Transport for the North gearing up for network overhaul

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Organisation publishes initial evidence which will be used to inform its strategic transport plan, with a consultation period now beginning

Transport for the North (TfN) has published the evidence that will inform its strategic transport plan.

The plan is being developed to ‘transform the North’s economy’ through investment in the region’s transport infrastructure. TfN claims it could help create close to a million new jobs and add almost £100bn to the UK’s economy.

The evidence includes a position statement, initial major roads report and initial integrated rail Report. The work, which was developed in close collaboration with stakeholders and partners, will help shape the strategic transport plan that TfN expects to adopt when it becomes the first statutory sub-national transport body in England, a role it is due to take up at the end of this year.

TfN’s Position Statement explains how the plan will be used to inform the agendas of the Department for Transport, Highways England and Network Rail with regional intelligence.

TfN said many business sectors including logistics, freight, manufacturing, retail, leisure and tourism are reliant on an efficient road system. The initial major roads report outlines the importance of strategic road connectivity in delivering transformational economic growth, and introduces the concept of a major road network for the North which connects the important economic centres and provides a coherent and integrated system which is resilient, reliable and efficient.

Similarly, the initial integrated rail report identifies strategic improvements needed to rail services and infrastructure across the North to enable easier commuting, better business links and greater international connectivity.

Both reports establish priorities for connectivity and are used to identify nine strategic development corridors across the North, including integrated and smart travel.

The region aims to have account-based travel using contactless bank cards which aims to offer an integrated network similar to that in London which covers the whole of the North of England.

Following publication of the Strategic Transport Plan evidence base, TfN will be undertaking events and discussions across the region in the coming months to engage with stakeholders and gather feedback that will be used to inform the Plan.

David Brown, TfN’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “TfN has a clear mission to transform the North’s economy by intelligently developing our transport infrastructure.

“The publication of this evidence is a pre-cursor to our multi-modal Strategic Transport Plan, which will be published for consultation later this year. The work presents a compelling case for change, underlining the economic and strategic benefits of improving freight and passenger transport across the whole of the North to drive economic growth.

“We want to enable the North to make a more significant contribution to the UK economy, through higher productivity, while also increasing job opportunities. This will require the delivery of a sustained and aspirational investment programme across the North to build infrastructure, strengthen skills, harness innovation and encourage smart and innovative technology.”