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Innovation, innovation, innovation for transport in the West Midlands


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A wide-ranging plan is being drawn up to guide and direct investment and development of the region’s transport network to meet the challenges of climate change, population growth and traffic congestion.

Emerging technology and innovation, such as new types of bus services and intelligent travel apps, are set to play a significant role in the way transport works for areas like the West Midlands.

Innovations, such as autonomous vehicles, the growing 5G network, better use of data, drone technology, e-bikes and e-scooters, are also likely to change the way people live, work and move around the region.

An example of this is the On-Demand Bus service currently being trialled on the streets of Coventry and the University of Warwick campus. The aim is to free the bus from set routes and timetables to offer greater flexibility and convenience to passengers while keeping fares low.

Passengers call the bus to a virtual bus stop using a smartphone app, and it works out the most efficient route to the destination, accounting for the needs of other passengers.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This new plan sets out how we’re going to do that, whilst also ensuring we make the most of new technologies and the phenomenal innovation that is happening right here in our region. From our 5G testbed to the Future Transport Zone, we can continue to invest billions of pounds in public transport and help tackle climate change and create jobs in the process.

“We know how critical strong transport links are, and at the heart of our plan is an ambition to continue to provide better connectivity to left-behind communities to help everyone have the same chances in life.”

The plan, which will be developed over the next year, will build on 2016’s Movement for Growth plan, which looked at how the region could make the most of opportunities presented by the development of HS2.

It sets out five motives for change; sustaining economic success, creating a fairer society, becoming more active, supporting local communities and places, and tackling climate emergencies.

Reimagining Transport in the West Midlands is available for download here, and the consultation runs until 27th August.

Responses will feed into the development of a draft plan to be issued early in 2022. The WMCA and its partners are required by law to draw up a Local Transport Plan. 

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, the cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, added: “With a location at the heart of the country it’s great that the city is playing such a key role in future transport planning – all intending to support the local economy, the wellbeing of the local community and connecting us effectively within the region and across the nation.”




Written by: David Watkins

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