Active travel, improved public transport and reduced journey times are at the heart of Mayor Dan Jarvis’ new Transport Vision.

The vision, launched at a meeting of the Mayoral Combined Authority held in Rotherham, aims to build a transport system that works for everyone.

Mayor Jarvis said: “Our current transport system in the Sheffield City Region is not fit for the 21st century and, if we don’t take action, it’s not going to improve.

“Since my election in May I have made improving our transport system central to my mission. For too long, local politicians have been trying to run public transport with one hand tied behind their back; relying on limited resources, persuasion and partnership to get things done.

“Through my Mayoralty we now have a clear vision and new leadership and I am leading from the front.”

The transport vision, to be followed by a detailed strategy, outlines how transport connections to destinations across the region must be improved. The vision sets out that:

  • Residents should be able to walk, cycle, drive or use public transport from their home to their nearest town centre in no more than 15 minutes.
  • By using public or private transport, people should be able to travel between the region’s major town and city centres of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield in no more than 30 minutes.
  • Journey times to at least four major cities in the North, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Hull, will take no more than 75 minutes.

Projections show that by 2026 there will be an extra 500,000 journeys on our transport system.  Without decisive action now, congestion will get worse, more people will choose to stay out of our town and cities, businesses won’t invest or grow and hotspots of poor air quality won’t improve.

Mayor Jarvis added: “This transport vision is not just a document that will sit on a shelf gathering dust. It will bring real, tangible changes for all those who live, work and visit the Sheffield City Region.

“We need to encourage more people to travel in a more active way, but also make infrastructure changes that enable them to do so. To ensure that our plans for active travel are the best they can be, I asked Professor Steve Haake to look at evidence and examples of international good practice. He will report back in early 2019. By making little changes we can become a healthier and more active society.”

At the same Mayoral Combined Authority meeting a proposal to improve the way important decisions are made about issues such as local transport, but also skills, business growth, housing and infrastructure was agreed. These changes are expected to further improve the accountability of decisions being made by the Authority and enable the Mayor to take a more direct leadership role on transport issues.

Rotherham Council Leader Cllr Chris Read said: “We welcome a joined up transport system which should lead to better access to jobs, training and opportunities right across the region. This vision shows support for a system which enables much easier connections by tram, trains, buses and other transport means. We look forward to seeing a final strategy being delivered for the region.”

Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive at Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce said; “These are ambitious plans for the region and certainly address many of the issues that have challenged our own Transport Forum over many years. We look forward to working closely with the mayor and can assure him that he will continue to receive our full support.”

Chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), Robert Hough said: “Our transport system and our economic growth are bound closely together.  We welcome this Vision which in particular recognises the better we connect our key economic centres such as DSA, the faster we can deliver more growth and make a positive impact on people’s lives.

“DSA as the City Region’s international gateway already contributes £62m of GVA, over 1,000 jobs, 55 routes including long haul and a thriving cargo operation.  Interventions identified in this Vision can significantly support our growth which is of a national scale. An East Coast Mainline rail link would make us one of the best connected airports in the UK, attracting investment to the City Region and beyond.

“This clear set of priorities for the City Region is welcome and collectively we must use this important Vision set out by the Mayor to make the case for what’s needed for delivery.”