Sheffield’s mass transit system will be improved and expanded ahead of the arrival of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail to the city, with a draft strategy suggesting a brand-new transport mode could be developed.
The new Sheffield City Region (SCR) Draft Transport Strategy outlines proposals to expand and better integrate public transport in the area, including the Supertram light rail system and the bus network, by 2040. The report said a “brand-new mode altogether” could be introduced to the area to unlock economic potential.
A two-year tram-train scheme between Sheffield and Rotherham was piloted in September, running vehicles on tram and Network Rail lines, however the project cost 400% more than initially estimated and opened two and a half years behind schedule.
It said: “More investment is needed to develop a 21st century mass transit system that maximises our potential and does our City Region justice. We will enhance our multi-modal transport system by investing in mass transit improvements, whether it’s tram, train, tram-train, bus rapid transit, or a brand-new mode altogether.”
It was announced in July last year that HS2 will run to Sheffield city centre instead of Meadowhall Shopping Centre. SCR Combined Authority plan to produce a HS2 Growth Strategy to ensure that “essential connections” to key areas are in place.
SCR will develop a business case to secure funding for the renewal of the Supertram network from the Department for Transport’s Large Local Major Schemes fund. It also plans to improve connectivity and reliability through the M1 Junction Innovation Corridor scheme and increase transport-focused research and development by £330M, the strategy said.
The overall aim of the strategy is to grow the economy by £500M by increasing the number of people able to get to work and education using public transport within 30 minutes, to improve air quality and to incorporate technology.
SCR Local Enterprise Partnership member Martin McKervey said: “Our vision is to continue to be a forward-looking city region, with integrated transport connections that support economic growth and improve quality of life for all.”
The public consultation will open on Monday, 8 January and will run for 12 weeks.