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 7. Getting into and around the regional centre


If we are successful then by 2040:

  • Increased high-capacity, high-quality public transport and cycling provision on more radial routes into the centre will give more people access to jobs and reduce congestion on our road network to make journey times quicker and more reliable for commuters and businesses opera​tors.
  • A larger and more densely developed city centre will be attractive and easy to walk and cycle around, with limited car use in the central area and all vehicles entering it being low or zero-emission. Poor air quality from traffic pollution will be a thing of the past.
  • One integrated public transport system that allows customers to change seamlessly between trams, trains and buses, using one travel ticket that can also be used for car and cycle parking and hire. This will transform the experience for visitors, bringing the ‘human scale’ to an enlarged city.

The regional centre (Manchester city centre and adjacent parts of Salford and Trafford) is the economic engine of the city-region, employing around 160,000 people. A nationally significant centre for financial and professional services, knowledge-based creative and new media industries, cultural events, conferencing and retail, it has the connections and infrastructure to attract the skilled labour needed by key sectors from across the conurbation and beyond. Its role as the key hub for the Greater Manchester public transport network and the rail network for the north of England will be greatly strengthened by the arrival of HS2, with a new high quality station at Piccadilly.

The regional centre will continue to be the focus for economic growth in Greater Manchester, with major development in ‘The Corridor’ along Oxford Road, around Piccadilly Station, at the Etihad Campus and the Ancoats area, at Spinningfields/Central Salford, at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays and Trafford Wharfside. To prevent congestion from undermining this growth, there will need to be a major shift from car use to public transport, cycling and walking. Connections across the centre for pedestrians and cyclists must be easy to use, safe and well-signed.

70% of am peak trips into the centre are by public transport, cycling or walking.

Capacity on public transport to and within the centre will be significantly increased. Some of this is already being delivered on rail, Metrolink and cross-city bus services, but further growth may require more radical solutions, such as tunneling under the city centre. We also need to continue to develop the role of coach travel and taxis in supporting the visitor economy. Buses will also need to rise to the challenge of attracting more people out of their cars. Recent years have seen significant increases in rail and Metrolink journeys, but bus travel has remained static, despite investment in infrastructure. Buses must become a more popular mode of choice for commuting as in London, as a critical component of a seamless and sustainable transport network.

We will need to provide fast, high capacity, reliable, resilient, integrated public transport on key corridors, with integrated ticketing, real time information and affordable fares. This will require some road capacity to be reallocated to provide better infrastructure and priority for mass transit public transport and for cycling, both of which can move significantly greater volumes of people into and out of the regional centre, making better use of existing roads.

Growth in jobs means at least 30,000 more trips into the centre in the peak.

Road traffic on key routes into and around the centre will need to be managed to make the best use of available capacity and to direct it to the most appropriate route using real-time, in-vehicle communications. Managing the supply and cost of parking in and around the city centre will be critical, as will maintaining appropriate access for deliveries.

Improved broadband coverage and speed are allowing more business to be conducted digitally, reducing the need to travel, but the centre will continue to attract large volumes of trips.

An increasing number of people are choosing to live in the regional centre, rising from 7,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2016. This trend is set to continue, with around 50,000 new homes needed by 2040. The centre therefore needs to be a pleasant place to live: easy and safe to walk and cycle around, with high quality streets and public spaces. Improved streets and public spaces will help people to create a ‘mental map’ of the centre, establishing walking as the main way of getting around.

The concentration of activity in the city centre and its role as a transport hub, means that air quality is a problem. We will tackle this through greatly increased use of low and zero emission vehicles, to improve people’s health and to bring emissions in line with EU limits.

Commuting flows in Greater Manchester and Beyond