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Green Transport Revolution

The West Midlands Combined Authority has declared a climate emergency and committed to achieving a net-zero region by 2041. Our transport system needs to support this goal by accelerating the use of zero emission vehicles and supporting more sustainable lifestyles. The land, water and air that we depend on is being damaged at a rate that is unsustainable. We need to reduce our impacts by pursuing the appropriate policies and maximising our use of technology and innovation in an appropriate way to help us minimise and where possible turn back damage to our environment.

Strategic context


Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is supporting the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to update its Local Transport Plan (LTP). We have developed a draft Core Strategy that proposes a new vision for travel in the West Midlands where people can thrive without having to drive or own a car.

The Core Strategy sets out the need to develop the West Midlands transport network in a way that supports active travel, public transport and ultimately delivers behaviour change.

Delivering a green revolution through our LTP means partnership working between the public and private sector to leverage our transport system to enhance our built and natural environment, in a way that stimulates our local industry to produce the products and services that support inclusive growth.

We will aim to decarbonise the West Midland’s private and public fleets by moving away from conventional and hybrid fossil fuel vehicles to zero emission alternatives. This will be critical to reducing emissions associated with transport and will also help to improve local air quality and reduce noise pollution. Our automotive industry is well placed to support this aim.

But transport innovation in the West Midlands, goes beyond making cars and we also have wider sector mobility strengths in products such as public transport, connected and autonomous vehicles, 5G, Mobility as a Service and modern infrastructure construction techniques as well as battery technology.

Finally, it isn’t just enough to improve how we travel; we need to make sure that transport has a significantly reduced impact on the environment. The land, water and air that we depend on is being damaged at a rate that is unsustainable. We need to reduce our impacts by pursuing the appropriate policies in an appropriate way to help us minimise and where possible turn back damage to our environment.

The pace and rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is too slow and a known barrier to more people making the switch.

Innovation in the transport field often happens in silos which is holding back further opportunities and benefits, particularly to accelerate our trajectory to net-zero carbon by 2041.

Transport has a significant detrimental and ultimately unsustainable impact on the natural and built environment.

We are exploiting our strengths in products such as public transport, connected and autonomous vehicles, 5G, Mobility as a Service and modern infrastructure construction techniques as well as battery technology to provide world-class transport services for residents and businesses. 

Our region has become a place to test and trial innovative new ways of developing, managing and maintaining the transport network.

The extensive network of recharging and refueling hubs available supports a rapid transition to low-emission vehicles (car/van, lorries and public transport), creating cleaner air and meeting our net zero commitments.

Our region must work together to tackle the climate emergency, improve air quality and maintain biodiversity. We can achieve this by supporting sustainable lifestyles and supporting a technology revolution.

Our Core Strategy says we need to:

How our Big Move will contribute to these goals:

Electrifying Transport

Accelerating the shift away from internal combustion engines is the main focus for this Big Move.  We know that, despite excellent progress in recent years, our charging infrastructure network is not yet where it needs to be.  We need to get infrastructure to where users need it: at home (for areas where there is little or no off-street parking), enroute for longer journeys and at the destinations people travel to.  Each of those has their own needs (in terms of space, trickle/rapid or ultra-rapid charging) which will need to be planned for carefully.

There is also a need for us to think about integrating electric vehicles into a wider ‘public’ transport offer through the use of car clubs and the promotion of shared use/ownership models for EVs.

Reduce Traffic

Technology will drive radical changes in transport in the next few decades with profound implications for users and businesses. Electrification, connectivity, automation, and real-time data collection and analysis are driving the development of new modes of travel and new ways to do business. Transport innovation has significant opportunities for the people and businesses of the region by making journeys more affordable, reliable and safer whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

There is more to our innovation work than to simply reduce traffic but technology will have a strong role to play in both managing demand and reducing the need to travel.

Improve Accessibility

Digital connectivity forms part of our new definition and way of measuring accessibility for the West Midlands.  Having access to good digital connectivity will have an increasing impact on people’s quality of life.

We will need to think carefully about some of the potential unintended consequences of future technology and innovation.  We will ensure that it is a positive addition to our region and adds to our wider definition of how we want accessibility to improve. Without the right frameworks and policies in place new modes of transport and business models could have potentially disruptive impacts on accessibility.

Key issues facing businesses and people

Cars and private vehicles will continue to form key part of transport system in the West Midlands. Switching to low ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) is one of the most accepted ways in which behaviour change can help to deliver towards our LTP objectives. Research for the LTP suggests that around 6 in ten WM residents were either willing to make changes in the future to reduce car usage or change their vehicles. However, concerns about the availability of charging infrastructure and a lack of understanding about the options comes up as a constant barrier for many seeking to change to ultra low or zero emission vehicles.


Whilst progress is being made in the West Midlands, (Coventry has one of the largest networks in the country outside of London), a key issue is that the pace of rollout across the region and the country is too slow, particularly public on-street charging. The rollout should match the region’s needs to support the shift to ULEVs and ZEVs.

It is accepted that the pace of growth in chargepoint availability will accelerate over time as ULEV/ZEV adoption rates and demand for public charging increase.

There is variation in the type and availability of chargepoint deployment across the region. This is to be expected given differing levels of early ULEV / ZEV uptake and different pilots, trials and projects as the market has evolved but if left unaddressed it risks being a significant barrier to driving more uptake of ULEVs/ZEVs. A key issue for many parts of the region is a lack of off-street parking with around a third of all properties across the region not able to charge their vehicles at home. 

Existing chargepoints can also be difficult to find, difficult to use and may turn out to be in use or broken when a driver reaches them. For disabled drivers, the situation can be particularly challenging. In many places, insufficient thought has been given to inclusive access. Even paying for charging can be unnecessarily complicated and can require multiple apps or smartcards across different chargepoint operators even within the West Midlands.

TfWM Research suggests that 60% of respondents were planning on changing their car within the next 5 years, with younger respondents more likely to replace within the next 5 years (73% aged 16-34). The majority of respondents (91%) had heard about the proposal to end the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles.

Public perceptions and attitudes need to be built into the heart of transport to deliver options that meet people’s needs and encourage more sustainable travel choices. By doing this we can promote a shift in behaviour and change how transport is used in the future and reduce its impact on the environment.

Linking environmental impacts to health and wellbeing, and travel choices more explicitly - such as through journey planning apps that include carbon emissions information for different modes of transport - could be a good first step towards people considering sustainable transport options in the future.

People’s awareness of the environmental impact of certain transport choices is increasing, and with that there is growing pressure on TfWM and other government bodies to reverse the decline through measures such as rapidly achieving Net Zero and improving local air quality. We have already observed more frequent and intense extreme weather events as a result of climate change, causing widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damage to nature and people.

Technology will drive radical changes in transport in the next few decades with profound implications for transport users and businesses. Electrification, connectivity, automation, and real-time data collection and analysis are driving the development of new modes of travel and new ways to do business. Transport innovation has significant opportunities for the people and businesses of the region by making journeys more affordable, reliable and safer whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

But new technologies need to be designed in a user centric way and ensure they support the wider objectives of the LTP. Otherwise  a move to connected, automated and zero emission mobility has the potential, if poorly managed, to worsen congestion and public health. TfWM research suggests that many people understand the advantages of automated vehicles, however, a small minority did not feel there were any advantages with around half highlighting potential concerns around road safety.

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Key issues facing TfWM and partners 

The number of charge points required to meet charging demand depends heavily on the type of charging technologies installed and the extent of change in travel behaviour away from private cars towards sustainable modes such as walking, cycling and public transport. The amount and type of infrastructure is highly dependent on market need.

Multiple stakeholders play different critical roles in bringing this infrastructure forward across transport, planning and energy and across the public and private sectors. In addition the role of those who manage and operate the transport system and services sits across a range of organisations and actors.  This can present challenges for how well co-ordinated action is and this has implications for the user experience and the ability to deliver LTP outcomes.

The lack of integrated regional plans for different types of infrastructure across different users, different energy types and fleets together with plans linked to the requirements of energy demand, energy supply and the associated infrastructure presents challenges. This is a key issue to resolve to ensure the region can develop a coherent view and strategy for ULEV / ZEV infrastructure. Local authorities currently have little influence over strategic investment in the underlying energy system to support transport decarbonisation. However, governance and collaboration to integrate transport and energy planning and delivery could help to address this. 

The process of connecting new chargepoints to the grid can be an expensive and often slow process also creating a barrier to faster progress. Poor grid capacity is a significant issue in some areas and upgrades to the electricity grid are costly when required to accommodate additional demand. In the case of charging at depots for fleets, or those at strategic, inflexible locations such as along motorways, the process could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and take around two years

The 2022 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment concluded that progress with adaptation policy and implementation is not keeping up with the rate of increase in climate risk, and that the risks to all aspects of life in the UK have increased over the last 5 years. More adaptation action is required nationally, regionally and locally,

Funding to invest in improvements to respond to and address environmental challenges will need to come from a range of sources. Ensuring the right principles are embedded into the region’s approach to transport planning and delivery will be a key part of helping to create a coherent response to these complex and cross cutting  challenges. There are risks to productivity, supply chains and distribution networks and ultimately the economy.

Without the right frameworks and policies in place new modes of transport and business models could have potentially disruptive impacts on people and places. If transport innovation and technological changes are not effectively managed or designed in a user centric way they could have undesired effects. This could include increasing congestion or reducing sustainable travel, particularly public transport usage, which in turn could reduce the financial viability of the network.  This could be a risk especially in areas of where demand is already low and if services are cut further then this could have a range of social, economic and environmental implications including worsening social exclusion.

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Zero Emission Vehicles

Creating  zero emission transport network is a key objective of this LTP and of the #WM2041 ambition for the region to achieve net zero by 2041. ULEVs and ZEVs will be important in the longer term (beyond 10 years) for decarbonising transport, and action is needed now in order to release those benefits. However, deep carbon reductions are required immediately to stay on track with WMCA’s overarching targets.

The UK government has set out its ambitions to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and two and three wheelers by 2035 (subject to consultation). From 2035, all new cars and vans must be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV). A ZEV is defined as one which emits 0g of carbon dioxide from the tailpipe per kilometre travelled and typically refers to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles (FCEV). It should be noted that whilst ZEVs do not have any tailpipe emissions, they will still produce particulate matter emissions from brake and tyre wear; a key issue for air quality.

