The Importance of Transport Connectivity in Supporting Regional Economic Development



The Importance of Transport Connectivity in Supporting Regional Economic Development

Authors

P Knight, R Redfern, N Woollett, AECOM Ltd., UK

Description

This paper describes an innovative modelling approach directly influencing future investment and policy in the South West of England. The Study?s high level outcomes attracted significant attention at both regional and national level.

Abstract

This paper describes an innovative modelling approach directly influencing future investment and policy in the South West of England. The Study?s high level outcomes attracted significant attention at both regional and national level.

The South West Draft Regional Spatial Strategy and Regional Economic Strategy have established the growth agenda for the region for the next two decades. Continued economic development and inward investment are essential to enhancing the region?s prosperity, and thereby the quality of life for its population. The need to promote and maintain connectivity between places of economic importance is becoming increasingly important. This study examined the links between transport and the economy in terms of the supply and demand relationship between productivity and the performance of the transport network.

The study has pioneered a new approach to quantify the importance of transport connectivity. This combines the economic importance of places and connections with transport network data to provide a scoring value for corridors between strategic centres. By considering the contribution of movements to the economy of these centres we can produce an indication of the level of contribution to the regions? future economy. The analysis has been completed for individual transport corridors within the South West region and for corridors connecting the South West to other UK regions. This has also included the assessment of the relative importance of the Regional Spatial Strategy Proposed Modification corridors. The approach has been multi-modal, making use of data from the Department for Transport?s National Transport Model and rail demand data, alongside available information on the movements to and through the region?s ports and airports. The work has trialled a number of further assessment methodologies, including benchmarking of the transport network and estimating the unlocking potential of removing pinch-points on the network.

Our work has highlighted the high economic importance of seven of the transport and economic corridors defined in the RSS Proposed Modifications. Furthermore, the assessment of future transport network capacity has identified that sections of many corridors are likely to fall below performance and capacity benchmarks in 2026, and therefore should be priorities for future investment in the transport networks. This has been an important study to assist in the focusing of investment and has shifted policy thinking in terms of considering:

- A sound economic basis for scheme prioritisation;
- A combination of economic and transport criteria in assessment;
- An approach that reflects the spatial planning and growth agenda for the region; and
- The forecast changing growth and activity distribution across the South West, and between the region and the rest of the UK.

Publisher

Association for European Transport