WSP, the engineering professional services consultancy, has been appointed by Coventry City Council to undertake the multidisciplinary development of the city’s transformative Very Light Rail (VLR) project.
Due to be in operation by 2025, VLR will run between Coventry Railway Station and University Hospital, promoting the rapid and affordable movement of people around the city.
Being battery powered, VLR will be zero emissions in operation and support better air quality and improved congestion within Coventry.
WSP’s multidisciplinary role includes commencement and feasibility studies as part of the first development stage, in order to take prototype through to reality. Specialisms including Transport Planning, Rail, Highways and Planning Information Management.
Anna Wilson, Director, Transport Planning at WSP, said: “I’m very proud of the work WSP has done alongside Coventry City Council for a number of years and the potential VLR has to transform the city is really exciting. As a proud investor in the West Midlands, it’s brilliant to see such ambition from Coventry to recognise the benefits of solutions such as VLR, which can connect communities, reduce congestion and drive economic growth within the region.”
Coventry’s VLR track will require much shallower excavations along active roads than a traditional tram system, and the process of track production is modular. This off-site development allows for both lower manufacturing and track construction costs.
It is a key pillar of the city council’s wider Strategic Transport Investment Programme, an ambitious ten-year programme to drive sustainable high value economic growth.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Board Director said: “This project will be the first of its kind in the world and has been led throughout by world beating local automotive experience, using cutting-edge materials. The proposed VLR network is key to our vision for transport here in Coventry. We want our public transport to be efficient, affordable and most importantly environmentally friendly. Coventry led the industrial revolution and with projects like this, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, our electric bus fleet and our plans for a Gigafactory, means we are well-placed to lead the green, zero-carbon revolution too.”
Chris Wood, Project Director at WSP, said: “VLR is an exciting, innovative project that aims to revolutionise light rail by enabling the system to be implemented significantly quicker and cheaper than conventional light rail. This directly aligns with Government’s desire to build back better, greener and faster. We are thrilled to be continuing to work with Coventry City Council on the VLR programme and utilising our extensive light rail and TWAO skills to help develop the first route.”