Addressing carbon emissions and ULEV / ZEV policy must be more than simply encouraging and planning for people to exchange their current vehicles for ULEV / ZEVs of the same type as their previous vehicles. Some of the most popular hybrid and EV vehicles today are actually large and heavy SUVs – each requiring significantly more energy consumption and space than a smaller lighter vehicle to move the same people.

The higher the reliance on private (electric) cars is, the higher the charging demand will be, leading to more charge points required. The LTP’s ambition to move away from private vehicle use towards walking, cycling and public transport will affect the demand for ZEV charging/refueling – this will in turn affect charging/refueling infrastructure requirements.

Ensuring the West Midlands is well placed for the wide-scale uptake of EVs can help drive economic growth through regeneration, planning, business growth, skills, tourism and inward investment – all even more important in the light of ongoing economic pressures.

The West Midland’s Plan for Growth sets out that the manufacturing of electrical light vehicles and associated battery storage devices is a key cluster for growth. Building on the region’s success as a leading light in transport innovation.

Growth in ULEVs/ZEVs is accelerating with sales making up just under half of all new car registrations but is still a small part of overall vehicle parc. We will need to ensure that charging infrastructure is not either a perceived or a real barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). The Government published the Taking Charge strategy in 2022. This set out that for Mayoral authorities, the roles and responsibilities are to:

  • Develop and deliver ambitious tailored local EV charging infrastructure strategies that provide scaled, commercially sustainable public charging provision. They should align with wider local transport and energy decarbonisation policies. These strategies should form part of the overall framework of the LTP.
  • Ensure clear ownership and resourcing of the planning and delivery of EV charging infrastructure rollout.
  • Ensure local charge points are inclusively designed and accessible for residents, businesses, and visitors, and in line with local authorities’ legal obligations.

Phasing out Internal Combustion Engines

The Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan sets out a roadmap for removing all emissions from the road transport:

2030 - end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans

2035 - all new cars and vans must be 100% zero emission at the tailpipe

2035 - all new L-category vehicles to be fully zero emissions at the tailpipe

2040 - end the sale of all non-zero emission HGVs

The West Midlands, with its above average growth in EV ownership coupled with its geographical location at the heart of the UK’s transport network, will see increasing pressure for regional EV public charging infrastructure. Along with local authority actions to address low to mid power chargers, there is a need to intervene and incentivise the establishment of a highly visible and efficient EV public charging infrastructure in the region.

Based on work undertaken in the region it is considered that intervention from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Local Authorities (LAs) is needed to help co-ordinate and support delivery of:

  • On-street residential charging infrastructure
  • Rapid or ultra-rapid transit charging and/or charging hubs in locations where significant grid reinforcement is required
  • Rapid or ultra-rapid transit charging in locations where short-term user demand is likely to be low

The existing West Midlands ULEV Strategy was developed jointly by TfWM, the seven West Midlands LAs, Warwickshire CC and WMCA / Energy Capital and was approved by WMCA Board in January 2020. It set out an approach for the provision of chargepoint infrastructure for the region. It provides detail on the trajectory of technology development in this sector and provides an assessment of infrastructure requirements for private/smaller  fleet vehicles up to 2040. Further strategies have also been developed by local authorities.

Beyond 2025, charging availability is expected to increase rapidly for homes without off-street parking, opening up mass EV adoption for private car owners and some van operators. A total of 5,700 chargepoints is expected to be needed by 2025 and 22,000 by 2040, compared to the current 1,500 chargepoints in the region.

Based on Low and High EV take up scenarios in the Strategy, between 7,300 and 11,000 7-11 kW chargepoints are required to be delivered by 2040 (2,300 required by 2025) in long stay charging locations, such as TfWM Park and Ride sites, on-street residential locations where residents to do not have access to a driveway or garage to charge their car, or other suitable public locations. Between 300 and 500 Rapid 50kW chargepoints are required in local hub locations by 2040.

Transit Charge Station facilities are proposed in the Strategy, at key strategic locations. It is intended that facilities at 10 locations would provide Ultra-Rapid charging (150kW+) to a variety of users including:

  • Fleets without access to depot charging (or for whom the operating model is for the vans to go home with the operative at night);
  • Inter and intra-regional travel; and
  • Own use charging for shared mobility services such as car clubs.

It is crucial to select the appropriate location with sufficient power distribution and charging demand. Local area energy plans and the Infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicle (IZEV) strategy consider these factors to determine the best sites for charging infrastructure development. Planning policy can help control the installation of chargepoints in current and new developments. This will ensure they are appropriately distributed and reflect spatial planning of the charging network. It can also drive developer contributions towards charging infrastructure.

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The Future of Personal Vehicles

In our vision we acknowledge that personal vehicles (cars, vans) will remain a significant form of transport for many people. Cars and vans are and will continue to be the majority of the vehicle parc in the region. ULEV’s and ZEVs are expected to take on a greater market share, especially as all new cars must be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.

Projected Ownership of private vehicles in WM is estimated to be around 2million by 2040, an increase of between 2.5 to 6.4 times current EV levels.

Public charging infrastructure needs to meet this increased demand, so that the transition away from ICE’s can be facilitated.

Charge points currently do not cover enough of the region to make public charging accessible to all residents. We will need to ensure good spatial coverage according to different needs, including solutions for hard-to reach areas.

Private vehicle charging will be split between public network and home/private charging, whereas shared mobility services such as car clubs with largely will rely on a public network. There will need to be a mix of provision across the region in terms of on-street, local hubs, en-route and destination/workplace parking.

The focus for the public sector will need to be supporting access to those who don’t have access to charging at their properties. Approximately 30% of people in the WM do not have access to off-street parking at their home.

For those without access to off-street parking, there are two charging options to complement destination and en-route charging.

  • Slow on-street charging – provides slow overnight charging close to their house/property; for example, at lampposts or at the kerbside.
  • Hub charging – provides quick and accessible charging at central locations within a local area, similar to taking a car to a petrol station. These can be fast or rapid, but a benefit of rapid hubs in residential locations is that they will also support other user groups such as hackney carriages, private hire vehicles and car clubs

Taxis, both hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, are a key user group for early deployment of fast and rapid charge points, partly because they drive many more miles annually than the average private car leading to higher charging demands. Taxi demand is closely linked to taxi rank locations, and the distribution of taxi ranks.

Electric taxis are slowly growing in adoption. 6% of taxis and 33% of PHV’s in the WM are hybrid or electric. Private Hire Vehicles generally have the same choice of EV’s as personal car owners, offering a wide variety of price points and models. Hackney Carriages must be a particular vehicle model and wheelchair accessible. Both will require standard EV charging infrastructure.

Taxi ranks in centres and at key destinations present quick-win locations for chargepoint installation. Provision of secure, reliable charging points in visible locations is important. Additionally, chargepoints should be interoperable for the range of charging connectors and networks available. This will allow both taxis and the public to utilise the infrastructure and de-risk investments.

LA’s are responsible for setting licensing standards for taxis/PHVs, but there currently is not a consistent regional approach to licencing standards and incentivising a shift to ZEV taxis but the region will need to move to requiring most taxi and private hire vehicles to switch to ULEV or ZEV as quickly as possible.

Traditional bike ownership is now being outpaced by e-bikes and at the same time E scooters have grown in popularity over the past few years, but as a result of them not being legal on the public highway there has been little infrastructure interventions to facilitate their use. However,  legislation is expected which will legalise the use of privately owned E Scooters on public highways and cycle paths.

Currently the majority of e-scooters and e-bikes are provided through public shared schemes. Charging should be located in conjunction with hire scheme docking stations, largely along key routes and at key destinations.

Should private ownership be supported by new vehicle classifications and other legislation, these vehicles will make use of both public infrastructure and private or at-home charging points. Co-location with the mobility hub network, on-street charging and other provisions will expand the network for both e-scooter and EV users.

Whilst the majority of privately owned e-bikes and micromobility vehicles will be charged at home / workplace, e-scooters and e-bikes will still require en-route/destination charging facilities. Chargepoint infrastructure should consider how it can address e-bike and micromobility needs.

Rail based public transport in the region includes very light rail, metro, heavy rail and tram-trains. The West Midlands Metro network is already electric operating with a mixture of overhead line and battery power. Coventry’s proposed Very Light Rail network will also be fully electric.

The key challenge for rail based public transport is for the heavy rail network. Only 38% of the UK rail network was electrified as of 2020. Most recently electrification of the line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley has seen improvements to journeys. The delivery of HS2 in the West Midlands is championing zero-emission inter-regional/national rail travel. Rail is also currently the only means of transporting heavy goods in a low-carbon way using existing, proven technology through electrification.

However, significant gaps in the electrified network remain. Delivery of net zero by 2050, and the elimination of diesel-only trains by 2040 in line with Government commitments, means the rail industry needs to start delivering a significant programme of electrification very quickly if it is to meet these targets.

Decarbonising our railway is a transport measure fundamental to achieving this target, and Network Rail has proposed a sustained rolling programme of electrification through its Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy published in 2020.

Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy states that achieving the Government’s net zero target will require a commitment to a long-term, stable and efficient programme of works which will last at least the next thirty years.

The West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy sets out a need for the rail industry to include electrification as a core part of any investments. The progress of electrification of the network will also have implications for service improvements.

The West Midlands supports the view that for most routes electrification is the only credible option, and that other options such as battery only or hydrogen-only trains are only likely to be suitable for lightly used lines or where a bespoke solution is appropriate. West Midlands Rail Executive strongly supports a rolling programme of electrification across the entire region and is working closely with Network Rail on their prioritisation process for electrification in the West Midlands.

The Snow Hill line and associated services have the greatest intensity of diesel train use in the region, closely followed by the Cross Country services, which generally use larger diesel engines. Any additional services introduced as part of the Midlands Rail Hub investment should also operate emissions-free within the central Birmingham area, and ideally be fully electric.

