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
transport network jobs

Engineer Maintenance

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit an Engineer Maintenance Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Tree Services Programme Manager

Nottingham City Council
You will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the Council's trees and woods, and will provide professional advice to others Woodthorpe, Nottingham
Recuriter: Nottingham City Council

Transport Coordinator

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 to £37,670
We have an exciting opportunity for 2 highly customer focused Transport Coordinators to work in the busy Camden Transport Team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Highway Electrical Supervisor (Highway Maintenance)

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,657 to £28,221
The post will support two Senior Lighting Engineers in leading and contributing to the delivery of the Street Lighting function for the Authority Bootle, Merseyside
Recuriter: Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Flood Risk Management Engineer

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 to £36,876
We are currently seeking a Flood Risk Management Engineer who will have a lead role with the Flood Risk and Development Team Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal Improvements)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal improvement projects. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal System and Operations)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal systems and operations. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Engineer (Traffic Signals)

Lincolnshire County Council
£42,806 - £49,441
Do you want to lead, manage and motivate a team of engineers working at the cutting edge of technology? Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Nuisance Control Officer

Brent Council
£38,040 - £40,086 p.a. inc. + £4,800 shift allowance p.a.
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Rights of Way Search Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£7,188 - £7,327 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in maintaining, developing and promoting the Definitive Map for Bridgend Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Countryside Access Maintenance Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£12,644 - £13,015 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in ensuring that the local rights of way network is protected, well maintained and enjoyed... Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Principal Transport Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£37,320 to £40,198
The role will require close dialogue with developers and their agents and necessitate strong partnership working with District Councils... Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £33,136
Are you a qualified Highways Project Engineer? Would you like to work in the famous James Herriot area of natural beauty? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer Highways and Transport

North Yorkshire County Council
£28,2281 p.a.
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regional Strategy Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
Band 15 – up to £41,846
Are you an experienced Transport Planner? Do you have exceptional communication skills to build relationships within teams? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Area Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £53,113 p.a. winter allowance plus 10% one off additional payment for exceptional candidates
Four Area Highway Managers roles available York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer – Major Development Applications

Somerset County Council
£33,136 to £37,107
We have a fantastic opportunity in Somerset within our Highways Development Management team. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Communications Manager - North London Heat & Power Project

Camden London Borough Council
£40,028 to £46,431
We have an exciting new opportunity for an enthusiastic and talented individual to join us and be part of a team... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Commissioner for Passenger Transport Services

Somerset County Council
£45,216 per annum
You will be responsible for the development of long-term policy, strategy, plans and programmes for passenger transport Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Technician(s) / Assistant Engineer

Darlington Borough Council
£16,755 - £29,909 Annually
As part of a team you will be involved in the management and improvement of the highway network Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council