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West Midlands Levelling Up Growth Prospectus


The Challenge

Across the ten combined authority areas, the WMCA had the second highest rates for car or motorbike use, as well as the second lowest public transport use and active travel. Similarly, the percentage of the West Midlands population able to access three strategic centres in 45 minutes, by public transport, during morning peak times, continues to fall. 

The West Midlands needs to reverse these trends and create a sustainable urban transport system for the future, with a high quality integrated public transport network and attractive conditions for walking and cycling. Such a system will tackle the challenges of today – including economic growth, public health issues, and climate change.

The Prize

The Levelling Up White Paper pledges to deliver London-style transport across the UK. West Midlands transport links will be “significantly closer to the standards of London”, with improved services, simpler fares, and integrated ticketing by 2030. Other transport measures will also support our wider LTP5 sustainable transport strategy.

Our proposals will ensure the region is better connected in a sustainable, safe, and inclusive way that delivers value for money for the taxpayer – whilst also tackling the climate emergency.

Progress So Far…

The devolution process has improved collaboration over planning and operating an integrated transport system, including the statutory duty to adopt the Local Transport Plan. Achievements to date include delivery of the West Midlands Cycle Hire Scheme, upgraded railways stations, the delivery of the expansion of the West Midlands Metro light rail system and a new cross city Sprint Bus Rapid Transit routes.

The WMCA also secured £1.05 billion in funding as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) programme in 2022. This will build on WMCA’s long track record of partnership working, successful delivery, and innovative solutions for transport investments. There has also been positive progress for active travel with new, high quality segregated cycle routes and delivery of the West Midlands Cycle Hire Scheme.

*Overall programme size is £1.3bn which includes potential (but not guaranteed) private sector match funding.

By 2030, local public transport connectivity across the country will be significantly closer to the standards of London, with improved services, simpler fares and integrated ticketing.


Our Proposal

  • We want to accelerate the delivery oftransport services and infrastructure toimprove accessibility and affordability – wecan achieve this by designating the WMCAas the UK’s first Trailblazer TransportRegulatory Sandbox area.
  • Working in partnership with governmentand our local authorities, we would seek toimprove traffic flows and access throughtraffic officers, build on micro-mobilitysolutions, and establish a bus operatingcompany to reduce costs. This will build onWMCA’s long track record of partnershipworking, successful delivery, and innovativesolutions for transport investments such asVery Light Rail (VLR).
  • We’ll decarbonise and electrify ourtransport infrastructure – this could besupported by devolving the commercial BusServices Operator Grant (BSOG) fundingdirectly to WMCA and reducing freightvehicle emissions.
  • A programme to change behaviours toreduce traffic and create safer streets towalk and wheel – we propose creatingmobility credits to incentivise publictransport use, sharing revenue of speedcamera fines (DD) and powers overpavement parking enforcement (DD).

What We Hope to Achieve

We have the chance to improve both affordability and accessibility of the public transport network for all West Midlands residents, particularly helping those who are struggling with travel costs to access work opportunities. Travel behaviour changes will also support our sustainable development aims.

By decarbonising and electrifying our transport infrastructure, we can deliver a green revolution which helps to tackle the climate emergency and improve air quality.

These outcomes will be measured against the below WM Outcomes Framework indicators:

  • Proportion of WM population within 15minutes of key services/amenities centresaccessible without a car;
  • Percentage of WM population able toaccess 3 strategic centres in 45 minutes bypublic transport in the AM peak;
  • Reduction in carbon dioxide emissions(tCO2e);
  • Reduction in overall vehicle km travelled;
  • Increase in non-car mode share by kmtravelled and by trips.