The key priorities for electrification in the West Midlands are:

  • The Snow Hill lines between Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and Worcester.
  • Nuneaton – Birmingham/Walsall which is core artery for freight to/from the electrified West Coast main line.
  • The wider Cross Country network, including Midlands Rail Hub and Leamington – Coventry – Nuneaton, for both local/national passenger and freight services to/from south west, north east and the deep sea intermodal terminals at Southampton.

In order to support a programme of electrification a parallel rolling stock strategy is also required, as the two must step hand in hand. We are well-placed to support this process through our role in specifying the West Midlands Trains operation, working with DfT and with the proposed Great British Railways in the future.

The interim use of bi-mode rolling stock can bring decarbonisation benefits earlier than full electrification. These could be used to extend non-diesel operation beyond the extent of the overhead line on service groups that operate beyond their reach (and there are some of these in the West Midlands) or to reduce noise and pollution in built up areas and at stations.

Finally to fully decarbonise light rail and heavy rail services, the electricity supply must come from a sustainable and renewable source. WMCA will review the energy source for Midland Metro trams, with aim of converting it to sustainably sourced energy.

The Future of Public Transport

Buses are the main form of public transport in the West Midlands. Encouraging behaviour change to deliver increased bus use to help reduce car dependency and investment in the fleet are both key parts of delivering against the LTPs objectives. The West Midlands bus network is deregulated and we will need to work with bus operators to find ways to move the West Midlands fleet to zero emission as quickly as possible.

WMCA plan to support the introduction of more new electric buses, new hydrogen buses and electric re-powered buses operating across the region. The West Midlands Bus Improvement Plan sets out that all diesel buses in the WM must be at least Euro VI by May 2023. Currently 2.6% of the fleet is low emissions, to increase to 37% by 2025 with an additional 750 zero emissions buses by 2025. Our continued commitment to improving bus emissions in the region would see all buses zero emission by 2036. Through additional Government and operator funding to our BSIP ask, we can accelerate this timeframe towards 2030 for all remaining 1,750 vehicles (after this BSIP investment) to be zero emission. An average annual investment of £134m in zero emission buses and associated infrastructure is required to meet this goal.

In 2021 the first hydrogen buses in England outside London entered service in Birmingham following a project led by Birmingham City Council. Building on this success WMCA has been successful in securing funding from the Zero-emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) fund to deliver a fleet of  additional 124 hydrogen buses which will give the West Midlands the UK’s biggest fleet of hydrogen buses. 24 of these new vehicles will be articulated tram-style buses set to run on the new Sprint rapid transit routes along the A34 and A45 between Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull.

TfWM and Coventry City Council secured funding for the Coventry All Electric Bus project in 2022. The project will enable all buses operating in Coventry to be zero emission by 2025 and develop charging infrastructure including  upgrades such as charge points at bus depots across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Primarily, bus refuelling will be carried out at bus depots overnight or over long periods of time. Opportunity charging, or charging while on route, is another option but the technology isn’t mature.

  • Electric v. Hydrogen buses- Each type presents its own benefits and disadvantages to consider when procuring fleet vehicles.
  • Grid Capacity- Assessment of grid capacity is planned to be undertaken by Energy Capital and this will result in a series of recommendations for bus depot location mitigations and possible relocations. This will form part of local area energy plans and the iZEV strategy.
  • Prioritisation- WMCA has greater influence over subsidised services for implementing Zero Emission Buses. Priority can also be for routes with low air quality.

Operators will incrementally introduce Low Emission Buses into their fleets. They will need to accommodate multiple refuelling infrastructure options at their depots or build new facilities.

WMCA can aid by identifying council land that’s suitable for bus depots and charging infrastructure, as well as create publicly funded and owned bus depots that include alternative fuel infrastructure.

The Future of Freight and Servicing

The Government aims to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel HGV’s by 2040, following consultation with the industry.

Research undertaken for Midlands Connect by Cenex (2019) indicated the two main barriers constraining uptake of low carbon fuels by this sector by the mid-2020s are likely to be a lack of access to suitable charging infrastructure for larger vehicles and a lack of information about the benefits and operational suitability of this technology. Addressing these barriers could help increase rates of fleet uptake of plug-in vehicles in the Midlands.

Current adoption of alternative fuels in road freight is extremely limited across all vehicle types, with only 1.5% of HGVs and 0.4% of LGVs using non-diesel fuels. This low uptake is largely due to the limited coverage of the recharging/refuelling network and there is effectively no public access to recharging and refuelling points for alternatively fuelled LGVs and HGV.

As well as localised urban last mile freight (largely the domain of vans), freight traffic in the Midlands comprises intra-regional traffic, which tends to be concentrated within the Golden Triangle (broadly an area bounded by Daventry, Nottingham, Derby, Stoke, Black Country/Birmingham and Coventry), and inter-regional and transit traffic, which is concentrated along the key Midland corridors including the M6 and M42.

In terms of funding and investment, private sector businesses are also likely to invest in alternative fuels given the growing sustainability awareness and the market potential. 66 key logistics sites and freight service stations in Midlands were identified with the majority of logistics sites located in the Golden Triangle, in central Midlands, especially along the M6 corridor.

TfWM is working with Birmingham University, Aston University and other stakeholders to further engage with the logistics sector in the West Midlands on plans for decarbonisation.

TfWM is also engaging with Birmingham City University to explore the case of increased bio-methane applications in the transport sector. Preliminary evidence facilitated by BCU suggests significant potential for retrofit applications that could be advantageous in freight and sectors sector. This could be useful as part of a pathway towards longer term hydrogen and EV adoption.

Efforts to encourage modal shift of freight from road to more environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as rail, cargo bikes are vital but road freight will always play a significant role in the movement of goods, given its flexibility and ability to provide an end-to-end solution to any location.

Therefore, it is vital that the sector is supported in transitioning away from carbon-based fuels to more sustainable alternatives such as hydrogen and battery power. Investment to increase the number, spread and quality of alternative refuelling and recharging stations is therefore essential. At present there is also uncertainty about which technology (hydrogen, battery electric, Electric Road System) is the most appropriate for different types of freight movement. Freight accounts for about a third of total transport carbon and both road and rail freight are still heavily reliant on diesel. Midlands Connect estimate that HGVs account for about 21% of the regions carbon emissions.

The fuel of choice for the freight and logistics sector is still very much under consideration . There have been substantial developments with fuels like hydrogen, supported by government and the ‘green industrial revolution’, the technology is still being developed and is not ready for full-scale roll-out . Due to the shortcomings of electric HGVs in terms of range and the increase in prevalence of biofuels, we must ensure that any infrastructure proposed caters for businesses’ current and future needs.

In terms of alternative fuels for HGVs Midlands Connect is the lead Sub-national Transport Body for this and is developing a model for a recharging and refuelling network for the region. This will take into account fuel options, clusters of activity, freight corridors and how these can work more effectively.

Given the wider, cross boundary challenges associated with freight movements, the West Midlands will need to work with Midlands Connect to develop a coherent strategy for infrastructure in and around the West Midlands. Infrastructure delivery and availability is constrained by access to sites of the appropriate size and location, at reasonable costs . Fuel suppliers reported challenges of finding suitable sites near motorways and trunk roads that have sufficient space for large vehicles . There is also a need to consider proximity to ports, freeports, airports, freight clusters, strategic rail freight interchanges and gigafactories. Midlands Connect has identified a potential network of recharging and refuelling locations that could satisfy the demand by the freight sector up to 2040. This will also need to be closely aligned with work on the West Midlands iZEV strategy to see if and how these sites in the West Midlands could be brought forward.

Charging and Refuelling 


Equipment Specification

Typical use case

Spatial considerations

Responsibility / Lead

Long stay






Park and Ride

Ideal for convenient parking provision, especially to residents without off-street parking.

On-street close to property.


Local authorities will need to take a lead in helping to ensure that properties without their own driveway or off-street parking have to EV charging. West Midland strategy needs to remove access to off-street parking as a barrier to EV ownership.

Short stay



Retail parks and shopping centres

Leisure facilities

Tourist attractions

Park and Ride

Highly visible and best for installing fast charging. Property ownership and electrical supply challenges must be overcome.

Off-street parking locations.


Mix of public sector/private sector provision. Local authorities will need to ensure planning policy encourages provision. Local authorities/TfWM will lead for public facilities and where gaps exist in provision.  

Local hub

En-route / property w/o off-street parking


Transport hubs designed specifically for charging and model interchange

Can provide rapid charging in a centralised location, if high capital costs and large grid connection fees can be overcome.

Public car parks

Service station forecourts

 Mix of public sector/private sector provision. Local authorities will need to ensure planning policy encourages provision. Local authorities/TfWM will lead for public facilities and where gaps exist in provision.  

Transit charge stations



(New) Service stations on key routes around the West Midlands

Best for vehicles who use the strategic road network, if their remote locations, constrained grid connections and limited benefit to local residents are not barriers to uptake.

Sites located close to key routes.

Lead by WMCA in partnership with private sector. Local authorities will need to ensure planning policy encourages provision.

TfWM will work with local authority partners to determine the best owner and operator models for the region. There isn't one model that can possibly cover the range and types of charging, it depends on a multiple range of factors.

A mixed approach to owner / operators is better as it gives flexibility to WMCA and local authorities based on funding availability and the appetite for commercial operators to invest in the market.  The updated West Midlands Zero Emissions Vehicle Charging and Refuelling Infrastructure Strategy will consider this.

Principles for choosing an operation model:

  • Availability of public funding to finance EV infrastructure.
  • Level of involvement and control that TfWM or the LA’s wish to have in infrastructure delivery.
  • Level of control TfWM will allow the operator to have in service delivery.
  • Level of financial and non-financial risk TfWM is willing to take on.

The preferred ownership/operation model and procurement processes across the LA’s are set out in WMCA’s ULEV strategy (Jan 2020). This may be updated to reflect national EV charging guidance and statutory requirements.

Each ownership model will reflect the market forces, infrastructure type and other factors found in each LA.


WMCA, TfWM and local authorities partners will work together with National Highways, Midlands Connect and neighbouring authorities to develop an updated West Midlands Zero Emissions Vehicle Charging and Refuelling Infrastructure Strategy, to guide the provision of a public charging infrastructure network that meets the needs of existing and new communities and businesses across the region and which supports an equitable transition to electric vehicles.  The strategy will consider the needs of private vehicles, and commercial vehicles, including HGVs, LGVs, Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles and other shared vehicles.

