The documents outline plans for a new transit system to be constructed in three phases over the next two decades, which could incorporate light rail, tram-train, ultra-light rail and advanced bus rapid transit technologies.
The transit network would also be integrated with existing and planned long-distance and regional rail networks, as well as cycle lanes and park-and-ride facilities, to enable easy multimodal travel in the region.
Phase 1 construction is scheduled to begin from 2025, to open by the end of 2030, and will focus on a core network centred on Leeds.
Phase 1 potentially includes an eastern route from Leeds to Thorpe Park and East Leeds park-and-ride site, a western route from Leeds through Pudsey to Bradford city centre and Forster Square station, and a southern line from Bradford via Dewsbury to Leeds.
Construction of Phase 2 would begin following the completion of Phase 1 in the late 2020s, and Phase 3 would begin following the completion of Phase 2 in the early 2030s, with a total of nine routes planned.
The proposals identify where people are expected to live and work in the coming decades, and the network would connect 35 housing areas, 17 employment areas and five hospitals, and improve transport connections for up to 675,000 people in the most deprived communities in the county.
“If we are going to raise the quality of life for all our communities then we need a transport system that does just that,” says Ms Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of WYCA and leader of Bradford Council. “We have already made progress in addressing the legacy of years of underinvestment in our region but we need to go further.”
WYCA says that the improved connections would significantly boost the attractiveness of low-carbon public transport options for residents in the county, supporting its target to reduce transport emissions to net zero-carbon by 2038.
The combined authority highlights that 92% of those who live in West Yorkshire work within the county, with 65% of all journeys made in West Yorkshire, including 70% of all work trips, being made in a car or van.
The infrastructure plan also highlights a range of commitments due to be completed by 2025, including the creation of new and upgraded railway stations, increases to existing rail capacity and other transport improvements.
It also acknowledges other schemes in the region currently underway including the construction of the HS2 high-speed line, the Northern Powerhouse Rail improvement programme, upgrades to the Trans-Pennine main line and the rollout of mainline electrification.
“These proposals set out how our existing plans to invest, our future ambitions and major infrastructure projects including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail come together to deliver the clean, integrated transport system we need to connect our communities to each other and beyond,” says Ms Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and head of transport for WYCA.
WYCA launched a public consultation for the project on January 27, which will continue until April 11.
Leeds Supertram, a planned three-line light network radiating from Leeds, was cancelled by British government in late 2005 despite £40m having been invested in the scheme.
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