Transport for the North unveils £70bn vision


Transport for the North (TfN) has unveiled a 30-year transport strategy for the region, which aims to deliver a £100bn economic boost and 850,000 additional jobs by 2050.

The plan is estimated to cost around £70bn over the 30 years or around £2-2.3bn per year. However this also includes current spending through ongoing strategic transport investment.

TfN estimates the plan could be delivered with additional spending of £700-£900m a year. 

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is an important step in the North speaking with one voice to set out its vision for transport in the region over the next 30 years.'

As well as outlining plans for the short, medium and long-term, the strategy looks ahead into areas of disruptive technology such as driverless cars.

TfN aims to 'enable assessment of innovative future developments that take into account technology take-up, such as autonomous vehicles, policy changes, and collaboration, such as Mobility as a Service'.

On driverless cars it states:'There is a balance to be struck as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles could also bring drawbacks to the North’s future transport system by, for example, undermining public transport, as people could use these vehicle services instead of public transport. Understanding the changes in technology will also be crucial when addressing interventions to support TfN’s road based travel projections and the efficiency and resilience of the Major Road Network for the North.'

Corridors of opportunity

The draft plan, which is under a 13-week consultation, has identified seven ‘corridors’ of opportunity.

These are:

  • Multi-modal: Connecting the energy coasts, Central Pennines, Southern Pennines, West and Wales
  • Rail: East Coast to Scotland, North West to Sheffield City Region
  • Road: Yorkshire to Scotland

Connecting the Energy Coasts - Looks at ways to improve travel between vital non-carbon energy and research assets in Cumbria, North Lancashire, North Yorkshire, the North East and Tees Valley. 

Central Pennines - Improving strategic east-west connectivity in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding and Hull and Humber through to Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region.

The Southern Pennines corridor - Identifies proposed road and rail improvements from the Port of Liverpool to the Humber Ports, via Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region, as well as strengthening cross-border movements into the East Midlands.

West and Wales - Improving connectivity around Cheshire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, with strategic connectivity in to North Wales and the Midlands.

East Coast to Scotland - Strengthening rail connectivity and capacity along the East Coast Main Line and other key parallel rail lines, such as the Durham Coast Line, to provide enhanced strategic and local connectivity in the North East, Tees Valley, East Riding and North Yorkshire. 

North West to Sheffield City Region - Strengthening rail connectivity between the advanced manufacturing clusters and assets in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region, with improved connectivity from the North in to Scotland.

Yorkshire to Scotland - Strengthening road connectivity between the Midlands, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, East Riding, Tees Valley, the North East, and Scotland, building on the existing road investment commitments.

The document states: 'These seven corridors represent an economic area where the evidence to date suggests most progress towards the transformational growth scenario would be made by bringing forward major, strategic rail and road investment over the lifetime of the Strategic Transport Plan especially on some of the crucial east-west corridors.

'They are by no means where all future investment should be concentrated, but represent where the largest gaps between demand and performance currently exist, and also where there is likely to be the greatest economic potential for agglomeration between the prime and enabling capabilities and the North’s important economic centres.'

John Cridland, Transport for the North Chairman, said: 'Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high quality jobs. This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment.'


TfN has outlined its own Major road Network for the north - as part of wider Government plans to establish a network of strategic local roads funded by ringfenced VED - which covers 5,454 km, excluding the strategic road network in the region, and represents 7% of the North’s roads.  

The principles behind the development of a MRN for the North are to link:

Current economic centres - generally have a population of more than 50,000 people (or perform a strong sub-regional function), represent a regionally important international gateway for people or goods, or employment cluster, or university located external to a major settlement

Future economic growth locations - key growth centres that are set to deliver a sufficient number of jobs/dwellings to have a significant impact on the economy when considered at the level of the North.


Transport for the North has also outlined its emerging vision for Northern Powerhouse Rail, accompanied by an updated Rail Strategy for investment in the North’s existing lines, stations, services and franchise operations.

The document states: 'Analysis shows that Northern Powerhouse Rail could increase the population within one hour of four of the largest cities from less than 10,000 today to 1.3 million helping support a modal shift from road to rail.'

The emerging vision for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network includes:

  • A new line between Liverpool and the HS2 Manchester Spur via Warrington
  • Capacity at Piccadilly for around eight through services per hour
  • A new Trans Pennine rail line that connects Manchester and Leeds via Bradford
  • Significant upgrades along the corridor of the existing Hope Valley line between Sheffield and Manchester via Stockport
  • Leeds to Sheffield delivered through HS2 Phase 2B and upgrading the route from Sheffield
  • Leeds to Newcastle via HS2 junction and upgrades to the East Coast Mainline
  • Significant upgrades to existing line from Leeds to Hull (via Selby) and Sheffield to Hull (via Doncaster) 

TfN is due to be integrated with Rail North this April, when TfN is set to be granted statutory status. At which point the transport strategy will also become a statutory document.

Transport for the North has already started making progress on a rolling programme to introduce integrated and smart ticketing across the North of England from now until 2021.

A final version of the plan will be published later in the year and submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration. Find out more by visiting

Image from TfN

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council


Derbyshire County Council
£22,628 - £24,455 per annum
Two posts have become available in the Council's Highways Development Control Section Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Head of Network Planning

Derbyshire County Council
£52,999 - £58,310 per annum
This is a key role at Derbyshire County Council that will lead the strategic and operational planning and management of... Matlock, Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Senior Parking Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
As Senior Parking Manager, you will be responsible for the effective management of the Council’s Parking Services contract, and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Group Engineer (Highway Design)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£39,782 to £43,757 plus £3,000 Market Rate Supplement
Are you an experienced engineer looking for an opportunity to improve the lives of the local people of... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Group Engineer (Highways Network and Asset Management)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£39,782 to £43,757
Looking for a Group Engineer who already has... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Validation Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£21,188 - £29,796
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Transport & Infrastructure Planning Officer

Essex County Council
£52000 - £57570.0 per annum
Please note this is a two year fixed term contract with a potential for extension, subject to budget and workload. Job purpose Calling all transport P England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Food Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Food Safety team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £36,486 depending on skills and experience
We have an exciting opportunity within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for 2 x Policy Planner roles... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£19,554 - £23,836
Looking for candidates who have experience of highways maintenance and have a sound technical understanding of highways. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Street Services Recruitment Day

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Competitive Salary
This role involves collecting residents and business wheelie bins and waste containers you will work as... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.  Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Traffic Officer

Bedford Borough Council
£23,313 - £26,999 per annum
You will work as part of the Highways team providing specialist knowledge and advice on traffic management issues. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Design Engineer - Guildford

Surrey County Council
£39,438 - £43,744 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within Surrey County Council's Highway Design & Delivery Team... Guildford, Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Director of External Operations

Somerset West and Taunton Council
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been through a transformation that puts customers at the heart of everything we do. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset West and Taunton Council

Zero Emissions Network Officer

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£33,759 - £34,986
We are looking for an enthusiastic Zero Emissions Network Officer Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council