  • LAs and TfWM will ensure a range of public charging infrastructure is provided that meets the requirements of communities and businesses across the region, this will include destination and en-route charging in the right locations from slower charging to rapid and ultra rapid to ensure equitable access to electric vehicles
  • We will develop an updated West Midlands Electric Vehicle Charging and Refuelling Infrastructure Strategy. This will build on the work already undertaken by TfWM and local authorities. This will support WMCA and Local Authorities to engage with the market across the range of charging infrastructure required for the West Midlands through procurement activities and to incentivise commercial investment in infrastructure to ensure best value for associated public investment.

The provision and locations of charging stations will be strategically planned including on the key route network and strategic road network for HGVs and LGVs, but also at mobility hubs to provide easy access to other greener modes of transport and to provide charging for cars where private provision of off-street parking is unavailable.

  • We will work with Midlands Connect to develop a coherent strategy for infrastructure in and around the West Midlands to develop and deliver a network of recharging and refuelling locations that could satisfy the demand by the freight sector up to 2040.
  • Planning Policy will need to ensure that these factors are taken into account when bringing forward new development. At the same time the design of infrastructure will need to ensure that it is appropriately providing accessibility for all.
  • TfWM will publish a zero emission bus delivery plan with the ambition of delivering a 100% zero emission bus fleet by 2030.
  • TfWM commits to working with operators to develop a coherent approach to rolling out low emission buses across the region, including seeking additional bus powers and funding to deliver low emission buses, applying lessons learned from the Coventry zero emission bus project, identifying existing or new bus depot locations that can accommodate charging infrastructure, and supporting additional ZEB trials and research into alternative fuels for buses and coaches.

The electrical network (both transmission and distribution) will need to be reinforced to manage the increasing demand of electrical vehicle charging. Transport is also just one of numerous sectors increasing their electricity demand, for example the increased electrification of heating.

National Grid Electricity Distribution (formally Western Power Distribution) has produced an EV charging strategy, identifying the planned upgrades required. This includes increasing grid capacity at current and new developments, as well as what interventions can improve capacity across the network.

Charging for larger vehicles and more rapid charging solutions will require a larger grid connection and therefore will need to be planned strategically.

Hydrogen creation and distribution for hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is still in its early stages. WMCA are developing a hydrogen position paper (Feb 2023) to understand WMCA’s role in the sector and its opportunities within the region.

Biomethane and Natural Gas fuels are not a part of the WM strategy, as they are not fully net-zero fuels. They may be sufficient stop-gap solutions during the transition to net-zero, but our focus is on full decarbonisation of transport in the region.

The West Midlands is a land locked region and is a net importer of energyEnergy storage and demand management will be important to the region and could offer significant economic growth potential. WMCA should engage proactively with NGED and Cadent to facilitate grid improvements, identify potential sites and innovate within the sector. 

A place-based approach can help the region determine where in a locality is appropriate when planning and executing energy supply for EV charging. Local area energy and spatial planning will be required. This will cluster chargepoint installations around sites that have both high grid capacity and vehicle traffic.

The ultimate goal of decarbonising transport is both having vehicles that produce no emissions and sourcing electricity and hydrogen for powering these vehicles in a sustainable and renewable way.

A place-based approach can help the WCMA determine where in a locality is appropriate when planning and executing energy supply for EV charging. Local area energy and spatial planning will be required. This will cluster chargepoint installations around sites that have both high grid capacity and vehicle traffic.

Data and evidence driven discussions will inform spatial planning of charging infrastructure in the iZEV strategy and local area energy plans. 

Bi-directional vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home  charging can help to balance the grid. This enables energy to be drawn from vehicle batteries, but requires innovative consumption control and energy storage. 

All charging from 7kW overnight charging to 50 to 150kW rapid charging can be a burden on the energy grid’s capacity. With Multi-MW charging specifications being developed for individual large vehicle chargers such as those to be used for HGVs (equivalent to several hundred houses) the impacts on the grid will be significant.

Distribution Network Operators are responsible for maintaining, operating, distributing and investing in the electricity network within a given geography. This makes them instrumental to the deployment of vehicle chargepoints at scale. 

The Regional Energy System Operator project is currently pioneering collaboration of energy, transport and spatial planning in the West Midlands. Lessons learned from this project can help deploy it across the region. 

The Energy Capital team at the WMCA, who led on this project are also carrying out further regional energy projects and strategies. 

Work is also being done in geo-spatial planning to overlay energy infrastructure with transport in order to make long term decisions for both. 

WMCA has an opportunity to engage with local energy distributors and Energy Capital to understand current grid capacity and future improvement plans. This will be important throughout the lifecycles of public transport projects, such as Metro extensions. If grid reinforcement is planned alongside and aligned to transport infrastructure then significant cost efficiencies can be gained in both systems. Data sharing and data agreements within the planning process will be key.

Grid improvement plans should prioritise energy supply for public transport refuelling and recharging, but homes and private chargepoints should also be considered as part of the wider Local Area Energy Planning process to ensure effective roll out. 


The updated West Midlands Zero Emissions Vehicle Charging and Refuelling Infrastructure Strategy will support development of strategies to ensure local energy networks can support the changing energy demands of the transport sector.

Local area energy plans will be developed through collaborative working with energy distributors.

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Transport Innovation

Central to the LTP Core Strategy, and the Green Transport Revolution Big Move in particular is the need for investment in new transport innovation. If we have high ambitions for our transport systems, we want to look to the future. While many of the solutions to problems in transport can be found in traditional modes (such as walking), the future will also be governed by new answers. Innovation can provide ways to solve old and new problems, so we must be constantly looking ahead at what the future holds. WMCA initiatives will work alongside Government’s ‘Future of Transport’ agenda which aims to shape transport innovation and make the UK a world leader in transport movement. This plan aims to help the West Midlands continue and develop its role as a leader in transport innovation.

Innovations will be vital to the achievement of our transport objectives, but there must remain a focus to our use of innovation. Without considering the guiding principles, it would be easy to innovate without purpose, which risks not helping much at all. If we innovate without purpose, we risk channelling our time and energy into projects which are very unlikely to become significant advances, or which may come to fruition but do not help, or perhaps pose a threat to other objectives. However, if we choose to innovate within the parameters of key principles, this can push the new technologies to support our specific local needs.

Throughout this it is important to keep in mind the possibility for innovation projects to support outside the originally agreed principal purpose. The innovation principles do not exist to be a restriction to prevent innovation outside a strict list of areas, but to ensure a focus in decision-making.

This section will outline the key principles we will hold through our process of encouraging new innovations. After that, it will look through the key mechanisms that support these processes and consider how they will continue to support in the future. Finally, it will show what the immediate future might look like as it examines a selection of key innovation opportunities which are currently being developed and could prove to upgrade our local transport system in the next few years.

In order for innovation projects to best serve the priorities within the LTP, a set of principles have been produced. In order to create these principles we considered what the major threats are from pursuing innovations, as well as the opportunities that could be missed. Wasting money and time could often be a fear in an area that involves a constant need for funding. Many of the principles are focussed on avoiding that waste, and ensuring the resources remain for future innovations or to invest fully in current innovations. Thinking about the positives that could be missed, it wlll be key to take full advantage of any nearby projects, and also seeing the key learning that can be found in failed projects.

However, it is important to recognise that this is not a complete process. There needs to be a development of a new general process for determining the value of different projects. Numerous forms of transport innovation, manifesting in different ways can produces widely varying outcomes. Quantifying and comparing these contrasting outcomes is challenging, so a set of standards will be produced.

The below figure explains at which point in the policy process these principles and priorities need to be considered. The principles must be used to ensure that the best innovation projects are selected for the resources, the projects remain focussed n LTP objectives (while being allowed to develop and adapt to circumstances),and to ensure infrastructure and services are ready for innovations to come.

When prioritising innovations

  • During the process of deciding which areas of innovation take top focus, the innovation principles must be considered. Choosing the most appropriate projects will reduce wasted time and resources and ensure the most promising innovations are examined.

Setting up and managing innovation projects

  • As an innovation project is taking shape and gets underway, the innovation principles must be considered. Keeping these priorities in mind as a project develops will ensure that it continues to serve a purpose, even if the focus changes somewhat over time.

Wider transport system planning and development

  • Throughout WMCA work, whether directly focussed on transport innovation or not, the innovation principles must be considered. All areas should be aware of upcoming innovations so services and infrastructure can be made ‘future-proof’ to save money retrofitting.


As the home of UK transport innovation and leading the largest national transport innovation programmeTfWM and its partners will continue to test and adopt new technology and innovative ways of working where these align with and help to deliver the objectives of our LTP.

  • We will be objective led according to the aims of the Core Strategy and wider public policy objectives of our partners, considering both the opportunities and the threats that innovations pose to the aims.
  • We will seek to understand how the opportunities and threats could affect different people across the West Midlands, whether directly ‘using’ the innovation or not.
  • We will seek the benefits of any failures in innovation. Failure can provide important learning, so we will look to ‘fast fail’ if success is not an option.
  • We will seek to understand how uncertainties over the future of the innovation could change the opportunities and threats and our influence over those uncertainties.
  • We will seek to steer innovation in a direction that mitigates threats and maximises opportunities such as inclusivity and accessibility.
  • We will evolve our understanding of innovations as they progress from research and development, to trialling, to roll-out and reassess the potential opportunities and threats.
  • We will use our understanding of how innovations could evolve to affect the decisions we make today over planning and developing our transport system to future proof investments.
  • We will selectively partner with and support others by contributing public funding, assets and powers to support innovation.
  • Where transport innovation can help meet our transport aims we will seek to bring early benefits to the transport system by supporting innovation, and we will seek to support local economic opportunities in the innovation supply chain.
  • As the certainty of opportunities grows and the threat of risks diminishes, we will strengthen our support for innovations.
  • We will look to national and nearby projects to support and inspire local innovations.
  • We will produce a general system to standardise the process by which the value of innovations are judged.

