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Your city centre is changing…

A conversation to help shape the future of city centre transport

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Please note that the ‘Your city centre is changing’ conversation closed on 17 October.

We are currently working through all the responses we received and intend to provide an update on the results in the coming weeks so please check back soon for further details.

Thanks to everyone that took part – your input will help to shape the future of your city centre.

We’re working with Manchester City Council and Salford City Council to come up with ways that we can improve city centre transport for the future.

Between 8 August and 17 October, we want those who know the city centre best to share their views on how they get into and around it, what works and what could be improved.

Your views will help shape the future and support us to develop the next City Centre Transport Strategy.

Sharing your views couldn’t be easier. We’ve developed a questionnaire which you can access by clicking the ‘Tell us what you think’ tab at the bottom of this page. This is your chance to have your say on city centre transport so why not spare a few minutes and get involved in the conversation today.

Before you start to share your views, here’s some background to explain why we need to plan for an ever-growing city centre.

The vision for the city centre

Today’s city centre is one of Europe’s most vibrant urban centres. It’s a place in which to live, work and play. It’s a place for people.

In the last two decades the city centre has grown and expanded beyond recognition with more places to live, many more jobs, a world class cultural offering, internationally renowned universities and excellent retail and leisure amenities.

Our vision is for a well-connected, sustainable and inclusive city centre at the heart of the North, offering our residents, employees and visitors a great place to work, live in and visit.

This presents us with a challenge. We want the city centre to continue to grow, providing more jobs and homes and more journeys, so we must decide how to improve our transport system. We need to consider how people can continue to access the city centre while at the same time ensuring that the city centre is an attractive and healthy place to live and visit. We also want to ensure that roads or areas surrounding the centre are well managed.

Your city centre is growing

As highlighted in this downloadable map, the city centre is growing. Its footprint now extends out into parts of Salford, so much so that Chapel Street, along Salford Crescent and out towards the University of Salford can easily be considered as part of the city centre. On the other side, the centre now includes parts of Ancoats and New Islington.

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With more business and residential developments on the horizon we will continue to see sites on the edge of the city centre transform into high quality places to live, work and visit. The city centre also has an impact on the areas surrounding it such as Hulme, Moss Side, Fallowfield and Cheetham Hill.

This growth means that we also need to ensure that city centre streets and the transport network are able to support the city centre in the years to come.

Challenges and opportunities

Over the next 20 years, there will be more jobs, more people living within the city centre and more investment. The city centre is home to some of the North’s best and most popular cultural and entertainment attractions and has many different neighbourhoods with distinct characters and purpose.

Having the right infrastructure and transport services will play an important part in supporting the city centre’s success.

There are a number of challenges in delivering the next wave of transport measures, such as:

  • Ensuring the city centre’s transport network is fit for the future: we need to make travel into and across the city centre as easy as possible by delivering a truly integrated transport network that accommodates growth without increasing traffic.
  • Improving air quality across the city region: we need to ensure that air quality improvements across Greater Manchester will not only improve people’s health but will also help to make the city region a more attractive place in which to live, visit and invest.
  • Addressing the impacts on neighbouring areas: we must ensure that communities that are situated close to the city centre are not negatively impacted by larger numbers of people commuting into it. For example, people parking in residential areas on the edge of the city centre and then travelling into the city centre.
  • Reducing congestion in, and around, the city centre: we need to explore ways to reduce high levels of traffic in and around the city centre to improve journeys. Congestion has a range of negative impacts – from wasting time and causing stress, to creating an unpleasant environment for those working, living and visiting the city centre.
  • Making the city centre a more attractive place: we must continue to improve the city centre’s public spaces, making it an even more attractive, welcoming, safe and secure place.

What we’ve already done

The last City Centre Transport Strategy, which was published in 2010, looked to the year 2020 and has guided investments that have improved the journeys for people who live, work and visit the city centre each year.

Metrolink’s recent expansion, including the Second City Crossing, now provides greater resilience to a network that now sees more than 41 million passenger journeys each year. With more trams on the way and a new line out to the Trafford Centre, Metrolink’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down.

Similarly, changes made to the A580 East Lancs Road bus route that uses the city centre and Oxford Road – one of Europe’s busiest bus corridors – are now enabling vastly improved bus journey times and reliability.

Turning to cycling and new and improved infrastructure is providing thousands of cyclists with safer and more direct routes across the city and beyond, with more than 4,000 bike trips on Oxford Road each day alone.

Improving public spaces is key to delivering a healthier city centre and both Manchester City Council and Salford City Council have improved some key public spaces by creating better walking environments, such as St Peter’s Square and the A6 Chapel Street, and we have seen far more people walking to access city centre work and leisure opportunities.

What we could do in the future

As the city centre grows so does the need to improve transport connections to make sure that the centre is still easy to get to and move around, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and by those who use public transport.

In the future, getting more people around the city centre by rail and Metrolink lines will be challenging, so we may need to consider major new cross-city infrastructure, such as a new tunnel under the city and additional bus priority measures.

New technology can also help us sustainably incorporate cars into this mix by supporting the growth of electric vehicles and car sharing.

We want to continue to reduce the amount of traffic in the heart of the city centre. This could include looking at how deliveries into the city centre can be made more smartly. Those vehicles which continue to enter the city centre could find their destination and car parking more easily by means of enhanced signage and better off-street parking provision.

With the arrival of high quality, high speed rail connections following the completion of Northern Hub, the electrification programme, HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail project, the city centre will welcome even more people into our city.

We want to create ‘streets for all’ and we believe that they should cater for people from all walks of life, including young and old people and those with additional mobility needs.

The bigger picture

In 2017, we published the 2040 Transport Strategy which set out our ambitions for a radical new approach to planning our future transport system to support the long-term needs and aspirations of a growing city region. This conversation, and the subsequent development of the next City Centre Transport Strategy, is the next step in determining the future of city centre transport.

In addition, following a recent conversation with city centre residents, Manchester City Council published its long-term vision for the future, Our Manchester. At the core of this is an ambition to deliver improvements that ensure that the city is clean, safe and attractive for generations to come.

This year, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, published the Greater Manchester’s Congestion Deal following a consultation that gained over 7,000 responses. The deal is for transport bodies, local authorities, businesses and individuals to work together to tackle congestion across Greater Manchester.

In July 2017 the Government published its UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. We are working on a plan that will identify a range of measures that could help Greater Manchester tackle instances of air pollution breaching legal limits in the shortest possible time. This will include measures for the city centre. The plan will be presented to Government by the end of 2018, building on the Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy, Air Quality Action Plan and the Greater Manchester climate change implementation plan.

Last year, Andy Burnham appointed Chris Boardman as the region’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner. Following this the Made to Move report was published which outlines an ambitious vision to invest in Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking. This has now been followed by the more detailed plans of the Greater Manchester cycling and walking network, which outlines a vision to create a city-region-wide cycling and walking network made up of more than 1,000 miles of routes.

While much has already been done to improve transport within the city centre we know there’s still much more to do and we want to integrate our plans for the city centre.

Tell us what you think

Complete the survey on the button below.

Alternatively, you can visit the open data Mapping GM website and provide your views on specific locations. You can also download and complete a Word version of the survey or simply email your comments to

What do other people think?

We asked some people in the city centre about their journeys, here’s what they said: