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Strategic Transport Plan

The success of the UK in the global marketplace, and the achievement of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, depends on the transformation of the economy of the North of England.

The economic gap between the North and the national average necessitates a radical change in the North’s economy, which is home to internationally regarded and highly productive assets, expertise, research and businesses.

The conclusions of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review set out the need to support growth of the North’s businesses and trade. Delivery of economic growth will require investment and improved performances in a number of critical areas, especially skills, innovation and inward investment, alongside transport infrastructure and services.

Building on the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, Transport for the North (TfN) has made significant progress in developing the case for strategic transport investment across the North.

TfN, with its Partners, is developing a Strategic Transport Plan and accompanying long-term Investment Programme, so that people and businesses can see a firm commitment to create a stronger, more diverse and resilient economy.

When finally adopted early next year, the Strategic Transport Plan will be TfN’s principal policy document and the plan of the statutory body. The Strategic Transport Plan, and its supporting evidence, will inform how HM Government, Network Rail, Highways England and HS2 Ltd. can work with Partners in the North to deliver investment that can transform the economy.

A copy of the Draft Strategic Transport Plan is available by following this link. 

Current programmes

There are a number of ambitious programmes which form the foundation of our Strategic Transport Plan:

Northern Powerhouse Rail

Northern Powerhouse Rail is our ambitious plan for a rail network that will provide fast, frequent and reliable links between the North’s biggest city regions and its largest airport.

The emerging vision is to deliver a step change in connectivity, combining new, upgraded and already planned lines and fully integrating with HS2. Delivered over 30 years, the prove will improve east-west connections and offer a radical change in journey times – boosting productivity and creating more opportunities across the North.

Transport for the North is currently preparing a Strategic Outline Business Case for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Find out more about Northern Powerhouse Rail here.

Integrated and Smart Travel

Our Integrated and Smart Travel programme will allow passengers to travel quickly and easily on public transport around the North. Our ‘tap-in, tap-out’ system will enable fast and stress-free payment with a ‘fair-price promise’ to ensure they’re getting the best value travel and a real-time journey planning system to keep passengers on the move.

The aim is to use emerging technologies, allowing mobile payment methods and travel information to be available across rail, bus and light rail services. In turn this will increase use of public transport and convenience for passengers.

The programme will be delivered in four phases, starting with the Smartcard rollout on key rail routes.

Find out more about Integrated and Smart Travel here.

Major Roads

We are working with DfT and Highways England to inform priorities for road investments in the North, from 2020 onwards. We are also working on three major Strategic Road Studies, looking at improvements to Northern Trans-Pennine routes, transforming journeys around the M60 North West Quadrant and the possibility of a Trans-Pennine Tunnel linking Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region.

Working with our partners, we have already created a Major Road Network for the North of England, a map of the local and strategic roads vital for economic growth. This will set the framework for future investment and a whole network approach to improving travel around the North.

Find out more about Major Roads here.

Strategic Rail

The Northern and TransPennine rail franchises are now managed in partnership between TfN and the Department for Transport. This ground-breaking devolution decision is driving transformational investment in the region’s railways over the next five years.

As well as co-managing rail franchises – which are aimed at delivering transformation across the rail network – we are also responsible for shaping the future of infrastructure investment, bringing track and train together in a coordinated approach.

Find out more about Strategic Rail here.

Freight and Logistics

Moving goods around the North is imperative to building a transformed economy. Currently, many of the goods destined for the North or exported from the North are shipped through Southern ports or airports. Transporting goods effectively into, out of and around the North would boost both sustainability and business.

In order to create a global economy, providing better and more reliable connectivity for freight and logistics businesses is fundamental. Our priorities include creating better east-west and north-south links, as well as increasing capacity.

Find out more about Freight and Logistics here.

International Connectivity

If the North’s economy is to compete on the international stage it needs direct links to the rest of the world. Our International Connectivity Commission has brought together business leaders to make recommendations on the air and port links needed to grow the Northern Powerhouse.

Our Business Plan for 2018/19 provides further information on our current work programme and the progress to date, a copy can be found here.

Challenges Ahead

The need to improve the North’s transport infrastructure is now well understood by our Partners. Our work is focused on establishing the solutions needed and the most effective means of delivery. This requires Transport for the North to provide the collective civic and business voice needed to plan and secure the required investment.

Our objectives over the next 12 months are focused on the following:-

  • Continuing to be a strong, unified voice for the North on issues affecting transport and northern prosperity
  • Delivering the Strategic Transport Plan and Investment Programme following publication in early 2019
  • Continuing work on a programme of Strategic Development Corridors for pan-Northern transport interventions, developing a Strategic Outline Business Case for each corridor that will benefit passengers and freight
  • Further developing our freight and logistics transport analysis, identifying key priorities for investment and informing future programmes for the strategic road and rail networks
  • Developing the Outline Business Case (OBC) for Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Establishing the Major Road Network and progressing an evidenced-based approach for its early, identified schemes
  • Continuing the procurement and implementation of the Integrated and Smart Travel service. Continuing to promote the programme and securing buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders
  • Working with the Department for Transport we will progress the management and development of rail franchises in the North

Our Business Plan for 2018/19 provides further information on our current work programme and the progress to date, a copy can be found here.

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