To achieve success in transport innovation, as discussed in several of the principles, it is vital to utilise fully the key mechanisms that support progress. While money will always be a vital mechanism to push new innovations along, there is a lot more that is available. Therefore, a list has been created of the key mechanisms. If the mechanisms are not identified, it will be harder to know what it is that is needed to be mobilised for any new project.

Within the WMCA there exists great access to information and data, as well as access to important infrastructure and the wealth of experience and knowledge gained over decades of work through the transport authority. These can all feed into the development of new programmes, particularly those which use new technology.

But what will always remain important is the work with other organisations. For a project to be successful, varying groups must have an interest and give an input.




Access to public funding

Innovation projects rely on money. WMCA applies for grants from Government for varying different projects.

Future Transport Zone – £22 million for numerous different innovations, such as Mobility Hubs and Mobility as a Service.

Access to authority and powers to plan, develop and regulate

In order to appropriately test new technologies, sometimes regulatory powers need to be changed. This allows trials to work in areas they would not previously

Trailblazing Devolution Deal – being negotiated to devolve more power to the metropolitan county. Potentially including Regulatory Sandbox to give more ability to trial new innovations.

Access to our partnerships and influence with key agents

WMCA innovation relies on constituent local authorities in the West Midlands, other nearby local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, other local services, private enterprise and more.

Drone project is in partnership with police and local authorities within the West Midlands.

Access to public infrastructure

While the road/transport infrastructure comes collectively under the responsibility of TfWM, local authorities, national government and private sector businesses, we do maintain a significant function and control.

WMCA holds particular responsibility for the Key Route Network of roads, the 23 busiest routes in the West Midlands.

Access to skills and expertise

Institutional skills from across the WMCA assist in the identification and development of innovation. Knowledge and previous experience can guide new innovation projects.

West Midlands Metro advising on new Very Light Rail (VLR) projects, to give insight on challenges facing light rail projects.

Access to public data and information

In order to decide which innovations are necessary and assess any innovation projects, data collection and analysis is vital.

Regional Transport Co-Ordination Centre (RTCC) which gives the ability to view the transport network 24 hours a day.


WMCA will work with a range of partners by leveraging these various mechanisms to support innovation according to the outlined principles

It will be important to consider how these principles will be manifesting themselves over the next few years. To plan ahead, we will select 8 of the key opportunities in transport innovation which should improve transport, save money, keep the West Midlands as a centre for transport innovation, take advantage of opportunities, and help the region stay up-to-date with innovation emerging elsewhere. Manufacturing and innovation is key to the West Midlands economy, so more investment in the right areas is essential to growth. 30% of automotive employment in the whole of Great Britain is in the West Midlands, with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre a key aspect in moving that employment to the future. With HS2 coming to Birmingham, the West Midlands is also a centre for railway innovation, with 40,000 railway-related jobs in the region.

Transport needs to keep up with any societal changes and improve the quality of services wherever possible. The principle objective of the selected innovations is to make transport services better in some way. Whether that is making transport generally safer (such as drones) or with a new specific form such as micromobility.

Innovations also give the opportunity for transport services to save money, so that the best service can be provided for the money available. This could include making public transport more efficient by using automated vehicles, or investing in a cheaper alternative to a popular mode, with Very Light Rail.

The West Midlands has become a centre for numerous transport innovations, notably with autonomous vehicles. These opportunities selected will help that to continue to grow into more topics. This in turn will help the West Midlands economy and provide a wider global profile for the region. The more investment coming into our area, the higher employment and better opportunity for West Midlands residents.

While the West Midlands is itself a hub of opportunity, in order to make the most of innovation, it will be key to make use of nearby projects. This will help to ensure that funding is spent well, in an area that can be built upon well. For example, ‘Project Highway’, a planned drone superhighway connecting the Midlands with the Southeast, including a destination in Coventry. This can assist our own drone projects.

Finally, innovations are taking off all over the world, changing regulations. On those innovations that the West Midlands is not already at the forefront, there is a need to be ready for any vital changes. This may be because of government policy and regulation changes. For example, Government has announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2030. We need to ensure that local infrastructure is ready for that change, as more and more people move from petrol to electric. Another change that is expected soon is for the government to legalise the use of private e-scooters on public roads.

Key opportunities

  • Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
  • Mobility Hubs
  • Very Light Rail (VLR)
  • Demand Responsive Transport (DRT)
  • Micromobility
  • Drones
  • Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM)
  • Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV)

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Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

“Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a term used to describe digital transport service platforms that enable users to access, pay for, and get real-time information on, a range of public and private transport options. These platforms may also be linked to the provision of new transport services” (UK Parliament, 2017)

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Increased mode share of sustainable transport, improved air quality, reduced congestion, improved regional health and well-being

Different actors creating and focusing on developing their own solutions, meaning that no one solution has the user base required to deliver the outcomes required

Economic growth and improved data for those traveling within the West Midlands

While research highlights demand for a platform that gives access to all services, a full release has not yet been delivered, so the expected outcomes are not yet confirmed

Creating a platform for all modes of transport involves working with suppliers of transport to get them on board. Currently we have limited levers to encourage bus companies to get involved with a MaaS project. There is no standard barcoding for bus services (while there is for trains), so every bus company has different tickets. This makes it much more complicated to have tickets that work across every local bus service. Fortunately, much of the work can be built from the pre-existing Swift framework.

The features in the future are not set clearly and will develop based on demand. Funding may also provide uncertainty. The next few years will be funded by the Future Transport Zone, but after that the viability of the platform may come down to its success. How successful the platform is will be measured in a number of ways – if the platform has a high number of users but fails to encourage them to use more sustainable transport, that may not be considered a success.

The technology for MaaS exists and a trial for a platform and service in the West Midlands will begin in Summer 2023. The expectation is for a full service to be available to the general public in early 2024 with extra services added over the following year. The system will link bus, train, tram, cycle hire, e-scooter, parking, car club, taxi, as well as walking and private cycling.

We have the experience of a previous MaaS system, Whim, to draw from. For example it would suggest that a subscription system is likely to be less popular than pay-as-you-go. Currently existing or incoming systems can also support. A key system which will bring all of this together is the Swift ticketing system. Not only does the simple technology support a MaaS system, but it gives the precedent and pre-formed relationships of bringing different companies together with TfWM under a single banner. There is also the incoming project of Mobility Hubs which will provide a physical coming-together of the different forms of transport.

Any new transport systems and projects can be brought under the same banner to encourage using the MaaS system. As the system develops through the trial we will add more features and cater to the particular needs and desires which develop.

Mobility Hubs

A place where different modes of travel are brought together. There will normally be a focus on shared mobility and active travel, as well as integration with public transport. For example, it could contain cycle hire, e-scooter hire, care hire and link with bus services. Additional services can be included to increase footfall at the hub and promote the development of communities, like parklets, parcel lockers and local information.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Giving people easy opportunity to use more sustainable modes of transport than private car

It could encourage people towards powered micro-mobility or car use (in car clubs) rather than public transport or active travel

May make public transport more feasible for people who live further from stops/stations if they can use micro-mobility for multi-modal travel

Unclear at this point if take-up will be high, which could cause problems depending on where they are placed- particularly if they are taking up parking spaces

We currently do not know how popular these mobility hubs will be, as that is the purpose of the pilot, so it may well be that the public do not change their behaviour because of this. Ongoing funding could potentially become an issue. 3 initial mobility hubs will be funded by the Future Transport Zone, and the next step will be funded by CRSTS. Once initial trials have taken place, future expansion or just general upkeep may be difficult unless future funding sources can be found.

Before the trial starts, it is unclear exactly what the mobility hubs will look like and which modes of transport will be involved. One key uncertainty is with micromobility, electric bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters. A key uncertainty will be how the government legislates for micromobility. It is likely that private and shared e-scooters will be legal on roads, but will other types of small powered vehicle be legalised and will they be useful in a mobility hub? If private e-scooters are legalised, will that mean that the demand for shared e-scooters drops significantly?

As technology on micromobility has developed, this could be just the right time to start mobility hubs, using shared bikes, e-scooters, car clubs and with links to public transport. A pilot in the Black Country of 3 mobility hubs will begin in Spring 2023, this will extend to 3 hub networks from 2024, launching 40 individual hubs by 2027.

Local authorities have been getting on board to support the provision of space for the initial mobility hub pilots. We either need to take over some parking spaces or unused space elsewhere. Previous relationships built for Swift and other projects will be important for arranging the different services to all be available at one point. There may also be the need for police to support these hubs, to keep them free of vandalism and crime.

As the pilot develops, it will be key to learn lessons from it. For example: What sort of journeys are people using them for? (this could define where new mobility hubs are placed) Which modes of transport are most used? (this could convince us to put in more of that transport, or find a way to encourage people to the less popular modes) Do people use the community spaces? (so we know whether to include them at all, or what they will include).

Very Light Rail (VLR)

‘Very Light Rail’ is a tram system with lighter trains and shallower tracks, meaning more people can be carried for less money than a conventional tram system. The key advantage is that utility lines under roads do not need to be pulled up to make space for the rail lines. The VLR system is battery powered, so no need for overhead lines.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Provides many of the advantages of a tram system for around 1/5 of the cost of a regular tram system. Trams have a proven record of getting people to use their cars less.

Still more expensive than a bus service and may not provide many more benefits

If a system is successful here, it could provide the blueprint to be exported throughout smaller cities in the UK, or even abroad

Not clear exactly which sort of area would be best for, we are yet to see how successful it will be in Coventry

There have been numerous attempts to create a feasible Very Light Rail system in the past, but so far they have not been successful. While there are positive signs from the new Coventry project, it is still a way from proving feasibility. This means that money could be a problem, if the demand in Coventry is not enough. The research is being funded by CRSTS, but for an ongoing VLR system to be sustained, it will need to be economically viable itself, so will need high ridership.

As the technology is not finished, there a still a number of unanswered questions, which may be answered when the technology is able to be tested in the real world. How will safety be dealt with if the vehicles are much lighter than trams? Will they have the same comfort/speed benefits that conventional tram systems benefit from, despite being smaller and lighter?

The technology for this VLR system is still being tested. Previous systems have been created (such as the Parry People Mover) but nothing has been picked up yet. The project between WMG and Coventry City Council is being developed at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley. When the testing is complete, a pilot service will be conducted in Coventry City Centre.

