Birmingham City Council has unveiled a white paper outlining its plans to purchase a fleet of new buses to run on nine new high-speed bus routes. The £4 billion transport project will also see the creation of an ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) throughout the city.
The 20-year Birmingham Connected scheme has outlined a number of transport projects that the city council intends to implement which will include incentives to encourage taxi operators to switch to electric vehicles.
It also outlines nine rapid transit bus routes to be built, which will run every 10 minutes on dedicated lanes. A proposal is to purchase so-called ‘Sprint’ buses –vehicles that run on electricity through a pick-up, similar to the trolleybuses used in British cities until the 1960s.
Council Leader Sir Albert Bore said, “Birmingham Connected sets a new direction for transport, not just for tomorrow but for the next 20 years. It ushers in a new era in the way we think about moving people and goods from, into, around and through the city and region, delivering projects and infrastructure, and the ways in which we fund them.”
Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Transport and the Economy, added that the vision is to create a transport system, which ‘delivers the connectivity that local people and businesses require by putting the user first’.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said, “The government has put transport at the heart of its long term economic plan, because the future of successful cities depends on efficient transport that can connect people with jobs, link communities with services and attract new investment.”
However, Birmingham City Council said it doesn’t currently have all the funding in place, but it will be bidding for government and European funding to make up the shortfall, and persuading local businesses to contribute.
Other projects planned for Birmingham Connected include the redevelopment of the A38 ring road. The plan is to also to develop three tramlines and upgrade local rail links.