Regional transport body Midlands Connect is launching a strategic plan which sets out the future of transport in the Midlands.
The document – entitled ‘Greener, Fairer, Stronger’ – is being unveiled at Midlands Connect’s annual conference in Birmingham today.
The plan outlines the key challenges facing transport in the region, including how a lack of mobility is holding back economic growth and productivity; how levelling up and social exclusion can be addressed with better accessibility and the need to slash carbon emissions.
The plan identifies requirements for major investment needed, from both the public and private sectors, in programmes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, alternative fuels and boosting mobility in rural areas as well as creating more space for passengers and freight on the rail network and a ‘tap and cap’ smart ticketing solution for passengers using public transport.
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The document outlines the importance of new technologies too, with Midlands Connect committing to publish a ‘transport technology route map’ later this year to provide guidance to local authorities and businesses around which technologies are most beneficial.
The needs of the freight industry are also a vital component of the plan, with an emphasis placed on both improving infrastructure to support the transport and logistics sector and a focus on how public and private sectors can work together to ensure that the impacts of HGVs on our roads are best managed.
Midlands Connect also highlights what it believes to be 18 key projects for investment in the next 10-15 years on the road and rail networks.
If delivered in full, these projects will help provide up to £1.9bn more in regional economic output per year by 2040 in the Midlands, rising to £4.1bn per year by 2061 and support ambitions for 334,000 additional jobs to be created in the region.
- Birmingham-Derby-Nottingham rail journey time improvement
- M1 junction 28 improvements
- A50/A500 Corridor Central Section (around Uttoxeter)
- Nottingham-Lincoln rail journey time improvements
- A1/A52 junction upgrade at Grantham
- Coventry-Leicester-Nottingham new direct rail services and journey time improvements
- A46 improvements at Syston
- M1 improvements including Leicester Western Access and North Leicestershire extra capacity
- A5/A426 Gibbet Hill Junction
- A46 improvements between Stratford and Warwick
- A46 improvements in Evesham area
- Kings Norton area rail capacity improvements
- Reinstatement of Snow Hill Station platform number 4 in Birmingham
- Birmingham Motorway Box – safety and reliability improvements
- A5 improvements between Hinckley and Tamworth
- Birmingham-Black Country-Shrewsbury rail journey time improvement
- M6 J15 improvements
- Birmingham – Leicester rail journey time improvements
Midlands Connect chair Sir John Peace said: “Our pledge to this region is simple – we will work behind the scenes to gather evidence, to make plans and bring forward their delivery.
“Most of all, we will not forget the people behind these plans, this grand vision is about giving the Midlands, its businesses and its communities the future they deserve. By working with our partners, playing to the region’s strengths and making a clear case for investment to Government, we can ensure that every single person in the region gets to where they need to be.”
Midlands Connect CEO Maria Machancoses added: “This strategic transport plan is focused on meeting the challenges we face as a region, seizing the opportunity to deliver a greener, fairer and stronger Midlands – one where communities are connected to the jobs, places and services they need to succeed.
“Our research has analysed how people travel, why they travel and where to, both now, and how this needs to change in future. These insights have led us to this plan, one that seeks investment and innovation in the places that need it most, whether it be improving rail services, boosting mobility in rural areas, future-proofing our road network or cementing the Midlands’ place at the forefront of the electric vehicle and hydrogen revolution.
“This report outlines the schemes we think are needed in the short and medium term and there are projects in every part of the Midlands. As part of the report we also look at other projects and schemes we deem regionally important in road, rail and technological advancement. This plan lays out the priority projects for the Midlands in each of these areas.”