Five things you need to know about TfN’s draft Strategic Transport Plan

Strategic Transport Plan - Crossing point on Peak District railway line
Transport for the North’s much-anticipated Strategic Transport Plan was published yesterday. The documents sets out an ambitious and bold vision for a better-connected, thriving North of England. The plans aims to create 850,000 new jobs and add £100bn to the region’s economy over the next 30 years. The 96-page document is out for public consultation until 17 April and you can submit your views here.

Top five

If you can’t stomach wading through the document, here are my top five things to take away:

  1. The plan proposes a £69bn investment programme across seven growth corridors. That’s equivalent to just £150 per northern passenger each year.
  2. TfN aims to bring 1.3m people within a 60 minute commute of 4 or more northern cities and 39% of businesses within a 90 minute train journey.
  3. Forget ‘Crossrail North’ or ‘HS3’. Northern Powerhouse Rail is a package of staged investments aimed at speeding-up journey times across the North’s big cities and Manchester Airport. Plans include new railway lines and upgraded track.
  4. It’s not all about people. The plan includes a new freight-only rail route across the central Pennines and explores ways to add extra capacity on the road network to improve the movement of goods across the North.
  5. A simplified and smarter ticketing system across rail and bus travel is on the way. Expect contactless ticketing, enhanced real-time serviced information and integrated pricing across the region in due course.

Much will be made of Transport for the North’s lack of fund raising powers to deliver the investment programme envisaged in the Strategic Transport Plan and the region’s continued reliance on central government funds. But this shouldn’t detract from the significant progress that TfN has made in a short space of time.

To get business and politicians from across the North to agree on what investment should be prioritised is no mean feat, especially when it means some areas losing out to others. With TfN moving to a statutory status in April the battle for fiscal powers is in the future.

Private sector must have its say on Transport plan

Now is the time for the private sector to say whether the draft plan is right for our region and if it is, to do what it can to persuade those in Government to back it. It won’t be enough for civic and business leaders to speak with one voice – although that is perhaps the most powerful aspect of the Strategic Transport Plan.

becg is a sector-specialist, multi-disciplinary communications consultancy for the Built Environment. We work with public and private-sector clients to provide corporate counsel, advocacy and communications strategies that influence policy making at a local, regional and national government level.

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