spatial planning

Better connectivity and economic growth through spatial planning

The Strategic Transport Plan for the northern portion of UK rail is looking to be revised as Transport for the North outlines the regions shared positions. This comes as part of a plan to enhance mobility for the local communities and support businesses.

A collaborative approach to supporting spatial planning and improving rural mobility has been approved by the North of England’s political and business leaders, paving the way for improved connectivity and economic growth in the region.

The policy positions are part of Transport for the North’s (TfN) work to update its 2019 Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for the region and outline the benefits to be gained from investing in transport infrastructure. The TfN Board Members have acted to reinforce the importance of the region as they unite with “one voice” to project the need for better and more connected transport networks. These connected parties will also help to inform the statutory advice the Sub-national Transport Body (STB) provides to Government.

The policy position on rural mobility outlines how the TfN’s work can be used to support its partners as they seek to address ongoing issues such as the cost of public transport, dependencies on car travel, and the limited services. The TfN are soon to be publishing research on transport-related social exclusion, which further expands upon the issues highlighted.

The rural mobility document outlines four key areas for the TfN to address, such as the need to develop the rural evidence base and enhance the modelling capabilities that will better reflect the rural need. They must also assist partners to identify appropriate solutions through the collating of case studies that can support the development of innovative ideas. Collaboration with other STBs will identify best practices and help the understanding of place-based solutions. Finally, the utilisation of TfN’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to monitor improvements in pan-Northern mobility.

The policy positions around spatial planning help to highlight the TfN’s importance of working with its members in a collaborative approach, which allows all parties to share insights and key experience. Through this method, a nuanced view to planning for transport and commercial needs can be achieved.

The key roles for the TfN within this context are the early engagement with development partners which supports the identification of strategic infrastructure options. The evidence base from the TfN must be available to enable a consistent approach when analysing the relationship between proposed developments and TfN’s strategic transport vision for the North. This includes TfN’s Transport Decarbonisation trajectories, Northern Evidence Hub and technical analysis and modelling capabilities.

Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said:

“In 2019 we published our Strategic Transport Plan: this sets out an ambitious vision for the North of England, one where modern transport connections enable sustainable economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

“As we embark on creating a revised Strategic Transport Plan it’s important that we take into account the challenges and opportunities around decarbonisation, changes in travel behaviours post pandemic, and the emergence of new technologies.

“Developing these and other policy positions, will help us ensure that the revised Strategic Transport Plan remains in-step with the needs and ambitions of the North of England’s residents and businesses.”

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