Masterplan lays out the future of Midlands transport network

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Regional Transport body Midlands Connect is 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 and the need to slash carbon emissions.  The plan sets out where the region can tackle some of these challenges.

The plan identifies requirements for major investment needed, from both public and private sectors, in programmes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, alternative fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen for HGVs, boosting rural area mobility, more passengers and freight on the rail network and 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 to invest in to provide 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.

Midlands Connect has also highlighted key projects for investment in the next 10-15 years on the road and rail networks. These include

  • 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

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, rising to £4.1bn per year by 2061 and support ambitions for 334,000 additional jobs to be created in the Midlands, says Midlands Connect.

Midlands Connect Chair Sir John Peace said: “We will 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.

Midlands Connect CEO Maria Machancoses added“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.”