Twenty year vision for city transport

By on 13/11/2014 in Cllr Ali, Leader, News

Birmingham Connected sets out 20-year vision for city transport

A white paper setting out Birmingham’s 20-year vision for improving transport across the city is set to be unveiled on Thursday, 13 November.

Birmingham Connected, previously known as the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan (BMAP), aims to make the city safer and easier to travel around by reducing congestion and promoting more sustainable forms of transport. In addition to cutting pollution and promoting healthier lifestyles, it would also better link communities and encourage economic growth.

Initiatives included in the plan include:

  • The completion of a £1.2 billion public transport network within 20 years, allowing people to travel across the city in high quality vehicles in safety and, at busy times, faster than they could by car. This would include creating vibrant community spaces across the city.
  • Developing a strategy for the long-term future and role of the A38 through the city, including consulting on options such as substantial redesign and redirecting through traffic on to either a substantially upgraded ring road or new, longer tunnels under the city. Consultation will begin in 2015.
  • The introduction of Green Travel Districts (GTDs) where people are put before cars, enabling residents, workers and visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport safely. This would reduce congestion, pollution, accidents and promote healthier, safer communities. An initial GTD will be chosen in 2015 and a detailed feasibility study carried out.
  • Improving rail links across the city and beyond, including re-opening and upgrading rail routes to Moseley and Kings Heath, Sutton Coldfield via Walmley and Tamworth via The Fort and Castle Vale, supporting new housing and jobs in these areas.
  • £400 million upgrade for Snow Hill Station once New Street Station re-opens fully in 2015.
  • An investment package to deliver Birmingham’s local connectivity strategy for HS2, linking people across the city to it as well as improving links across the wider Midlands region and promoting Birmingham as a place to do to business.
  • Promoting a Low Emissions Zone in the city centre to improve air quality and help Birmingham City Council meet carbon reduction targets, leading to a healthier city.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: “Birmingham Connected sets a new direction for transport, not just for tomorrow but for the next 20 years.  It ushers in a new era in the way we think about moving people and goods from, into, around and through the city and region, delivering projects and infrastructure, and the ways in which we fund them.

“Following public consultation on the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan green paper last year, the Birmingham Connected white paper now sets out our vision for a world class transport system fitting of a world class city.”

Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member for Development, Transport and the Economy, said: “Our vision is to create a transport system, which puts the user first and delivers the connectivity that local people and businesses require.  We will improve people’s daily lives by making travel more accessible, more reliable, safer and healthier, and use investment in transport as a catalyst to improve the fabric of our city and boost the local economy.

“We also want to use the transport system as a way of reducing inequalities across the city, providing better access to jobs, training, healthcare and education as well as removing barriers to mobility.”

Simon Statham, associate director at professional services consultancy WSP in Birmingham, which spent 18 months working with Birmingham City Council on Birmingham Connected, said:  “It’s fantastic to be working on a forward thinking local project of such significance to the region. Birmingham Connected is a real opportunity for Birmingham to think differently about transport and develop some really radical solutions in the future.

“There is huge potential to improve a large area of the city centre which currently has an urban motorway running through it; by providing better connectivity and also freeing up valuable land to be put to better use.  A long term vision is needed to ensure Birmingham can move towards a future where the impacts from through traffic are reduced and the potential benefits are maximised.â€

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am delighted to be launching this new white paper which is vital for Birmingham to continue to grow and prosper. The government has put transport at the heart of its long term economic plan, because the future of successful cities depends on efficient transport that can connect people with jobs, link communities with services and attract new investment.

“The record levels of investment we are putting into our transport network – including HS2 and the £15bn roads programme announced by the Prime Minister on Monday –  will improve roads, stations and railways right across the country.”

-ENDS-

Photographs from the launch event, as well as artist’s impressions of some the sites mentioned in the white paper are available to download here.

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