Northern Powerhouse Integrated Transport debate

TPS was delighted to invite Paul Foster (Leeds City Council), Nicola Kane (TfGM) and Jonathan Spruce (Transport for the North) on 2 May to debate where there is consensus in the strategic vision for transport investment across Northern England. In a fascinating debate chaired by Professor Greg Marsden, the panellists displayed a strong common vision in many aspects

What are the top 3 transport priorities of cities, city-regions, and the North?

All three speakers placed improved rail connectivity across the North, including integrated ticketing, as the greatest priority for their organisations. Leeds and Greater Manchester also recognise that to grow they need to achieve modal shift within their city-regions, including for orbital trips requiring a step change in the quality of transit links, cycle routes and the public realm. TfN on the other hand is also prioritising a programme of road improvements to support certain economic corridors and sectors.

What is the case for greater transport spending in the North?

All three speakers emphasised that the case for greater transport spending in the North was fundamentally about delivering economic opportunity, improved health and environmental outcomes. There was general agreement that beyond the BCRs of individual schemes, the case for package of measures needed to be made at the heart of government and in the Treasury.

Do these competing transport priorities add up to a coherent spatial and modal investment framework?

Overall both city-regions have strong mode shift aspirations enabling them to cater for growth sustainably and take a lead in carbon reduction. Transport for the North was challenged on the scale of the highways improvements in its strategy. It was noted that the strategy meets current government policy, although it pre-dates the recent announcement on net zero carbon emissions, which will be very challenging to meet without significant commitment to complementary demand management measures.

What needs to change in order to deliver this investment?

The success of Greater Manchester in developing a robust delivery pipeline highlights the potential benefits of devolved multi-year funding. It was noted that the experience of last year’s rail chaos has focussed the minds of politicians on what real devolved accountability means.

TPS would like to thank the Leeds College of Building, the UK transport planning apprenticeship provider, for being a fantastic host. And of course our catering sponsors – Systra and Tracsis.


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