A bold and ambitious strategy aimed at securing a sustainable future for light rail in England, Scotland and Wales has been welcomed by government ministers.
Published this week by UKTram, following engagement with the Department for Transport, the landmark strategy document draws on expertise from across the sector to build a compelling case for tramways and similar transit systems, highlighting the benefits that existing networks already deliver.
Launched with support from Transport Ministers Grant Shapps and Baroness Vere, it also marks an important milestone for the sector’s representative organisation as it strives to forge a fresh approach to overcoming barriers to the expansion of the sector.
George Lowder, the Chairman of UKTram, explained: “The strategy document itself represents many months of work by professionals from across light rail and addresses the key challenges they face, including recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At the same time, it brings into focus the many benefits of putting tramways at the heart of future integrated urban transport networks – not least in terms of enhancing connectivity, driving inward investment, reducing congestion and improving air quality.”
In addition to providing a wealth of detail on the benefits that existing systems have brought to key cities where they already operate, the strategy calls for closer collaboration between sector stakeholders to drive innovation and best practice.
Its key principles have also helped to shape UKTram’s latest Business Plan, which sets out a clear programme of initiatives that will help to reduce the cost and complexity of future projects whilst driving cross-sector partnerships.
“As well as offering a definitive answer to the question, ‘Why light rail?’ the strategy document will act as a rallying call for the entire sector to unite behind a bold vision for the future, and we are delighted that it has been welcomed by senior government figures,” Mr Lowder added.
A Light Rail Strategy for the UK can be downloaded from the UKTram website here and the organisation’s latest business plan can be viewed here.