Masterplan lays out future of Midlands transport network

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Regional Transport body Midlands Connect is today launching its Strategic Transport Plan for the Midlands – entitled ‘Greener, Fairer, Stronger’ – at its annual conference in Birmingham.

The plan lays out the key challenges facing transport in the Midlands, 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 sets out where the region can come together and work as one to tackle some of these challenges.

It identifies requirements for major investment needed, from both the public and private sectors, in programmes for:

  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
  • Alternative fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen for HGVs;
  • Boosting mobility in rural areas;
  • Creating more space for passengers and freight on our rail network
  • A ‘tap and cap’ smart ticketing solution for passengers using buses, trams, bike hire and the rail network across the Midlands (similar to the system used in London)
  • The document outlines the importance of new technologies in transport, with Midlands Connect committing to publish a ‘Transport Technology Route Map’ later this year which will provide guidance to local authorities and businesses on which technologies offer the greatest benefits, while minimising risks.

The needs of the freight industry are a vital component of the plan, with an emphasis placed on both improving infrastructure to support the transport and logistics sector, as well as a focus on how public and private sectors can work together to ensure that the impacts of HGVs on our roads are best managed.

The plan has focused on what it believes to be the key projects for investment in the next 10-15 years on the road and rail networks.

These include journey time improvements on rail routes linking Birmingham with Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, the reinstatement of platform four at Snow Hill Station and improvements to various other road and rail routes.

These projects, if delivered in full, will help provide up to £1.9bn more in regional economic output per year by 2040 in the Midlands, according to Midlands Connect.

They claim this will rise to £4.1bn per year by 2061 and support ambitions for 334,000 additional jobs to be created in the Midlands.

The report is being launched today at the Exchange in Birmingham with Transport Minister Wendy Morton MP.

The conference will also hear from the West Midlands mayor Andy Street, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh MP, Alex Norris MP, Cllr Ben Bradley MP, Baroness Nicky Morgan and Lord Ravensdale amongst others. Other panellists come from Highways England, National Grid, The Sunday Times, CBI and East Midlands Airport.

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.

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