The current research in Dudley has been supported by a collection of government grants, TfWM funds, Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as the local authorities. These relationships help new projects to start somewhere. The Coventry pilot is mostly led by Coventry City Council, but TfWM is supporting and will want to support more if it takes a more significant role.

We will support the development of the Coventry Very Light Rail pilot and encourage it to meet the broader aims of the Combined Authority. West Midlands Metro are supporting with their existing knowledge on running a conventional tram system, giving expert guidance to change the practices for the new system.

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Demand Responsive Transport (DRT)

“Demand responsive transport (DRT) is a flexible service that provides shared transport to users who specify their desired location and time of pick-up and drop-off” (DfT)

Service operators have no fixed route or timetables, the route is determined by demand. A system seeks to aggregate riders together on travel corridors, using guideline parameters to determine journey deviations, times etc.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Gives more flexibility to people, and allows public transport to compete with more convenient modes, such as Uber

If it is over-used it could threaten ordinary public transport – it could change the expectations

System parameters allow for tailored customer experiences and journeys. Allows for less mobile people to get a bus from somewhere closer than a bus stop might be

If it focuses on using a smartphone app or complicated system, this could exclude the very people who need it the most

Provides coverage without density, thus a cost effective way of providing access

One challenge is around the feasibility of funding these projects. This is a particular issue because bus companies cannot apply for bus licenses for all vehicle sizes. This means that often a full minibus must be sent out for just a few passengers, whereas it would be much cheaper (and more sustainable) to send out a small taxi for a small number of passengers. Another issue is how to measure the value of this new service. Using conventional standards, it would unlikely be commercially viable. As passengers are charged for distance, more passengers can often mean shorter journey, so not much more money.

How successful this would be in different areas from those already trialled is unknown. There is a difference between areas surrounding a key centre like the University of Warwick, which has a constant number of people wanting to travel there. The travellers to the University of Warwick are also generally younger and competent with new technology. As it develops in areas with a more general population, it is not clear how much this will match up with previous bus demand. This will also define its value-for-money.

The supported bus travel from Covid-affected times is being phased out, so there is less money to keep all of the bus routes going. To support the areas losing bus services, a DRT solution is being planned. Successful trials have taken place around the University of Warwick and Coventry city centre. In the last 3-4 years, technology has advanced in this area, particularly around predictive algorithms to match people to routes.

Where supporting conventional bus services cross with Ring & Ride. As this is an existing service, there would be opportunity for these two to join together and produce a more effective, more affordable service.

We are looking to encourage the continued expansion of DRT in the West Midlands, particularly in the areas which are losing conventional bus services. We are also looking at how costs can be saved by linking services together, using smaller vehicles etc.


“Micromobility is a term used to define types of vehicles that are small and can transport people or goods. They include scooters, cycles, skateboards, hoverboards and even segways. They come in many forms including those powered by electric motors and those powered by people.” (Sustrans)

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Micromobility methods are often active, always more active and more sustainable than a car

There is evidence that powered micromobility (particularly e-scooters) may principally replace walking and not driving, which does not solve many problems

Micromobility vehicles can be safer than cars, as they are smaller and slower, so less likely to cause serious injury

Without appropriate infrastructure in place (e.g., cycle lanes), micromobility can be dangerous if used on pavements

As private e-scooters have not yet been legalised on public roads, the market is unregulated. This can result in over-powered e-scooters with varying modifications

The current regulation to allow shared e-scooter trials but not private e-scooters has resulted in somewhat of an unregulated market. Because no private e-scooters are legal on the roads, shops can sell any different type, some of which are safer than others. This could cause problems when e-scooters are legalised, as many of these less safe scooters will still be in use.

The key uncertainty is what the government will legalise if/when the Transport Bill is passed and contains measures on private e-scooters. What sort of power these new models have, as well as specification on the size/weight and type of vehicle is unclear. It may be that the legislation specifies a certain weight which makes e-scooters impractical to take on public transport. The legislation may create a new class which is useful for last-mile freight delivery and they may become extremely popular for delivery companies. It will then have a knock-on effect for shared micromobility- private e-scooters may make shared micromobility redundant, or it may increase usage as people get used to the new way to travel.

Battery technology has allowed e-scooters to become light enough to be practical, so have grown as a market. The government has allowed shared e-scooter trials to take place in certain cities, one of which is Birmingham. The current shared e-scooter trial is with Voi. There is an expectation that the government will legalise private e-scooters to be used on roads and cycle paths when the new Transport Bill is brought to Parliament, potentially in 2023.

The initial trial period with Voi is coming to an end but is being renegotiated for the next few months. This ongoing relationship will come into play as micromobility is a central part of new digital and physical infrastructure: notably MaaS and Mobility Hubs. We will also need to consider new cycle lanes and particular areas for micromobility to use, to keep them away from larger vehicles, but also to keep pedestrians safer.

As e-scooters are already in use and are likely to be legalised, it is important to be ready to make space for micromobility. A key part of that will be in the development of MaaS and Mobility Hubs, giving people the option of travelling using micromobility.


Drones, or ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs) are flying vehicles that a human is not piloting from the inside. Currently legislation states that they must be piloted within visual line of sight (VLOS), however trials are in place to allow drones to be piloted beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) or even automated. They can be used for enhancing the current fixed ground based CCTV network or for delivering cargo.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

Allows for quick and easy aerial view of traffic problems, saving time and money as people do not need to make their way to the incident

Too many drones in the sky completing various different tasks could cause excessive noise pollution and move traffic from the roads to the sky

Could allow for quick deployment of important cargo without waiting on ground traffic, such as organs for transplant

The public may not be happy with drone cameras, there may be the sense of it infringing upon rights to privacy

The current legislation is that drones must be flown within VLOS, which is a key limitation to slowing wide-scale use of drones. However as this is likely to change, we are beginning the training of staff at with VLOS drone flying, with the expectation to develop to BVLOS in the future. GDPR and other data regulation could be considered as a barrier, as it only allows surveillance where there is a legitimate reason, however that would more be considered a control on one of the potential threats.

There is some uncertainty about how the regulation will develop, particularly regarding automated drones. There may be large-scale infrastructure for this across the country, or it could be seen as a niche project. Another unknown is how the public will react. It is possible that the use of drones being seen as surveillance could cause unrest in the public, putting whole projects at risk.

Drone technology and automation technology have both been developing over recent years to come to a point where it is feasible for networks of drones to be working for cargo companies and enhancing the current fixed ground based CCTV network soon. Drone pilots are being trained within TfWM to begin using drones to help the management of certain transport incidents. These drones will come under the same scrutiny as the fixed CCTV camera network, to comply with the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner Codes of Practice. Project Skyway is an automated drone infrastructure project, trialling automated drones at certain locations, including Coventry. Current BVLOS trials involve moving medical supplies between two hospitals.

The Regional Transport Co-Ordination Centre (RTCC) is a key local asset which will support this development. The pre-existing CCTV infrastructure which keeps a watch on much of the transport system across the West Midlands means that the drones will just have to fit within it. Relationships with the police and other organisations is also a key factor in this early development. This means that some resources can be combined, rather than groups reproducing the same technology.

Transparency will be key to avoiding some of the threats posed by drones. Under the current plans, drones will only be sent out to deal with individual incidents, not patrolling the streets, and there are suggestions that the drone use will be livestreamed. This will allow people to see what the purpose of these drones is and will also show that it is not being used outside of the strict purpose. Another key factor is the plan for the TfWM drone system to be shared with other organisations, such as local authorities and the police. This should result in fewer drones in the sky, so should not be oppressive.

Connected and Autonomous Mobility (CAM)

Connected and automated mobility (CAM) covers the range of different vehicles (for private use, freight or passenger service) which do not need constant human driving. Currently there is still the requirement for a human to be paying attention and ready to take over if anything goes wrong, but that is planned to change. Connected vehicles communicate with each other, to allow the transport system to run more smoothly.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

There is the potential for CAM to eliminate much of the human error from driving, so could be safer than human drivers

There is the potential that encouragement of CAM will encourage people to use individual vehicles for short journeys, rather than public transport or active travel

Cutting out the cost of drivers, or allowing drivers to complete other tasks during the course of a journey could mean public transport projects are more affordable, and could make a number of projects economically feasible which otherwise wouldn’t be

CAM success relies on the public interacting with it safely. There is the chance that the public will not interact safely, thus removing much of the safety benefit

The technology is still being developed, so while tests have been successful and plans are in place for their use in 2025, this is still dependent on the development over the next few years. Any high profile incidents could also significantly derail any progress.

The exact nature of automated public transport is still unknown and when it will be allowed on roads. The government has funded some trials to examine the feasibility of automated public transport, so this should shed some light when results are released. Exactly how the private sector uses CAM is also unsure. Whether it will be mostly freight, or private car use, or car hire.

Government is planning to introduce self-driving vehicles onto UK roads by 2025. A recent consultation, in which TfWM participated, took place around the safety expectations. The government’s current expectation is for self-driving vehicles to be as safe as a competent and careful human driver. TfWM has been a part of numerous local trials including: SPACES – a project focused on furthering the development of introducing Autonomous Vehicles into real-world use cases, tested in Warwick University, and SINFONICA – a project which moves away from the technical aspect and addresses the important question of public perception and acceptance of Autonomous Vehicles.

We have received much funding locally for CAM testing, helping the West Midlands to become a key central actor in the development of CAM technology in the UK. Of particular use is the ‘Midlands Future Mobility’ project, one of the UK’s most ambitious testing facilities utilising over 200 miles of live urban, inter-urban and rural roads.

Continuing to support current CAM projects with the West Midlands is key to encouraging this area as a hotbed for this new technology. We will also engage with the government in any future consultations on what CAM will practically look like. A key point will be to consider how we can use CAM technology in public transport in the West Midlands, so we can take advantage of it to provide a better service, as soon as it is allowed on UK roads.

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Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV)

Zero Emission Vehicles are those (electric, hydrogen or other) which have no immediate emission of harmful gases out of the tailpipe. Also worth mentioning are Ultra  Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) which is defined as those vehicles which emit 75gm/km or lower CO2 levels.

