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Coachways vision policy context in Yorkshire and Humberside

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The present Regional Transport Strategy for Yorkshire and Humberside (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008) contains no specific policies on a future role for express coach services in the region. It does however, offer an assessment of the strategic bus network, noting that this "is widely dispersed with few routes or services that are truly regional or sub regional in nature" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008, p.184). It further suggests that "regional and national coach services cater predominantly for the leisure market" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008, p.184).

The policy also recognises a need for demand management measures on strategic routes, noting that without "appropriate policy interventions, almost all of the junctions and a number of the network links on the strategic road network in and around the West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire conurbations will be at or over capapacity conditions by 2021 (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008, p.179). Indeed, the M62 and M606 High Occupancy Vehicle Lane, which was established in 2008, offers an example of one such recent demand management measure. Of relevance to the Coachways vision, this lane provides priority for buses, coaches and cars carrying more than one person on the M606 southbound approach to the M62 upon leaving Bradford (Highways Agency 2008).

With this in mind, the following policy extracts indicate potential for similar demand management measures to be introduced in the region, which might include (as yet unspecified) enhancements to inter-urban public transport services:

  • "Transport authorities should make best use of the existing highway network to address congestion and encourage modal shift, with road space being actively managed to support movement by modes other than the private car" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 177).
  • "The function of the Strategic Road Network to provide efficient and convenient long distance travel should be protected, through the appropriate location of development, integrated demand management and influencing travel behaviour" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 177).
  • "Congestion should be addressed especially...on the strategic road network through positive measures including: ...encouraging a shift from car-based to public transport based commuting" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 177).
  • Tourist destinations should be encouraged "to provide incentives for visitors to arrive by modes other than the private car and to reduce seasonality to relieve stress on transport infrastructure, particularly on the strategic networks" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 192).
  • There is also an aspiration to improvie surface access to the airports (Leeds Bradford International and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield), "particularly by public transport" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 195).

The transport strategy concludes by setting out a range of transport management and investment priorities, through which regional transport policies should be delivered. The following priorities in particular indicate potential for express bus and coach services to play a role:

  • "Improving capacity and quality of public transport links within and between the Regional and Sub Regional Cities and Towns in the Leeds city region, in particular to Leeds city centre" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 208).
  • Developing "public transport links within and between the Regional and Sub Regional Cities and Towns in South Yorkshire and from them to the East Midlands and Manchester. With a potential outcome of "improved inter-urban public transport connections in South Yorkshire" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 208).
  • Improving "public transport links between Leeds and Sheffield". It is noted that the "local rail service offer is currently poor in terms of quality of offer and journey time. The motorway link is often congested, which impedes road based public transport options" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 209).
  • Improving "connectivity to and between Scunthorpe, Immingham, Grimsby and Cleethorpes, particularly by public transport" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 211). And
  • Delivering "strategic public transport improvements to improve links between Regional and Sub Regional towns and cities...For example Sheffield to Nottingham and Hull to York...Subject to further study". This "could include rail and bus solutions" (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 211).


Contents

History

The current regional transport strategy has been informed by several studies that have been completed over the last ten years (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008 page 204) (see Regional Transport Policy Timeline below). One such early, but important project was the South and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study (MVA 2002). This set out to understand how best to "reduce congestion on the motorways and A1 in South and West Yorkshire" (MVA 2002, page 1). Countering the coachways vision, the report recommended that even substantial investment in public transport would not significantly improve conditions on the roads given the finding that:

  • traffic using the motorway "has widley dispersed destinations as well as origins";
  • "the public transport network (especially rail) concentrates movements between urban centres; and
  • "there is very little spare capacity on existing rail services for extra commuting trips in the peaks" (MVA 2002, page 19).

Instead, the report recommended the implementation of an area-wide road charging scheme along side a significant programme of road widening. However, of potential significance to the Coachways Vision was recognition that "it may also be appropriate to provide segregated lanes on the main carriageways for buses and coaches and high occupancy cars, although further work is required on this form of Integral Demand Management to understand more fully the costs and benefits" (MVA 2002, page 22).

The concept of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes was developed further in the Highways Agency M1 and M62 South Yorkshire Making Best Use Study (Highways Agency 2005). Indeed this arguably laid the foundations for the delivery of the M606-M62 High Occupancy Vehicle lane which came into operation in 2008 (Highways Agency 2008).

While there are no further specific plans to use motorway lanes for high occupancy vehicles such as coaches, the region's strategic public transport framework (Arup 2006 page 73), advocated further studies to "investigate scope for bus priority on HOV lanes on the strategic road network".

Regional transport policy timeline

Date Development
Oct 2001 Regional Planning Guidance 12 for Yorkshire and the Humber to 2016 is published (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2001). The guidance note contains a Regional Transport Strategy.
Sept 2002 The South and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study is published (MVA 2002)
July 2002 The Hull East West Multi Modal Study is published (FaberMaunsell 2002)
June 2003 The Yorkshire and Humber Assembly publish a report entitled "Identification of Regional Transport Priorities" (Arup 2003)
March 2005 The Highways Agency carry out the M1 and M62 South Yorkshire Making Better Use Study (Highways Agency 2005)
December 2005 A draft Regional Spatial Strategy is submitted to central government for consideration (Yorkshire and Humber Regional Assembly 2005)
January 2006 The Strategic Public Transport Framework for the Yorkshire and Humber Region is published (Arup 2006)
March 2006 The Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber publish an updated report to identify regional transport priorities (JMP 2006)
May 2008 The Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 is approved and published (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber 2008). The document contains an updated Regional Transport Strategy.

Recently completed coach schemes

The M62 and M606 High Occupancy Vehicle Lane: Established in 2008, this lane provides priority for buses, coaches and cars carrying more than one person on the M606 southbound approach to the M62 upon leaving Bradford (Highways Agency 2008).

Coach schemes currently in progress

There are no coach network related schemes currently in progress.

Coach scheme proposals

There are no known coach scheme proposals in the region.

Coach scheme aspirations

Regional Express Strategic Public Transport Improvements: Identified as a second tier priority in the 2002 Regional Spatial Strategy. This (non-specified) package of measures would aim to deliver "region wide express rail / bus services, providing frequent high quality and fast links between regional centres" (Arup 2006).

Transport geography

The Yorkshire and Humberside Region contains the major cities of Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, York and Hull. Recognising the substantial size of the connurbations in South and West Yorkshire, two Passenger Transport Executives have been established to oversee the effective planning of public transport in the area (South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and West Yorkshire Metro).

In terms of significant transport infrastructure, the region is home to three airports: Leeds Bradford International Airport, Humberside International Airport, and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield; there are four significant passenger and freight ports situated along the Humber at Immingham, Grimsby, Hull and Goole. With respect to the strategic road network, the M1-A1(M) motorway connects the south of England to Sheffield and Leeds and onwards to the North; the M62 motorway runs from East to West through the Region, connecting Hull to Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. The region is also well served by rail, with the east-west transPennine service providing links to the East and West Coast Mainlines.

See also

References

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