WSP appointed to take forward transformational plans to upgrade bus infrastructure across Leeds

The Leeds office of global professional services and engineering consultancy WSP has been appointed by Leeds City Council as the development partner to take forward plans to transform the city’s bus infrastructure as part of its Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP).

As development partner, WSP will progress existing concepts developed by the Council that set out how the Government-allocated £173.5m, which is earmarked for public transport projects in the city, should be spent. The Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) submitted a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) to the DfT to secure the funding which was approved in April 2017. The £173.5m is likely to be supplemented with private sector investment, worth circa £100m. The DfT has stated that schemes to be delivered from the £173.5m must be substantially complete by 2020/21.

WSP will provide a range of consultancy and engineering services to ensure the programme is developed and delivered on time. These include scheme identification and selection; feasibility and preliminary design and supporting the council’s Leeds transport strategy team on the detailed engagement with the public and stakeholders on the emerging scheme proposals.

The team will put together an Outline Business Case submission and offer project and programme support and planning application submissions where required, for:

  • Significant bus network improvements across five key corridors including the A61/A639 South; A61 North: A660; A58 North East corridor and A647
  • Creating 21st century ‘gateways’ in the city centre via new transport interchanges including Vicar Lane, The Headrow and Infirmary Street and measures to improve bus transit through the city centre.
  • WSP’s commission will contribute to the overall programme which also contains major proposals including:
  • A new Leeds High Frequency Bus Network with over 90% of core bus services that will run every 10 minutes between 7am and 8pm
  • Additional investment by First Group to provide 284 new, environmentally clean buses with free wi-fi and contact-less payments which will achieve close to a 90% reduction in NOx emissions by 2020
  • 2,000 additional park and ride spaces with the first new site opening at Stourton
  • 1,000 additional bus stops provided with real time information

Commented Adrian Hames, director at WSP:

“This is a significant win for WSP as it brings together public and private sector clients to deliver a major infrastructure project. We will harness our experience on a range of transport schemes, which includes our role as delivery partner on the TfGM Metrolink extension, and our detailed local knowledge to support the council throughout the lifecycle of the project from advisory through to delivery.”

“In light of the Transport Secretary’s recent call to action for the North to ‘take control’ of transport improvements, this is a great example of Leeds taking the lead to deliver a major step change in the quality of its public transport system. It will also play a vital role in better connecting the city in advance of other major infrastructure upgrades across the North including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

Adrian Kemp, director at WSP in Leeds, added:

“WSP has been a longstanding ambassador of the ambitious plans presented by the city and wider city region. In February 2017, we hosted an event, ‘Transport and Infrastructure: What’s Next for Leeds?’ in which senior Leeds representatives including Leader of LCC, Cllr Judith Blake and Chief Executive, Tom Riordan, joined WSP to promote opportunities for transport investment. We have now provided the Council with a team that has the expertise to develop a city-wide bus transport system that is supportive of Leeds’s ambition of becoming the best city in UK.”

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“We are very pleased to be working with WSP to develop our plans to significantly upgrade the bus network serving Leeds and the surrounding areas. Bus travel has a key role to play in our ambitious new Leeds transport strategy, and we have set the target of doubling bus passenger numbers in Leeds in the next 10 years which is achievable if we all work together to deliver the best public transport network possible.”

LCC will appoint a deliver partner by spring 2018.

WSP, which employs more than 440 staff in Leeds, has provided engineering and consultancy services for a number of major transport schemes across the UK including the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) Sprint programme – a bus-based rapid transit mode which is part of the vision for the future network of world class public transport in the West Midlands.