SINTROPHER – South Fylde Line Connectivity Study

SINTROPHER – South Fylde Line Connectivity Study


Geoff Smith, Jacobs, Robin Hickman, UCL, Chris Anslow, Lancashire County Council


The SINTROPHER South Fylde Connectivity study included best practice option development, selection and appraisal. The project assessed the impact of alternative appraisal approaches to the decision making using UK and other EU systems.


In 2014/15 Lancashire County Council, in association with the SINTROPHER EU project, undertook an innovative transport apporaisal study based on both user and regeneration benefits to identify the best option for improving connectivity as part of the economic regeneration of the Fylde – one of the most deprived areas of the UK and EU. The study followed UK best practice and, through the partnership with UCL and specialist advisors included an assessment of how the case for infrastructure investment would vary using different EU appraisal systems, specifically weighting of different objectives in decision making and investment.

There had been a long history of studies and initiatives in this region of the UK - but no agreed plan for the area which involves 3 levels of administration (District, Unitary and County). The study, undertaken by Jacobs, stepped back to review the evidence base, define objectives and conditional outputs, identify a long list of initiatives, shortlisted the initiatives against the conditional outputs and appraise the shortlisted schemes.

The study, required to fit the GRIP0 – 2 stages of the rail industry, was required to identify a single solution for development to inform the next stage engineering design study. Demand forecasting and appraisal methodology was designed to utilise industry best practise and appropriate to each mode and journeys being assessed. The study placed an emphasis on new emerging and low cost technologies across rail, bus, tram-train and intermediate modes.

The economic appraisal was undertaken to assess (a) the traditional UK transport objectives; (b) the wider economic objectives allowed in UK transport scheme appraisal; (c) the wider and local economic objectives, and (d) the alternative economic appraisal approaches of different EU regions.

Given the strong economic regeneration objective underlying the need for investment the presentation will draw out the differences between the appraisals conclusions under the different approaches and the resultant differences in terms of justification for the investment. The study will be completed in May 2015 and at the end of January 2015 the shortlisting of options for appraisal is taking place – ensuring a wide range of options are taken forward for the final stage. The paper will conclude with the conclusions of how the study is taking forward the wider SINTROPHER project and lessons that can be drawn to maximise the benefits for other areas, commissions and help shape future UK appraisal practice and discussions over the weight of economic growth benefits within UK appraisal.


Association for European Transport