Planning for Transport Capacity to Deliver the West Midlands Regional Economic Strategy
J Baker, S Kohli, K Schofield, Mott MacDonald, UK
The paper presents results and conclusions of a study carried out to investigate and provide a strategic overview of the capacity of the West Midlands (U.K.) region?s transport networks to support economic development projects.
There are nine Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England, U.K. which have responsibility for economic development, business investment, employment, skills and sustainable development. They are tasked by the U.K. Government to develop and deliver Regional Economic Strategies. Advantage West Midlands (AWM), the RDA for the West Midlands region, commissioned Mott MacDonald, in association with GVA Grimley, to investigate and provide a strategic overview of the capacity of the region?s transport networks to support economic development projects and highlight any major areas of concern arising from future proposals.
The study involved identifying the proposed major employment development projects in the West Midlands (WM), assessing their spatial location and composition and considering the deliverability and phasing of each development site. The processed employment information was fed through PRISM, the West Midlands strategic transport model (www.prism-wm.com), in order to provide a detailed analysis of the impact upon the travel demand, the region?s transport network and its capacity. These are discussed in this paper.
In this paper we present the key elements of this study covering:
?Spatial assessment of the development sites;
?Phasing and deliverability of the key employment sites;
?Compatibility of the development forecasts of employment growth with national forecasts for the WM region; and
?Impacts of the developments on the forecasted transport capacity in the WM region with a focus on the impacts on the most congested parts of the WM road network;
?Measures to tackle the key pinchpoints in transport network are also considered as part of the transport strategy development process. Based on the findings of this study, a number of recommendations of the ways in which to ease congestion and maximise capacity of the network in the West Midlands is also suggested.
In discussing the results of the study we also try to identify some general lessons about the inter-relation of transport, employment development, housing and demographic trends on economically and socially disadvantaged areas within the region. Possible short and long term alleviation measures are also discussed.
Association for European Transport