Metrolink Blockade and Track Renewals Evaluation Study

Metrolink Blockade and Track Renewals Evaluation Study


G Smith, Jacobs Consultancy, UK; T Sansom, GMPTE, UK


Results of the stakeholder consultation, qualitative and quantitative market research employed in the process and impact evaluation study covering the planning and implementation of the summer 2007 blockade and replacement buses.


In 2007 GMPTE undertook the replacement of 20km of track on the Metrolink routes between Manchester and Bury / Altrincham. This was the first part of a £102m investment package to upgrade the existing Metrolink network before further expansion of the network.

The chosen strategy involved a 15 week summer 2007 blockade with replacement bus services provided. The scheme was designed to produce higher ride quality and lower noise benefits to passengers and local residents, as well as improved performance, safety and maintenance.

Jacobs Consultancy and Ipsos Mori were commissioned to undertake the evaluation of the blockade and track renewals through Process and Impact evaluation.

The work involved research and analysis at three key stages ? pre-blockade, during the blockade and post-blockade. The study has involved; extensive household interview surveys; longitudinal qualitative research through focus discussion groups; pre- during and post Metrolink, bus and rail counts, and; stakeholder research.

The study will be completed in spring 2008 and will report on the process employed for the planning and execution of the blockade, drawing conclusions on the lessons learnt for informing future Light Rail investment delivery strategies in Manchester and elsewhere.

The study will report on the counterfactual situation and utilise the research information to draw conclusions on the impact of the investment. Some key findings that will interest others will relate to;

? Lessons learnt in the planning and delivery of the blockade and replacement bus services;
? Passenger take up of the replacement bus services and resultant impacts;
? Passenger satisfaction regarding ride quality and other factors;
? The rate of recovery of Metrolink patronage compared to the baseline / counterfactual;
? The impact of the blockade on short term travel patterns and;
? Any longer term impacts on travel behaviour.

The paper will draw from the research evidence and will focus on the issues that will interest transport practitioners facing similar transport investment delivery decisions.


Association for European Transport