A NEW blueprint that aims to guide development in the region to help tackle traffic congestion and meet the challenges of the climate crisis is to be presented to West Midlands Combined Authority this week.

The Local Transport Plan Core Strategy – called Reimaging Transport in the West Midlands - has been drawn up after two years of development and consultation.

The plan sets out the aim of providing convenient and affordable transport services and infrastructure so local amenities are within a 15-minute trip by walking, wheeling, cycling or scooting, and that regional facilities and workplaces within 45-minute journey by public or shared transport.

One of its key aims is to design a transport system where private car ownership is not needed in order for people to thrive or enjoy full access to what the region has to offer.

The plan states that only by reducing car mileage will the region meet its #WM2041 climate change target to achieve net-zero carbon within two decades.

The aim is that emerging technology and innovations will play a part, such as on-demand bus services being trialled in Coventry where buses are freed from set routes and timetables and can be booked by people over the phone or through an app.

Smart travel apps are also a key part of the plan – coordinating transport options and finding the lowest fares.

The plan also promotes shared transport such as hire bikes and e-scooters plus digital connectivity to reduce the need to travel - such as through a rise in home working or increase in online appointments.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “This plan sets out how we’re designing neighbourhoods and communities fit for the future – reducing car reliance and making it easier than ever to make more sustainable local journeys.

“Whether it’s 5G, connected vehicles or on demand transport, we’re harnessing new technology and the power of innovation to transform the travel experience for residents right across our region – at the same time as creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency.”

Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio lead for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This plan demonstrates that we cannot go on as we have – doing nothing risks increasing traffic congestion, more pollution and higher costs. It undermines our productivity and ability to attract investment.

“It sets out that while we can design safe, convenient and affordable transport services, we also need people to play their part by changing their behaviour and considering whether they do need to make those car journeys.”

The plan, which will be presented to the WMCA Board on Friday February 10, is the latest stage in the development of the region’s fifth Local Transport Plan which will set the framework for local governance of and investment in transport networks up to at least 2041.

A further round of public engagement on key themes of the plan including behaviour change, public transport and shared mobility, accessible and inclusive places and a green transport revolution is also planned.