Skip to page content
View our Strategic Investment Plan

Outer orbital area study

The outer orbital area encompasses the strategic corridors that follow the coastline from the New Forest in Hampshire towards East Kent.

This area serves some of the largest and most dynamic conurbations in the South East. It also boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in southern England, including two National Parks. This area also faces challenges in terms of deprivation in some coastal communities – many of which are served by poor transport connectivity.

A map showing the outer orbital area of the south east


  • Slow rail journey times and localised capacity challenges on the East and West Coastway and in the Solent area
  • High mode share for cars and goods vehicles, with the same roads being used for a conflicting mix of local, inter-urban and long-distance journeys
  • New development constrained by transport capacity as well as geographical challenges and protected landscapes
  • Localised poor air quality and safety issues due to strategic road network running through densely populated urban areas
  • The need for efficient access to ports and other international gateways


  • Rationalisation of local/urban and longer distance/inter-urban movements
  • Mass rapid transit (MRT) opportunities for local/urban journeys in larger conurbations, including the Solent and Greater Brighton areas
  • Improved rail connectivity for Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne to support development and regeneration, and reduce road congestion
  • Demand management, mode shift, and integrated planning approach
  • Targeted highways improvements to address ‘missing links’ at several locations between Portsmouth and Dover

Working in partnership

Partnership working is at the heart of our approach, making sure we capture invaluable insight and experience from stakeholders across the South East as we develop our investment priorities.

This area study is being led by a working group comprising senior officers from local transport authorities , local enterprise partnerships and other key partners including Network Rail and National Highways and protected landscapes.

The working group is supported by a stakeholder forum. This brings together a wide range of groups and organisations including transport operators, active travel campaigners, universities, environmental groups, local planning authorities, business groups and many more. 

Outer orbital working group

Brighton & Hove City Council
Department for Transport
East Sussex County Council
Enterprise M3 LEP
Hampshire County Council
Kent County Council
National Highways
Network Rail
Portsmouth City Council
Solent Transport
South Downs National Park Authority
Southampton City Council
West Sussex County Council

Outer orbital stakeholder forum

Adur District Council
Arriva Southern Counties
Arun District Council
Ashford Borough Council
Brighton & Hove Buses / Metrobus
Brighton & Hove City Council
Buses in Fleet (Bus user groups representative)
Campaign to Protect Rural England
Chichester District Council
Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
Confederation of Passenger Transport
Dover District Council
East Hampshire District Council
Eastbourne Borough Council
Eastleigh Borough Council
Enterprise M3 LEP
Fareham Borough Council
Federation of Small Businesses
First Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire Ltd
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Friends of the Earth
Go South Coast
Gosport Borough Council
Govia Thameslink Railway
Great Western Railway
Hastings Borough Council
Homes England
Horsham District Council
Logistics UK
Mid Sussex District Council

Motorcycle Action Group
New Forest District Council
New Forest National Park
Newhaven Port Authority
Port of Dover
Port of Southampton
Portsmouth City Council
Rail Delivery Group
Rail Freight Group
Road Haulage Association
Rother District Council
Shoreham Port Authority
South Downs Society
South East Community Rail Partnership
South East England Councils
Southeastern Railway
South Western Railway
Southampton Airport
Southampton City Council
Stagecoach Bus
Test Valley Borough Council
Thanet District Council
Transport Action Network
Transport Focus
Wealden District Council
Wealden District Council
Winchester City Council
Worthing Borough Council