Birmingham City Council unveils 20-year transport strategy

Three new tram lines and a re-routed city centre motorway are among the proposals in a new 20-year transport strategy for Birmingham.

A visualisation of Birmingham Connected proposals
A visualisation of Birmingham Connected proposals

The Birmingham Connected document, which aims to improve transport across the city, was launched today by the city council.

Previously known as the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan, the plan aims to cut congestion and promote more sustainable forms of transport, create better links between communities and encourage economic growth.

The document states that the strategy aims to support the city’s emerging key planning document, the Birmingham Development Plan (BDP), which is currently undergoing examination.

Birmingham Connected is "directly linked to the strategies and policies of the BDP", it adds.

The document states: "Investing in a radically improved integrated transport system will realise the city’s potential to support sustainable economic growth, job creation and linking communities.

"The BDP sets out plans to build an additional 51,000 homes, which will grow our population by 150,000 people, and generate 100,000 new jobs by 2031; a transport strategy is needed to help ensure that the economic benefits are realised and the spatial strategy is sustainable."

The document goes on to say: "Birmingham Connected will become the umbrella for all transport planning activity across the city.

"The main intention is that all future schemes and ideas will draw from the principles provided in this document to ensure a consistency of approach."

One of the key proposals is a £1.2 billion public transport network within 20 years that includes "a minimum of three more" Metro tram lines, including a new city centre line in addition to the one being constructed, plus "up to nine" rapid bus routes across the city.

The document also calls for a redesign and re-rerouting of the A38 motorway that runs through the city centre. Consultation on the idea, which could involve new tunnelling under the city, would begin next year.

The city council estimates that all the plans would require a total of £4 billion of investment over the next 20 years.

Other key proposals include:

  • Improving rail links across the city and beyond, including re-opening and upgrading rail routes to city suburbs auch as Moseley and Sutton Coldfield and the neighbouring district of Tamworth.

  • A £400 million upgrade for Snow Hill Rail Station after New Street Station re-opens next year.

  • Investment to improve local connectivity with the proposed High Speed Two line coming to Birmingham.

  • Promoting a low emissions zone in the city centre to improve air quality.

  • Create Green Travel Districts with special measures to help achieve less than 50 per cent single occupancy car use and encourage residents to walk, cycle or use public transport. An initial GTD will be chosen in 2015.

Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, transport and the economy, said: "We will use investment in transport as a catalyst to improve the fabric of our city and boost the local economy.

"We also want to use the transport system as a way of reducing inequalities across the city, providing better access to jobs, training, healthcare and education as well as removing barriers to mobility."

Simon Statham, associate director at consultancy WSP, which spent 18 months working with the council on Birmingham Connected, said the document was an opportunity for the city to "develop some really radical solutions in the future".

He said: "There is huge potential to improve a large area of the city centre which currently has an urban motorway running through it; by providing better connectivity and also freeing up valuable land to be put to better use. 

"A long term vision is needed to ensure Birmingham can move towards a future where the impacts from through traffic are reduced and the potential benefits are maximised."

Birmingham Connected can be found here.

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