News - 04 April 2022

Midlands Connect reveals “fairer, stronger, greener” transport plan for the Midlands

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 and 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 to invest in to provide the greatest benefits, while minimising risks.

The needs of the freight industry are a vital component, with an emphasis 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 a clear directive from Government, to research, develop and recommend the most important transport investments, the projects needed to support a more productive, prosperous and sustainable Midlands. 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, they are:

  • 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

Boosting regional output

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.

Commenting on the release of Fairer, Greener, Stronger, 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.”

Commenting further, 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 & hydrogen revolution.

“This report outlines the schemes we think are needed in the short and medium term and as you can see 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.”

You can download the full plan here, or download a summary version here.

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