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Infrastructure blog

Northern transport: the need for joined up infrastructure

09 May 2018
The need for a joined up approach to infrastructure is at the centre of ICE’s response to Transport for the North’s recent and extensive consultation.
Northern transport: the need for joined up infrastructure
ICE has submitted a supportive response to Transport for the North’s (TfN) ‘Draft Strategic Transport Plan’ consultation. It outlines how enhancing capacity, connectivity and reliability will raise economic productivity and improve quality of life across the North of England.

TfN as a sub-national transport body has now received statutory status. This is an important milestone that enables TfN to determine transport investment priorities and how the capital that it is allocated is spent.

ICE’s consultation response

To provide TfN with even greater strategic independence ICE’s consultation response emphasises the need for the organisation to raise its own capital in the future.

To ensure long-term success there are also a number of steps that TfN should take. For example, promoting and helping to facilitate the development of an over-arching infrastructure strategy for the North. Recognising that transport networks are inherently interlinked to the wider built environment sector and that a joined up approach to infrastructure delivery and management will deliver the best outcomes for users is critical.

Careful planning to ensure that the North of England is ready for HS2 is necessary if the region is to maximise the economic benefits of its arrival. This means undertaking thorough work to identify the most effective options – in agglomeration terms – for linking Northern Powerhouse Rail with HS2.     

There is also a need for TfN to consider the role of new technologies in the development of the North’s transport networks in the future, while ensuring that key improvements to current transport provision are carried out to plan. This includes planning for the digitisation of rail, the very realistic prospect of autonomous vehicles and the development of mobility as a service platforms.

Read ICE’s full consultation response

Producing the final Strategic Transport Plan

TfN’s consultation was extensive, encompassing 34 public events over a 13 week period and many written responses were expected by the April deadline. TfN is now faced with the huge task of trawling through each response as it prepares to publish its final plan by the end of 2018.  

ICE will continue to support TfN as it seeks to make transformational improvements to transport across the North.

We will also continue to champion the greater devolution of powers over infrastructure to similar organisations – in the belief that doing so can improve the delivery, integration and overall performance of key infrasture networks.

  • Ben Goodwin, lead policy manager at ICE