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 6. Delivering better city-to-city links


If we are successful then by 2040:

  • Greater Manchester will be better connected to other major towns and cities by fast, high-capacity, high-frequency public transport and integrated ticketing and payment systems.
  • Journey times on key road and rail corridors will be shorter and more reliable, with the majority of longer- distance road trips being made using low or zero-emission vehicles and more national and regional freight movements being made by rail and water.
  • Access to our major transport interchanges will be improved for all modes and these locations will become focal points for economic growth and new development.

In the next few years, Greater Manchester is set to benefit from a massive investment to improve its national and regional connections. The £600 million Northern Hub rail development and a £400 million electrification programme will improve links between the cities and towns of the North and stimulate £4.2 billion of economic benefits.

At the same time, Highways England (HE) is investing up to £250 million in a smart motorway scheme to improve reliability on the M60/M62 corridor. A planned new link road to M62 J19 will also help to relieve congestion. A new link road to ease congestion at the end of the M67 at m Moor is also in the design stage.

This is just the start, however, as the Government plans a £20 billion project to extend Britain’s new high speed rail network northwards from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. The High Speed 2 (HS2) link to Manchester should be complete by 2033, with stations at both Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport and opportunities to link to the West Coast Main Line in the Wigan area. By reducing travel time and increasing business productivity and connectivity, HS2 will make Greater Manchester a significantly more attractive business location, bringing up to 180,000 new jobs by 2040 and adding £1.3 billion to our GVA.

The new line will provide extra capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for rail travel, cutting the journey time from Manchester to London by an hour, to just 68 minutes. It will also provide more capacity for freight to be carried by rail, from key locations like Trafford Park and the future Port Salford.

We want to see some of these benefits delivered early, extending Phase 1 to Crewe by 2026 and bringing forward the development of Piccadilly Station to stimulate the regeneration of the surrounding area. However, to capitalise on the opportunity offered by HS2, links and capacity between the northern cities must also be transformed.

On the motorway network, more capacity is needed to serve the growing economy, particularly the M60/M62, M56/M60 and M6 corridors.

Transport for the North asks Government to support a £15–20 billion, 15-year investment plan for transport across the North.

The ‘Transport for the North’ proposals describe how the North, with Greater Manchester playing a leading role at its heart, needs a very high quality (fast and frequent) trans-northern rail network joining the centres of the city regions to enable it to become an “economic powerhouse”. This will require a new transPennine route, offering an alternative to the constrained highway routes, particularly to Sheffield. A faster route to Liverpool and direct, fast and frequent access to Manchester Airport for all the North’s city regions will help northern businesses access global markets. TransPennine road links and those to Liverpool will also need to be improved by releasing local bottlenecks.

At the same time, additional capacity is needed on the rail network within Greater Manchester to sustain growth and enable people to access job opportunities. The local network needs to be connected with HS2 services, new intercity and regional services, tram services and expanded park and ride facilities. This requires building on existing commitments to provide more electrification, new rolling stock as a matter of urgency, higher rail service frequencies, new services, gauge improvements and the removal of network pinch points, as well as integrated ticketing and seamless travel.

20 minutes off the train journey time between Manchester and Leeds would be worth £6.7 billion to the North of England economy.

We need to make the maximum use of the existing motorway network through extending ‘managed motorways’ schemes and addressing strategic gaps in the road network, particularly improving reliability and accesibility for freight and business. Good access is essential to allow the efficient and timely movement of large quantities of freight by rail, road and water covering not only ports, rail links and large distribution centres but also light commercial vehicles and the airport for premium logistics.

By 2040, we will see much greater use of autonomous systems on our regional and national road and rail network to deliver more capacity and a safer and more resilient transport system. This is likely to include technology that enables vehicles to operate safely more closely together; better in-vehicle communications to provide real-time information to drivers and passengers on incidents and network conditions; and autonomous safety functions that enable vehicles to identify and react quickly to potential safety risks and to reduce accidents on our transport network.

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