Climate change planning for West Midlands transport future

A wide-ranging plan is being drawn up to guide and direct investment and development of the West Midlands region’s transport network to meet the challenges of climate change, population growth and traffic congestion.

Emerging technology and innovation such as new types of bus services and smart travel apps are set to play a major role in the way transport works for areas like the West Midlands.

The plan, in development, will also look to build on changes seen during the coronavirus pandemic – such as the growth in cycling and walking or reduction in peak-time five-days a week commuting.

Transport for West Midlands has launched a discussion paper, Reimagining Transport in the West Midlands, which sets out the challenges faced by the region and highlights some opportunities for the future of the transport system.

The paper outlines how a major shift to cleaner technology, more sustainable transport and options and changes in travel behaviour and lifestyles will will be needed if the 2041 net-zero target is to be met over the next 20 years.

The new plan sets out five motives for change; sustaining economic success, creating a fairer society, becoming more active, supporting local communities and places and tackling the climate emergency.

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, says: “In recent years we have seen unprecedented investment going into our tram, rail, bus and cycling networks. And we are now beginning to see the results on the ground with cycle hire docking stations in our towns and cities, major engineering works on our Black Country, Eastside, and Westside Metro extensions, and the re-opening of the Camp Hill and Walsall to Wolverhampton railway lines. But we have a long way to go to make up for historic under-investment.

“This new plan sets out how we’re going to do that, whilst also ensuring we make the most of new technologies and the phenomenal innovation that is happening right here in our region. From our 5G testbed to the Future Transport Zone, not only can we continue to invest billions of pounds in public transport, but also help tackle climate change and create jobs in the process.

“We know how critical strong transport links are, and at the heart of our plan is an ambition to continue to provide better connectivity to left-behind communities to help everyone have the same chances in life.”

Reimagining Transport in the West Midlands is available for download and the consultation runs until 27 August. Responses will feed into the development of a draft plan to be issued early in 2022.