Plans for an autonomous metro system in the Cambridge and Peterborough area took a step forward after the combined authority board approved £1.7m to develop an outline business case.
Around £3m of funding is now in place to develop the transformational CAM metro scheme paying for a range of consultancy work including engineering and technology, transport planning and demand, environment, a detailed funding and finance strategy, legal, property and land referencing.
The Outline Business Case (OBC) will provide greater detail not just on engineering solutions, capital costs and running costs bu operational issues such as timetabling, routes and delivery timescales.
The OBC is due to be completed in 2020, paving the way for a full business case on the multi-billion project if it gets the green light to go ahead.
The combined authority has already set up a dedicated Partnership Board of private and public sector partners to support the further development of the scheme.
Mayor James Palmer said: 'The strategic outline business case told us the CAM has a fantastic cost-benefit ratio - every pound invested will be worth up to four to our region. We can’t relax the momentum in delivering the CAM.
'Joint working is essential - best practice across the UK shows that the biggest infrastructure projects are most successful when the public and commercial sectors work in partnership. The CAM is no different. It’s vital to engage the active involvement of key stakeholders, both public and private, across our region.
'We’ve set up the Partnership Board to manage development of the outline business case and map the path following delivery, freeing the Combined Authority to move our other transport priorities forward. The combined authority and Greater Cambridge Partnership still retain all decision-making powers and councils are closely involved in developing ideas.'
In March, the Combined Authority board unanimously approved the strategic outline business case for the Metro and began preparation work for the outline business case including developing a strategy for procurement, a technical study of vehicle technology, and enhanced transport modelling.