Staying on Track: Rail Demand Modelling and Multi-modal Project Appraisal, Challenges with Evolving Local Transport Governance in England
Chris Bushell, CH2M HILL, Gareth Walters, CH2M HILL, James Willcock, MetroWest Phase 1, West of England Councils
This paper reports on the methodology being employed to model and appraise a major enhancement to urban railways in a changing local governance environment, bringing together a diverse range of organisations, tools, data and techniques.
The West of England (WoE) city region consists of the four local authorities that cover the area around the commercial city of Bristol (namely Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils). The MetroWest project forms an important part of the city region’s economic growth agenda. The city region’s vision is to build on its already high share of national economic growth, particularly by improving access to major employment sites for the skilled workforce catchment, and anticipates population to exceed 1.1 million by 2026. Planning for this and maximising potential for continued economic growth needs transport infrastructure that is fit for purpose and responsive to increasing demand.
MetroWest is a high priority part of the future transport network of the city region, making better use of a hitherto underused transport asset; the local rail network. The project will deliver enhanced rail services on lines into Bristol, including re-opening a disused rail line and stations closed over 40 years ago, and enhanced services on existing lines.
Devolution of funds and decision making with local prioritisation, gives responsibility to approve and fund the scheme to the Local Transport Body Board (LTBB) for the WoE, though the LTBB is no different to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in insisting on rigorous value for money assessment consistent with the DfT’s Transport Appraisal Guidance (the recently ‘restructured’ WebTAG). A collaborative approach is being taken to developing the project, led by the scheme’s promoters (the four WoE councils of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) and their consultants, with technical support from the rail industry through the involvement of Network Rail.
This paper reports on the modelling and appraisal being undertaken to develop MetroWest, which involves an innovative approach with multiple sources of data and modelling tools, all the while promoting a rail project in a major scheme process previously dominated by road-based schemes. The methodology will use a combination of rail industry techniques, region-wide multi modal modelling and local data.
Association for European Transport