Transport schemes across England, designed to boost economic growth and reduce carbon emissions, were given the go ahead today thanks to £155 million of Government investment.
39 projects have won funding as part of the first allocation from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. They cover eight regions and a total of 37 local authorities, with many more as partners. All have been judged to be effective against the fund's two key objectives of creating growth and cutting carbon.
The successful schemes also include a variety of measures such as smart ticketing, the promotion of infrastructure for electric vehicles, bus and rail improvement measures, cycling and walking and are designed to link together to create a sustainable transport package that delivers economic growth.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "I am delighted to be able to fund these excellent projects.
"All the winning schemes have one thing in common - they will help build strong local economies while addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.
"We have empowered local authorities to create packages of sustainable initiatives that are tailored for their local areas, and this is only the beginning - even more funding will be announced next summer following a second round of bids."
Successful bids include:
- South Yorkshire, where there are plans to introduce a ‘wheels to work' scheme to help those in the most isolated areas get to work by bike, scooter or electric scooter, as well as new cycle infrastructure and a ‘Jobconnector' bus service to provide access to a new employment site.
- Oxford, where the council plans to support economic growth and development in the town centre by expanding the park and ride scheme, while introducing a single integrated smart card for car parking, buses and cycle hire.
- Lowestoft, where a new swing bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will enable residents and visitors to travel more easily within the town, targeting a congestion pinch point to bring additional footfall to local shops.
- Stratford upon Avon, where plans include a new rail station and supporting train services; park and ride bus service enhancement and a walking and cycling facility to link the station with key residential and employment areas.
- Hampshire, where there are plans for a package of measures including car sharing, electric vehicle charging posts and improvement to bus services, by providing better information and ticketing using a smart phone application.
- Plymouth, whose bid to introduce ITSO smart ticketing will support economic growth, reduce carbon and enhance social mobility throughout the South West of England.
An independent panel with expertise in delivering sustainable transport has been appointed to advise Ministers on the bids including representatives from the British Chamber of Commerce, the Campaign for Better Transport and the local authority body ADEPT.
The expert panel said: "We were delighted to see that many local authorities had submitted high quality bids which will deliver economic growth in a low carbon way. We welcome the Department's decision to involve people from outside Government, with a wide range of expertise, in the assessment of the bids. We look forward to seeing the words in the bids transformed into actions on the ground."
Richard Hebditch, campaigns director at Campaign for Better Transport, said: "We're really pleased that these areas will receive funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. We've long called for funding for these kinds of programmes, which we know from the pilot Sustainable Transport Towns can cut congestion and cut carbon. We're looking forward to seeing the practical results which I'm sure will make a big difference to these areas."
The benefits of the investment will also be felt on a national level. Apart from the obvious benefits of supporting economic growth, enabling and encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices will reduce traffic delays, which cost the economy around £11 billion a year in urban areas. Better and more sustainable public transport will help tackle problems such as air quality and noise, whilst improved cycling and walking infrastructure will help to combat the health problems associated with physical inactivity.