Midlands Connect - Developing a Complementary Investment Programme to High-Speed Rail in Birmingham and the Wider Region
Lorenzo Casullo, Steer Davies Gleave, Maria Machancoses, West Midlands ITA
Policy-makers in the Midlands are preparing for the arrival of HS2 in Birmingham with a long-term investment strategy, Midlands Connect.
The construction of the second High-Speed Rail line in Britain is about to begin. The new line will connect London to Birmingham by 2026, and will subsequently provide connections to both the North-East and the North-West. This investment will place Birmingham and the Midlands at the centre of the HSR network, and presents the opportunity to have a transformational impact on connectivity, urban planning and economic development at different levels – very much in contrast with the typical incremental fashion of transport investment in the UK.
The West Midlands ITA has been set up in 2014 to oversee the development of different plans at the local, metropolitan and regional level. These plans recognise the need to invest early in connectivity improvements and strategic infrastructure, skills and marketing campaigns to unlock the full economic potential provided by the arrival of HS2. The overarching document bringing these together is the HS2 Growth Strategy submitted to the UK Government in April 2015. Steer Davies Gleave, leading international transport consultancy, have supported the ITA and local partners at different stages of the analysis providing economic and transport planning advice.
Together, the WM ITA and SDG will present the audience with the initial outcomes of “Midlands Connect”, a 20 year pan-regional multi-modal programme of investment that will feed into the UK’s national infrastructure plan on our road and rail networks aimed at maximising the economic opportunities of HS2 and further advance the Midlands region’s economy and successful export markets.
The innovative elements of Midlands Connect will be explored in a policy-oriented presentation, including: the ability to work together across geographic boundaries to build a large consensus and identify options at the appropriate level of decision-making; the importance of long-term planning to complement large infrastructure investment through urban policies and Enterprise Zones; the key focus on outcomes that maximise the potential of local economic assets and contribute to the economic development of the Midlands.
Association for European Transport