Research Innovation Fund providing valuable insight for Leeds City Region transport investment programme

Research Innovation Fund providing valuable insight for Leeds City Region transport investment programme

On Friday, (16 March) West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee gave its backing to�joint research into transport�s impact on land values, on young people�s mobility and their access to opportunities and on people�s wellbeing.

In line with its ambition for everyone in the region to benefit from a strong, successful economy and a modern, accessible transport system, in 2016 the Combined Authority jointly with the University of Leeds Institute of Transport Studies (ITS), established an initial, three-year �200,000 Transport Research Innovation Fund. The aims of the Fund include developing improved evidence and evaluation to strengthen the case for future transport priorities and investment; to better understand the behavioural factors that can effect decision making; improve the design, development and delivery of transport investments and to ensure that the region is at the forefront of innovative transport.

Key themes

Some key themes that emerged from the work looking into how transport interventions and changes can affect people�s wellbeing were:

  • the potential to improve people�s physical and mental health through activities such as walking and cycling and people�s safety while doing so;
  • the need to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution and the requirement to create more greenspace, which helps reduce rates of anxiety and depression;
  • enabling people to take part in community activity, reducing commuting times and reducing risks of social exclusion.

These findings have already been fed into the development of the West Yorkshire Transport Strategy 2040 and will be taken into account during the delivery of projects aimed at delivering inclusive growth.

Economic benefits

A separate Transport Research Innovation Fund�project researching the impact of transport on land values has initially shown that it is now possible to model accurately, the property market benefits resulting from transport infrastructure investment. Through the project we are hoping to work with key partners such as Transport for the North and government show how this approach could be used in the development of transport business cases and to shape government thinking in the appraisal of transport schemes to consider a wider range of economic benefits.

A further study comparing West Yorkshire and the Netherlands� Rotterdam-Randstad region is underway as part of the Transport Research Innovation Fund�, to understand young people�s mobility and their access to opportunities. The outcomes are expected to influence the future development of bus services in West Yorkshire by the Combined Authority and its partners. They will also inform the development of Mobility as a Service - a concept that seeks to connect all transport modes to provide potentially revolutionary integrated travel options that are an easy alternative to the private car.

Insight

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said:��We are using the �1bn West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to invest in transport schemes that help achieve the Combined Authority�s aim of generating inclusive growth across the City Region.

�This work being carried out through the Transport Research Innovation Fund is providing us with valuable insight into the planning of those schemes to achieve the greatest impacts and I look forward to seeing further results as they emerge.�

Richard Batley, Director of the Institute for Transport Studies said:��ITS is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence and is the largest transport research centre in UK (comprising 70 academic staff; 500 students taking undergraduate modules, 100 students on Masters programmes and over 60 PhD students). Since its inception, the Transport Research Innovation Fund�has proved to be a valuable seed-corn fund that has facilitated a scaling-up of our engagement with WYCA and its partners, on a number of innovative projects which align with their priority research questions. In so doing, this is also proving to be an excellent mechanism for applying academic research and maximising its economic and social impact�.

Generated interest

Outcomes from the research have already have generated interest from Transport for the North, the Department for Transport, the National Infrastructure Commission and other Combined Authorities and property companies. A review of the Transport Research Innovation Fund in November indicated that future research should look into current national economic priorities such as productivity.

Other topics now being considered are Mobility as a Service, and transport emissions and health outcomes.

The Transport Committee meeting also approved further funding up to �50,000 for Phase 2 of the Transport and Land Value Uplift research.

Link to the Transport Committee meeting agenda (opens in new tab)