Collaboration is key as Transport for the North revises its Strategic Transport Plan

Martin Tugwell, chief executive of Transport for the North. Image from Transport for the North/David Oates

A collaborative approach to spatial planning and rural mobility can support better connectivity and economic growth in the North of England, according to Transport for the North (TfN).

TfN has outlined the region’s shared positions as part of work to revise the Strategic Transport Plan and enhance mobility for people and businesses.

The organisation says 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 TfN’s work to update its 2019 Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for the region and outline the benefits to be gained from investing in transport infrastructure. 

Agreed by the TfN board members, they reinforce the importance of the region speaking with “one voice” on the need for better transport networks and will help to inform the statutory advice the Sub-national Transport Body (STB) provides to Government.

On rural mobility the policy position sets out how TfN’s work can help support its partners as they seek to address issues including the impact of the cost of public transport, car dependency, and limited service.

These issues are also highlighted in TfN’s soon-to-be-published research on transport-related social exclusion. 

The rural mobility document outlines four key roles for TfN:

  • Develop the rural evidence base and enhance TfN’s modelling capabilities to better reflect the rural need.
  • Assist partners to identify the most appropriate solutions by collating a library of case studies that can be used to support scheme development and innovative ideas.
  • Collaborate with other STBs to identify best practice and understand place-based solutions.
  • Utilise TfN’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to monitor improvements in pan-Northern rural mobility.

On spatial planning the policy positions highlight the importance of TfN working with its members and partners in a collaborative approach that shares insights and experiences and enables members to take a holistic view to planning for transport, housing, and commercial needs. 

Key roles for TfN include: 

  • Early engagement with partners developing spatial plans and working to support the identification of strategic infrastructure options.
  • Making TfN’s evidence base available to enable a consistent baseline and approach when analysing the likely relationship between proposed developments and TfN’s strategic transport vision for the North
  • Work collaboratively to support partners as they prepare effective policies and proposals that are sustainable, practical and well-designed.

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.”

Click here to find out more about the policy positions and Strategic Transport Plan.

If you would like to contact Karen McLauchlan about this, or any other story, please email