Following funding from the ‘Transforming Cities Fund’, Transport for Greater Manchester are looking at ways to boost active travel and invest in sustainable transport, Quadrant Transport sits down with Nicola Kane to learn more.
With funding from the ‘Transforming Cities Fund’, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is focusing on projects to boost active and sustainable travel in the area. With £243m of funding continuing to boost transport in the region, it also looks to improve walking and cycling options and the most recent tranche will support the ‘Quality Bus Transit Scheme’.
Quadrant Transport spoke to Nicola Kane, Head of Strategic Planning, Insight and Innovation about transport initiatives in Greater Manchester, their 2040 Strategy as well as their 5-year Delivery Plan.
This latest instalment of funding from the ‘Transforming Cities Fund’ will support the projects included in these initiatives.
Recently refreshed, Greater Manchester’s 2040 strategy sets out the areas long-term policies. This strategy “goes right from what local neighbourhoods need from local transport” all the way to advancements in the regional centre, explained Nicola.
The 5-Year Delivery Plan is split into three maps. These maps look at projects that are funded, projects which are early priorities once the funding is there and projects that will be delivered in the longer term.
Active travel for Greater Manchester
In order to understand how people travel in the area, TfGM has analysed trip patterns and found people usually choose to take a car, even for short trips.
As they are keen to boost walking and cycling options in TfGM, Nicola said TfGM see that as an “opportunity to help people make those trips on foot or by bike and leave their car at home.”
“We are investing money in improving those walking and cycling networks across the whole of Greater Manchester,” Nicola continued.
We are investing money in improving those walking and cycling networks across the whole of Greater Manchester
To encourage people to take more active options, TfGM wants to “put in better pedestrian crossings and provide properly segregated cycle routes in local areas,” Nicola told Quadrant Transport.
Walking and cycling, Nicola explained, “ticks a whole range of boxes around health, inclusion and regeneration.” This is because of the extensive range of benefits it can offer such as “health benefits, cleaner air and a reduction in carbon emissions,” she added.
By boosting active travel, the project supports Greater Manchester’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038. Reducing carbon emissions in this industry is a challenge Nicola said, “as a third of carbon emissions come from transport.”
It is “really important that we continue to improve alternatives to the car, so we don’t see congestion coming back as we emerge out of the pandemic,” Nicola explained.
Rebuilding confidence in public transport
By giving people “a real choice about how they travel” through improved active travel networks and sustainable public transport option, TfGM wants to encourage people to take alternatives to cars, Nicola told Quadrant Transport.
Along with improvements to walking and cycling routes, TfGM is focusing on the quality and reliability of buses, particularly for orbital connections. This boost to buses “will be an important part in regenerating the area and improving public transport options for people,” Nicola said.
“We are hoping that there will be strong support for improving bus services,” she continued but does acknowledge the challenges surrounding public transport following the pandemic.
We are hoping that there will be strong support for improving bus services
TfGM “want people to feel safe and secure whilst using public transport,” Nicola explained. to ensure people feel as safe as possible, they will “continue to work closely with local communities as we develop those proposals,” she added.
Ultimately, Nicola said TfGM are determined to “keep working towards our clean air targets, our carbon targets, [as] that will actually stand us in really good stead to rebuild following the pandemic.”