The Sprint corridor will be a mix of dedicated bus lanes with the shared use of the highway with other traffic at certain points - but with buses having signal controlled priority at road junctions and traffic lights. Sprint vehicles will allow for the swifter movement of passengers at larger, state-of-the-art shelters, with improved access for disabled passengers. It means quicker journey times along the corridor, but without buses going any faster. And as all buses will benefit from using the corridor it means an improved travelling experience for all passengers, providing more reliable, regular and predictable journey times - connecting our region and protecting our environment.
Sprint was identified as a key part of the Strategic Economic Plan - ‘Movement for Growth' - providing significant long term benefits for the region - not solely as part of planning for the Commonwealth Games. However, Sprint was prioritised due to the success of the bid, and the additional benefits Sprint will provide in terms of transport access requirements for the games. Sprint also features in both Birmingham Connected and Solihull Connected and is also part of the HS2 Connectivity Package, approved by the WMCA Board in February 2017.
Our region is growing. By 2035, the population of the West Midlands is set to increase by up to 444,000 (100 people per day) and we expect 215, 000 new homes to be built across the region by 2030. In the same period, we anticipate that business investment will generate an additional 50,000 jobs, while the introduction of HS2 will open our connections to a wider area. We also want growth to be inclusive and sustainable so that everyone can benefit from the opportunities it will bring. Investment in our passenger transport network will help provide the capacity and quality of service we need, while helping to keep our region moving.
- Predictable and dependable journey times - giving an average journey time saving of 20% at peak times
- Additional and extended bus lanes to minimise congestion
- State-of-the-art bus shelters designed to enhance the passenger experience including improved safety, comfort and information
- Part of an integrated transport network providing improved connections across our region, improving access to jobs and other opportunities
Funds for Sprint come from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Department for Transport and other third party contributions (including Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for funding for the A34 section and Perry Barr Improvement Scheme). Devolved central government funding has been identified by the WMCA as part of the HS2 Connectivity Package, which includes Sprint, Metro and other rail schemes, to provide an integrated public transport system across our region.
Some trees will be removed as part of the Sprint corridor construction, but only where absolutely necessary and through working closely with tree specialists to identify only those trees that must be removed. Recycled wood from removed trees will be offered for use in schools, or to local communities such as allotment holders. Over 1,000 new trees will be planted along the sprint corridor, which is expected to substantially increase the original canopy cover. We're also engaging with local councillors and communities for suggestions of where tree planting might enhance the local area.
Yes. Sprint is designed to integrate with other public passenger services and improve ongoing connections with other bus services, metro, the rail network and eventually HS2.
Dedicated bus lanes, priority signalling at junctions and swifter movement of passengers on and off buses, means that journey times can not only be quicker - without buses going any faster - but journey times become much more predictable too.
The ultimate vision for Sprint is to deliver a network of seven routes. The first of these is the cross-city route, which will run from Walsall to Solihull via Birmingham City Centre along the A34 and A45. Construction of the first stages of this route begins in January 2020 and will be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games.
Further routes are in the planning stage - part of the HS2 connectivity package, ensuring access to key high speed rail interchanges at HS2 Curzon Street and the HS2 Interchange. These are:
- Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham via Langley
- Dudley to Birmingham
- Halesowen to Birmingham
- Longbridge to Birmingham
- Hall Green to HS2 Interchange via Solihull
We are committed to providing ongoing communications and engagement with communities along the corridor, particularly during construction. Notifications will be sent out to residents and businesses two weeks in advance of work taking place in a particular area. You can keep up to date with progress via our newsletter and website.
We are now entering the main construction phase with work expected to begin along the A45 in January 2021. The main contractor along this part of the corridor is Morgan Sindall Infrastructure. The contractor for the main works along the A34 is expected to be announced early in the new year. Regular updates - and the latest information regarding construction - will be available on the Sprint website.
The first part of the Sprint corridor will be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2022.
The A34 provides an important link between Birmingham and Walsall, serving residents and businesses in Aston, Perry Barr, and Great Barr. The route also serves as a diversion route for traffic from the M6 and is susceptible to significant congestion as a result. The existing services on the route suffer from journey time variability and the express services available do not serve many of the key locations on the corridor. Sprint will provide more predictable journey times whilst reducing the overall length of time it takes to travel between key areas. This will improve connectivity along the route linking people to new jobs, housing, leisure facilities and onward connections.
The area served by Sprint along the A34 will also see significant development and regeneration, including Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone, HS2 Curzon Street Station and the surrounding Eastside development, the Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium and the regeneration of Perry Barr and Walsall Town Centre.
The A45 provides an important link for Birmingham, Birmingham Airport and Solihull, serving residents and businesses in Digbeth, Sheldon, and Yardley. The route is the key link to East Birmingham and is susceptible to significant congestion as a result. The existing services on the route suffer from journey time variability and the expected growth at UK Central is expected to exacerbate this. Sprint will provide more predictable journey times, whilst reducing the overall length of time it takes to travel between key areas. This will improve connectivity along the route and support the expected growth in Solihull, Birmingham City Centre, the Digbeth regeneration area and UK Central, linking people to new jobs, housing, leisure facilities and onward connections.
We are working with our Local Authority partners to coordinate construction works to ensure that we keep disruption to a minimum. We will encourage commuters to use alternative travel options and to avoid any disruption caused. Please visit the West Midlands Network website to help plan your journey during construction. We will keep you informed via the Sprint newsletter, updates on the website and where necessary, notifications to residents and local businesses.
Full reviews are undertaken at detailed design stage to ensure that all design risks are captured and mitigation proposed. These are available to view on the Sprint website
TROs are required for any parking or loading changes and any other new restrictions (such as banned turns) and these are handled by each local authority.
We completed the Birmingham-area TRO consultation over the summer and a report, including all feedback received through the process, was submitted to Birmingham City Council.
We expect to deliver consultations in Walsall, Sandwell and Solihull in the new year.
No. Although Sprint is a bus priority corridor the redesign of the highway - with dedicated bus lanes along a large part of the route - should help to relieve pressure at major pinch points. During construction, we will work with the respective local highway authorities to ensure that construction works are co-ordinated as efficiently as possible to minimise inconvenience to road users
The new Sprint bus shelters will provide:
• High quality branded stops with illuminated shelters, seating, real time passenger information, help points and information
• CCTV to improve safety at stops and surrounding areas
• Off-board ticketing machines, and/or smartcard top-up/validation points where possible
• Easy access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and a stop environment that promotes accessibility.
A prototype bus shelter has been installed at the Coventry Rd/Kings Road stop on the A45 in Hay Mills.
No decision has been taken on exactly what the Sprint buses serving the length of the corridor will look like, but we are committed to providing an enhanced passenger experience not just through improved predictability and faster journey times, but also through air conditioned vehicles with Wi-Fi, audio visual announcements and next-stop information with improved accessibility and more space for wheelchairs and buggies.
Zero-emission vehicles are our top priority, electrically powered with Electric Vehicle (EV) charging at each end of the corridor.
We are in discussions with an operator and are exploring ways of delivering a high-quality and reliable service. When a preferred operator is selected, we will update you via the sprint website and newsletter.