pierhead on Cardiff's Waterfront and the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage with short sightseeing cruises. Between March and October boats also depart from Cardiff Bay to take visitors to Flat Holm Island. The Paddle Steamer Waverley and MV Balmoral sail from Britannia Quay (in Roath Basin) to various destinations in the Bristol Channel.


Cardiff, as well as South and West Wales, is served by Cardiff Airport (CWL). Scheduled, charter, and low-cost flights are operated on a regular basis to Anglesey, other UK destinations, Europe, Africa and North America all year round.

File:Cardiff Heliport.jpg
Cardiff Heliport

It is located at Rhoose, south west of the city and has a dedicated railway station at Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station and is linked by bus to Cardiff central bus station.

The Cardiff Heliport is the main operating base of police support services, and can handle passenger traffic, especially during major sporting events as the Millennium Stadium.


There are a number of plans in Cardiff to help facilitate traffic into the city centre and reduce chronic congestion that has plagued the city in recent years. The main city centre thoroughfare, St. Mary's Street, was closed to private vehicles in 2007.


There are plans to complete the outer ring road, by completing the Eastern Bay Link Road which will help transport into Cardiff Bay and reduce congestion in the city centre. However the cost of the project has delayed construction and there is still no date for when it will commence.

By 2009 the M4 motorway will have been expanded to 3-lanes on both sides between junctions 30 and 32 helping to ease the chronic congestion on this part of the motorway.

There are also plans to begin Park and Ride services between the New Cardiff City stadium and a new site at Llanrumney by 2009, helping to ease city centre congestion. In fact the council has proposed on a number of occasions a Congestion charge during the morning and afternoon peak to discourage motorists in the city centre.

Rail and light rail

There are plans to open more railway stations on existing lines in order to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and help reduce city centre congestion. Services on the Merthyr Line doubled to two per hour and a new rail service began on 6 February 2008 on the Ebbw Valley Railway.[12][13] Further improved frequencies with Pontypridd and Caerphilly to 7 per hour and 5 per hour respectively are expected.

Also of note is the long-held plan to introduce a light rail line connecting Cardiff Bay. However it is likely to have been shelved due to rising costs. Work on the new transport interchange to replace the Cardiff central bus station began in January 2008.

A new out of town parkway-style station with 3,500 parking spaces has been proposed.[1]


  1. ^ Welsh Assembly Government | Local Area Summary Statistics p34
  2. ^ Guardian Cardiff | Castle Street roadworks end as figures suggest change in travel behaviour
  3. ^ Williamson, David (2005-08-26). "Congestion charge for Cardiff?". Western Mail. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. ^ a b "Station Usage 2005-2006" (XLS). Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  5. ^ "Network Map - Valleys & Cardiff local routes". Arriva Trains Wales. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  6. ^ "Local Transport Plan". Cardiff County Council. 2000-08-01. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  7. ^ Overground
  8. ^ Abby Alford (2009-12-04). "News - Cardiff News - New park and ride is a ‘resounding success’". WalesOnline. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  9. ^ "Travel News - South East Wales : Live Road Incidents". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  10. ^ "Cycling in London - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  11. ^ "Evaluating the Success of Urban Cycle Networks - Research database - Department for Transport". Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  12. ^ Valley train link ready to open BBC News - 4 February 2008
  13. ^ "Train service resumes 46 years on". BBC News Online. 6 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06.