Key Opportunities

Potential Threats

The key opportunity is that ZEVs help to decarbonise, as they do not have petrol burning higher gases into the local air and the atmosphere

If we focus on ZEVs rather than public transport and active travel, we can forget some of the other key advantages of behaviour change away from cars: health benefits of moving more, the fact that ZEVs still use a lot of energy, other modes can be safer, the less road traffic the more pleasant the environment

While electric cars are becoming more and more popular, other transport is more difficult to make zero-emission. The size of the batteries needed for electric buses makes it particularly expensive, as much higher power is needed in comparison to private cars. Another option is hydrogen; however the storage of hydrogen is complicate and very expensive. If almost every car was to become electric overnight, this would cause massive strain to the national grid, so any developments in ZEV technology must come in line with improvements to provision of electricity.

As the rules come in place for the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, the uncertainty will be how quickly the move to ZEVs will be, particularly if the infrastructure is still keeping up. When people do start using ZEVs, there may be an expectation for charging infrastructure to be largely provided in public spaces, or there may be a significant growth in private charging infrastructure. In order for appropriate provision to be in place, we will want to be on top of this.

In recent years the battery technology has developed for electric vehicles to become a feasible mass-market option. This has resulted in, as of March 2022, there being 480,000 battery electric vehicles registered in the UK and almost 15,000 in the West Midlands (Source). As of August 2022, there are 32,929 electric vehicle public charging devices in the UK, 6,112 of which are classed as ‘rapid devices’ (Source). Coventry has received government funding to become an all-electric bus city. Current government plans are for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to end in 2030 and for the sale of new hybrid cars to end in 2035.

Relationships with bus companies are a key to improving the emissions of the bus fleets, so the constant communication between TfWM and bus companies is an important asset. Infrastructure changes will also be needed to develop charging points. Our road infrastructure is another lever we have to make changes in the local area.

The WMCA is setting out an ULEV strategy which will give the details of our approach to these vehicles becoming predominant on our roads. There exist different models which could be in place for the development of charging infrastructure (who owns the infrastructure and who operates it). TfWM will work with local authorities to help make the right decisions.

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Built and Natural Environmental Responsibility

The LTP has addressed sustainability with regards to tailpipe emissions, behaviour change, inclusive growth and other facets. But the sustainability of the transport system extends beyond the behaviours of transport users; the development, delivery and operation of transport infrastructure and services themselves have impacts on our natural and built environment that need to be considered.  At the same time due to the effects of climate change the environment will increasingly have impact on the transport system with heat and flooding.

Where new or upgraded infrastructure is required, or plans are made for maintenance or operation of the existing transport network, measures will be subject to the appropriate level of assessment by the relevant authority. This will ensure that we understand potential impacts and how these can be best avoided or mitigated or enhanced where beneficial.

The LTP aims to embed sustainability practices into projects from the initial planning stages. Impacts on the natural environment occur throughout a project’s lifecycle, so it is important to be proactive with ensuring our decision making takes these into account as we plan, deliver, operate (and decommission) the transport system and its component elements.

Assessments, such as Equalities Impact Assessments, Habitats Regulation Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment will be used to identify more sustainable actions. However, sustainability should already be a consideration as set out in this section.

In developing transport policies and programmes there are a number of stages where the impacts of should be considered.


TfWM and its partners will take its environmental responsibilities seriously, including adopting PAS2080 standards to minimise embodied carbon emissions from new transport infrastructure, and meeting or exceeding statutory requirements with respect to Clean Air, Biodiversity Net Gain and conservation of heritage assets.  We will place a strong emphasis on avoiding, mitigating and enhancing environmental impacts at all stages of developing and delivering transport improvements.

TfWM and partners will ensure that assessments such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Equalities Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment, Habitats Regulation Assessment are carried out to understand and mitigate the impact of transport policies and programmes.

The release into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2, CH4, N2O, O3) resulting from fossil fuel usage, agriculture, land use change, infrastructure development and other human activities has been linked with atmospheric warming and global climate change. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, along with more frequent extreme weather events, create the situation where a greater degree of resilience will have to be incorporated into plans and proposals.

As noted by the Committee for Climate Change, domestic transport emissions of road transport account for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with the use of cars being the single greatest user of fuel. Emissions associated with the West Midland’s transport sector amount to around 36% of the area’s total emissions. Despite improvements to engines, transport emissions have remained stubbornly high for the last 30 years, largely because of increased travel demand associated with economic and population growth, increased car ownership and the increasing weight and power of the cars we drive.

Transport's contribution’s also come from the construction of transport infrastructure which embeds carbon in the materials, buildings, and structures. The emissions from maintenance of the existing network are at least as significant as new build emissions. One solution is to use construction materials that utilise more sustainably sourced materials and thus less carbon.  Often sustainable materials present higher costs for a project, but factoring in circular economy and resource conservation practices early on in the project lifecycle should yield a more cost effective use of transport infrastructure.

At present, fossil fuel dependency remains high and is likely to remain so for some time (even with a marked, albeit potentially temporary, decline due to Covid-19), though in recent years there have been improvements in vehicle efficiency and an increasing uptake of and provision for ultra low and zero emission vehicles (ULEV and ZEVs).

The UK has signed the Paris Agreement and is committed to global efforts to prevent this environmental breakdown by reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 . WMCA is committed to these efforts and has adopted its own WM2041 carbon ambition. Critically this strategy, along with the declaration of a climate emergency, commits the West Midlands to becoming ‘Net Zero Carbon’ by 2041 at the latest. Some of the West Midlands local authorities have ambitions to decarbonise faster.

Nevertheless, some degree of climate change will occur, with the UK’s Climate Projections showing that the UK as a whole is likely to experience hotter, drier summers, warmer, wetter winters and rising sea levels. This is likely to have a significant effect on a range of environmental conditions, including the water environment. 

Given the critical role transport plays in climate change Government expect LTPs to demonstrate how they support reducing carbon emission and contribute to the Government’s commitment to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Transport Decarbonisation Plan set out a commitment to drive decarbonisation and transport improvements at a local level by making quantifiable carbon reductions a fundamental part of local transport planning and funding.

As part of new LTP guidance, the Government has set out how it expects LTPs to understand and demonstrate the carbon impacts of their LTPs, allowing them to make evidence-based decisions at an early stage in the process. Policies and measures will need to seek to minimise carbon emissions and embedded carbon. This should include consideration of ‘whole life’ carbon i.e. through to the decommissioning phase.

Government expects LTPs to take a whole-life carbon approach. Whole-life carbon is the full carbon impact of a transport intervention across the project lifecycle (cradle to grave) and thereby represents its full contribution to climate change. This includes infrastructure related emissions that may be accounted for at a national level under sectors such as industry as well as transport. Considering whole-life carbon is necessary to support decarbonisation of the economy as a whole.


We will ensure that measures contribute towards meeting national and local emissions targets. Through the LTP and Area Strategies the region will embed the Government’s guidance on carbon reduction quantification to provide evidence on the impacts of the LTP to deliver decarbonisation of the region’s transport system.

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Local Pollution

Air quality is key to the health of humans and ecosystems and up to 1500 people die prematurely from illnesses related to poor air quality in the West Midlands each year. The Environment Act (1995) and subsequently the 2021 Act requires local authorities to identify Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) where current or future air quality is unlikely to meet national air quality objectives, and to develop Air Quality Action Plans to tackle poor air quality in these areas.

There are 6 AQMAs across the region and Ministerial Directions were issued to the West Midlands with regard to tackling Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and achieving compliance with legal limits within the shortest possible time. This resulted in a number of targeted measures being introduced in the region including Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone.

The two key pollutants are Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5). NO2 is mostly a localised pollution from road transport, whilst PM2.5 has a wider range of sources and disperses more widely and is a more regional level problem by nature. However, road transport is a relatively small contributor to PM2.5 pollution in the West Midlands but at 20% of all PM2.5 emissions is still higher than the national average (12.5%). New targets in the Environment Act 2021 have been set for PM2.5:

  • Annual Mean Concentration Target for PM2.5 levels in England of10 µgm-3 or below by 2040.
  • A Population Exposure Reduction Target for a reduction in PM2.5 population exposure of 35% compared to 2018 to be achieved by 2040

WMCA has concurrent powers with the local authorities on air quality and is working closely with them to develop a more collaborative regional approach to the issue. A new West Midlands Air Quality Framework will be published and the region is working with the University of Birmingham on its WM Air project to look at how to improve monitoring and developing responses to air quality issues in the region. Actions across the Big Moves will deliver improvements in air quality. The WM Air Quality Framework and collaboration on the WM Air project will continue to inform and shape transport policy & strategy and the delivery of the LTP to help address transport derived air quality issues.


WMCA and local authorities will ensure that where appropriate, air quality impacts of projects and schemes are fully assessed for human and public health, in line with best practice. In addition, schemes must be designed with air quality in mind.  

WMCA will develop a regional Air Quality Framework to ensure air quality is improved across the region and that air quality impacts and opportunities are considered for all new transport schemes and other development projects.

Noise from running vehicle engines and road surfaces can be a key concern in many areas. There’s no legal limit to road noise, however there are standards with regard to road surface noise and also vehicle noise. Noise levels might be taken into account when new roads or houses and offices near roads are planned. In the event that new roads are planned local highway authorities assess how the noise at will change when the road opens.

Through the Environmental Noise Directive the impact of environmental noise is considered through strategic noise mapping and the preparation and implementation of noise Action Plans. In particular the Environmental Noise Directive requires local authorities to:

  • Create strategic noise maps which estimate people’s exposure to environmental noise from road, rail and aviation.
  • Adopt action plans based on the results of noise mapping data, which are designed to manage environmental noise and its effects, including noise reduction if relevant.
  • Preserve environmental noise quality where it is good, particularly in urban areas.
  • Provide information to the public on environmental noise and its effects.

Measures in this LTP seek to support a shift to more sustainable forms of travel and reduce the amount of traffic having positive impacts on noise.

Increased urbanisation (including transport) can result in light pollution and affect environmental quality across the region. As would be expected, the least tranquil areas are those closest to urban centres and major transport routes. from street lights on motorways and roads, headlights from cars and trains, and lights at stations. This disrupts natural darkness in the city and can affect humans and wildlife. New and innovative interventions and approaches can reduce pollution energy consumption in lighting columns. New transport schemes can result in new lighting being introduced. Through the planning and development process of schemes it will be necessary to ensure that the impact of light pollution from artificial light on local amenities, intrinsically dark landscapes and nature conservation is limited.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils. The region is geodiverse reflected by the designation of a ‘Geopark’ in the region.

