Leeds transport conversation
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Leeds transport conversation

A citywide conversation about the future of transport in Leeds is underway

Following the decision not to proceed with the New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus scheme in May, 2016. Leeds City Council held a transport summit in June 2016 to look at how best to use the £173.5m funding available to improve transport in the city. This formed the start of the Leeds transport conversation – the biggest-ever discussion on transport strategy held with residents, businesses and visitors in the city.

Through public workshops and forum sessions across Leeds, people were encouraged to complete a survey giving their experiences of transport in the city and what improvements they would like to see. The survey closed in November 2016 and resulted in more than 8,000 surveys being completed. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to get involved and tell us their views.

The feedback showed a desire for deliverable improvements to be made in the immediate to short term to improve public transport across the city. Trends showed a need for better rail and bus services, a clear demand for additional park and ride services, congestion issues to be addressed along with improved accessibility to bring communities, businesses and jobs closer together to boost connectivity and the overall economy and productivity of Leeds.


Leeds Transport Strategy

A new ambitious Leeds Transport Strategy (JPG 2.4MB)​, shaped by the findings, has now been released. The strategy proposes £270million of investment (JPG 2.1MB) which can be made in the short term to improve public transport infrastructure in Leeds, delivering on the deadline set down by the government to spend the £173.5m NGT funding by 2021. This is supported by £71m of investment by First West Yorkshire in a new low-emissions bus fleet, funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council and private developer contributions to the city. The key elements of the strategy are around improving bus and rail infrastructure in Leeds, along with tackling congestion and air-quality issues and improving public spaces to encourage more cycling and walking.

The new strategy and proposals have been guided by a new Leeds transport advisory panel. Chaired by the Director of Strategy for Transport for the North Nigel Foster, the advisory panel (PDF 77KB) includes leading transport experts and senior figures from transport bodies and organisations, along with representatives from the worlds of business, education, planning, accessibility, equalities and campaign groups. Minutes from the panel meeting on 24th November 2016 (PDF 640KB) are available to view.

The proposals and strategy outlined in the DfT Bid Submission (PDF 6MB) were considered and approved by senior councillors at the executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 14 December. The proposals for the £270m investment are now being considered by the Department of Transport with a response expected by the spring. The broader transport conversation will continue this year on the longer-term transport strategy for Leeds.

To see the new Leeds Transport Strategy and supporting documents as part of the December 2016 executive board agenda, please visit our Agenda page.

Mass transit ambition​​

Along with the proposed £270m investment in public transport in the city, Leeds City Council is continuing to press for funding for a viable mass transit system to be put in place as soon as possible. It was not possible to use the NGT money available for this as mass transit systems are considerably more expensive (up to £80m per kilometre to build) and take a long time to deliver, (the government has said the NGT funding must be committed by 2021). There was also a clear direction from those who took part in the transport conversation for actions and improvements to happen as soon as possible rather than waiting for a much longer-term single project to be delivered.


The council is calling on all key partners and everyone in Leeds to work together to secure the funding required so that a plan to provide a mass transit system to benefit all communities and the wider region can be taken forward as quickly as possible.

Key elements of the Leeds Transport Strategy​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Click to expandRail Improvements

​​The proposals for rail include:

  • A parkway station serving Leeds Bradford Airport which also acts as a park and ride for commuters to Leeds and Harrogate
  • A new rail station at White Rose to support the employment and retail centre via improved connectivity
  • A new rail station at Thorpe Park linked to employment and housing growth in east Leeds
  • Access improvements at Cross Gates, Horsforth and Morley rail stations – moving towards all Leeds stations becoming fully accessible
  • Car park expansion at New Pudsey rail station to increase its capacity for park and ride within the Leeds Bradford corridor

Click to expandBus Improvements


Bus travel is the most used form of public transport in Leeds, with 15 per cent of working residents travelling by bus and 250,000 bus trips being made per day in the city. They also provide a key service to those without a car, which is currently approximately one-third of households in Leeds. The proposals for bus improvements are targeted around doubling bus passengers in the city in the next 10 years, and the proposals in the strategy include:

  • First West Yorkshire to provide 284 new low-emissions vehicles by the end of 2020, which will reduce NOx emissions by 87 per cent. Leeds City Council is also in talks with other bus operators about additional investment in their services
  • Over 90 per cent of services on the core bus network to run at 10- minute frequency, along with more frequent early evening services
  • Additional bus priority measures on key corridors including the A61/A639 South, A61 North, A660, A58 North east and A647 to ease congestion and improve bus journey times and reliability
  • A new park and ride site at Stourton with an express bus serving the city centre, along with a further new site in north Leeds and Temple Green which opens next year – would add more than 2,000 additional spaces in the city
  • The current Elland Road park and ride service to continue to be expanded and for it to link with other parts of the city
  • A focus on improving local bus journeys to improve connectivity between communities and neighbourhoods
  • Use of new smart technologies to improve ticketing, boarding and waiting times using real-time updated displays and information to generate increased network capacity, along with free wi-fi on all new buses
  • Bus stops across the city to be improved, with 1,000 more offering real-time information on services
  • Improvements at Leeds Bus Station and enhanced district hubs across the city as part of a more integrated bus network connecting with community services

Click to expandImprovements and enhanced facilities

​​In addition to bus and rail, the strategy also focuses on improving city centre spaces and enhanced facilities in district centres including:

  • Progressing the city centre package which aims to improve public spaces by reducing the dominance of vehicles as part of the preparations for high-speed rail and the remodelled Leeds Station
  • Creating modern transport interchanges around Vicar Lane, the Headrow and Infirmary Street/Park Row

To encourage more cycling participation, Leeds is committed to continuing to improve cycling infrastructure in the city, with £35m being invested in the mostly government-funded City Connect cycling superhighway in the city. Development of the Leeds core cycle network is also ongoing. Through reducing congestion and improving air quality and public spaces, the proposals also aim for a more people and family-friendly approach to encourage more walking.

The proposals in the strategy build on recent successes such as the Park and Ride site at Elland Road, the opening of Leeds Southern Station Entrance and Kirkstall Forge Rail Station, quality bus corridors and significant junction improvements. More is planned over the coming years through the West Yorkshire Transport Fund including the opening of Temple Green Park and Ride next year.

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