North East Transport Futures

North East Transport Futures

The North East region needs to make better use of its existing transport infrastructure if it is to support the growth of the economy. It also needs to consider areas for future investment in order to meet the long term economic and social aspirations for the region. We must ensure that transport investment is designed to support increased economic activity, business competitiveness and sustainable communities.

Connectivity is not just a transportation issue; it also concerns connection via Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), and the attitudes of individuals and businesses towards intra regional and inter regional exchanges. Use of this technology requires ICT infrastructure, such as the next generation of broadband coverage, to be in place at an affordable price.

Key challenges specifically in relation to transport connectivity include:

● Developing strong internal connectivity between urban cores and surrounding labour markets and market towns

● Increasing levels of economic participation through linking up areas of worklessness and deprivation with areas of opportunity

● Enabling effective transport connections between the Tyne and Wear and Tees Valley city regions to enable them to function as a single economy

● Improving connectivity between our urban cores and international and national destinations to ensure North East England attracts and retains businesses through ease of access to markets

● Establishing improved links to European and global economic centres, primarily through air services

● Adapting to the possible changes in transport mode resulting from higher oil prices and the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change where possible

● Improving our links with the rest of the North and wider UK through, for example, making best use of our rail and road connections

● Increasing trade levels through maximising the potential of our ports and associated freight networks, and ensuring this is linked to the urban cores.

Such challenges help us to understand the types of transport connectivity required to increase levels of productivity and participation.

However, not every aspect of service provision and investment decisions are within the region’s control, and resources are limited.

The new Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) will provide the platform for strong leadership and the joining up of transport strategy with other regional priorities.

It is anticipated that the ITAs will have the opportunity to shape long term regional budgets through Regional Funding Allocations. Better regional decision making means that our priorities for investment will require a strong evidence base and sound appraisal methodology to ensure that decisions on transport investment are more effectively aligned with our economic development objectives.

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