The approach in this LTP seeks to minimise the amount of new infrastructure required for transport in the region and reduce the harmful impacts of transport. In addition support for brownfield first for new development will also help to reduce the impacts of transport on soils. Run-off from transport infrastructure can affect soil quality. It can also contribute to soil erosion. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) not only help with reducing flood risk, they also help soil loss by limiting run off from a construction site.

The NPPF sets out that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment. There are considerable pressures on water resources with resulting major impacts on many of the waterbodies across the UK. Preventing new and existing development and infrastructure from contributing to, being put at unacceptable risk from, or being adversely affected by water pollution development should, wherever possible, help to improve local environmental conditions such as air and water quality, taking into account relevant information such as river basin management plans.

Rain water that runs off roads, car parks, industrial areas, contaminated land, pavements and roofs carries pollutants into the water environment. These pollutants include a variety of chemicals, metals, plastics (micro and litter), oils and lubricants, sediment, nutrients and pathogens. ‘First flush’ events can have a significant effect on water quality. This is when intense rainfall following an extended dry period washes a large amount of contaminants from hard standing areas into local water bodies.

Green infrastructure as part of new development and infrastructure can avoid adverse impacts on the water environment. Seeking betterment, for example through reducing the risk of flooding, remediating contaminated land and reducing pollution also improves the environment. Contributions from developers can help achieve environmental benefits such as flood risk infrastructure. The LTP will need to seek to prevent pollution of water bodies (including groundwater) both during the construction and operation of any transport intervention. This could be achieved via the appropriate use of SuDS or other appropriate measures and new approaches in road drainage design / transport interventions to enhance water quality and reduce pollution and flood risk.


WMCA and local authorities will ensure that these issues are considered using the appropriate processes and tools at each stage of the planning and transport planning process.

The transport network needs to be planned and managed in a way that will allow it to be resilient to impacts from a changing climate, now and in the future.

Flooding is already occurring more frequently in the UK and is only likely to increase. Transport infrastructure needs to be resilient to these environmental pressures. Floods could cause huge economic losses, not to mention the cascading impact on other infrastructure. They pose a risk to both life and property. At the same time higher temperatures also pose a significant risk to people, vehicles and infrastructure.

Transport infrastructure also shouldn't make flooding or water quality worse and should seek to consider how heat can be managed within the urban environment. There is risk of run-off from construction sites polluting nearby water sources and impermeable surfaces increasing floods. Even infrastructure for active travel modes, such as bike lanes contribute to the amount of impermeable surfaces in an urban environment.

Heat will also be an increasing issue for transport in the future. Key issues related to heat are likely to be:

  • disruption to network infrastructure - road melt, power failure, embankment failure
  • people's inability to use infrastructure e.g. due to lack of shading on cycle networks.
  • integration across transport providers to ensure systems of resilience are connected e.g. failure of rail network due to overheating failure / flood event could place significant dependency on an already stressed bus network.
  • transport infrastructure also interdependent on wider infrastructure resilience - utilities (buried and overhead) so resilience is part of wider conversation.

Transport policies, Infrastructure projects and urban design should promote local biodiversity and access to green and blue spaces for residents, energy saving, water conservation, improvements in surface water run-off and provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), in both new schemes and retrofitting of existing schemes. These promote adaptation to climate change, as well as nature-based infrastructure solutions.

Run-off from transport infrastructure can affect soil quality. It can also contribute to soil erosion. SuDS not only help with reducing flood risk, it also helps soil loss by limiting run off from a construction site.

Protection for soil quality is not just about avoiding polluting the soil, but also retaining soil levels and reclaiming contaminated land.

Schemes need to be designed to be future proofed to changes we are likely to ensure they are resilient and still operate as the climate changes. We should use our transport infrastructure to improve and increase resilience beyond our network i.e. we start to buffer effects of heat and flooding for communities.

WMCA published its Climate Change Impacts report in 2022. This  provides a high-level summary of the climate change scenarios, likely impacts to people, infrastructure and the natural environment and prioritised risks across the WMCA area.


WMCA and local authorities will ensure that transport policies, infrastructure projects and urban design should promote local biodiversity and access to green and blue spaces for residents, energy saving, water conservation, improvements in surface water run-off and provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), in both new schemes and retrofitting of existing schemes.

WMCA and partners will ensure that the transport network is planned and managed in a way that will allow it to be resilient to impacts from a changing climate, now and in the future.

The West Midlands has a proud historic building tradition and these assets must be protected. New transport infrastructure needs to be sympathetic of the heritage and character of neighbourhoods. There is a risk for infrastructure to damage assets and weaken character. It should instead enhance and compliment the historic urban environment. Conservation areas already set out local neighbourhood design standards that should be adhered to.

Carefully considering conservation and enhancement of heritage assets and their settings, will help contribute to their significance and sense of place. Considering these aspects in how we design and develop our transport networks, will then help deliver positive benefits which can only help to sustain and enhance the historic and built environments.

Each of the local authorities within the West Midlands Metropolitan 7 have undertaken townscape or urban character studies as part of the work to inform the development of their Local Plans. In a number of cases that work has been captured in supplementary guidance, which provides advice on the standards that should be observed in the design of new development within different character areas.  

The transport system itself is also an important feature of the built environment and contributes to city heritage and character. Historic transport features should also be preserved.

Transport has a large footprint that can encroach on rural environments. Green belt policies aim to limit this, but infrastructure planning should consider its footprint from the outset. WMCA and this LTP promote a Brownfield Land First development policy. This places a priority on developing previous industrial and brownfield sites before green belt or other undeveloped land.

Any transport scheme should integrate elements of conservation and enhancement of heritage assets and their settings, which all contribute to their significance and sense of place. This way, we are delivering positive benefits that sustain and enhance the historic environments.

The LTP should aim to protect and preserve designated and non-designated heritage assets and their contexts and settings.  Transport related development / infrastructure should be sensitively designed to be sympathetic to its existing character, and quality and opportunities for improving settings should be examined. Better accessibility to the historic environment should also be an aim for the  LTP, where appropriate.  Where schemes would involve physical development that could affect previously undiscovered archaeological assets the design of the scheme and site selection should be informed by early investigation of the potential archaeological interest of the affected land.  


WMCA will pursue a Brownfield Land first policy but ensure that development acknowledges brownfield land’s biodiversity.

Transport scheme should integrate elements of conservation and enhancement of heritage assets and their settings, which all contribute to their significance and sense of place.


Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in a given environment. Across the West Midlands there are a range of areas of biodiversity value, including those designated at the highest levels for nature conservation. In addition there are also areas known for their geodiversity – reflected by the designation of a ‘Geopark’ in the region.

Development of transport infrastructure could lead to direct loss of habitat or both direct and indirect disturbance of species and habitats. Thus, councils are adopting biodiversity net gain initiatives to leave that natural environment in a measurably better state than before it was developed. 

The West Midlands has multiple SSSI's and natural sites that need protecting, not just from transport but from urban expansion as a whole. The Local Nature Recovery Strategy Network will identify these sites and actions that can be taken to preserve them. 

Landscape-scale approaches are important for biodiversity. They look at biodiversity corridors, identifying large interconnected landscapes that need to be preserved. They also view habitats as diverse in environment and species make-up, rather than monocultured. Brownfield land, in particular, represents a unique and biodiverse habitat that requires some level of protection.

Transport measures should develop infrastructure which enhances the natural environment or mitigates adverse effects. They should also recognise the role of green and blue infrastructure in high quality places for people to live in and spend time in.

Types of Green Infrastructure interventions include:

  • Wildlife corridors that help animal populations connect across human made boundaries, stay protected, and maintain strong population levels.
  • Incorporating tree-lined streets into the finished design for every West Midlands transport scheme.
  • Green rail tracks mitigate storm water issues, reduce noise and beautify their integration into the urban landscape.

Biodiversity Net Gain will be a legal requirement from November 2023. and requires an approach to development, and/or land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand.


WMCA will ensure that transport measures that require infrastructure also enhances the natural environment or mitigates adverse effects. They should also recognise the role of green and blue infrastructure in high quality places for people to live in and spend time in.

WMCA will ensure that transport measures that require infrastructure also enhances the natural environment or mitigates adverse effects. They should also recognise the role of green and blue infrastructure in high quality places for people to live in and spend time in. This will include consideration of Biodiversity Net Gain (10% is the minimum) and this will be incorporated into transport schemes.

This is the concept of reducing waste and recycling materials in production and consumption. Reduction in the amount of materials used and disposed of is also important.

The CA and local authorities can include sustainability standards in procurement practices to prioritise companies that engage in the circular economy.

How far the materials have to travel to reach the site, how far they have to travel to be disposed of, and how efficiently their disposed of also determines their environmental impact.

Measures brought forward through the LTP should promote prudent use of finite natural resources from primary sources, maximise the use of alternative, secondary and recycled materials, reduce the level of waste generated. A shift to more sustainable and efficient forms of travel will have a significant impact and help to reduce the need for raw materials for vehicles and infrastructure as well as on energy demands. 

Circular Manufacturing in the West Midlands will focus specifically on growing the clean tech sector, particularly to support the decarbonisation of the transport sector. This presents one of the biggest opportunities for the region since the West Midlands is already a leader in vehicle manufacturing and battery technologies, and a £2.5 billion Gigafactory is being planned in Coventry.

Sterilisation of mineral resources can be an issue as a result of new development and transport infrastructure. The West Midlands has a geology that presents opportunities for the working of a range of mineral resources, including aggregate minerals (e.g. sands, gravels), industrial minerals (e.g. silica sands, brick clay) and of course coal and other hydrocarbons. There are still some active sites extracting brick clay though in the black country, and sand and gravel extraction still goes on in Solihull and Coventry.


WMCA and local authorities will seek to ensure that measures brought forward through the LTP promote prudent use of finite natural resources from primary sources, maximise the use of alternative, secondary and recycled materials, reduce the level of waste generated.  

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