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