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High heels and excellent education

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On 16 May, the Independent Transport Commission released a ‘major report’ at a ‘major launch’ event held in Leeds with Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin and other high-profile attendees.
www_theitc_org_uk frontpage

[Independent Transport Commission, ‘ITC releases major report on High-Speed Rail’]

High Speed Rail and Connected Cities: Accessible Places for Growing Economies, sets out the regeneration and transport benefits of high-speed rail (HSR), and provides guidance on ways to enhance the process of urban change by maximising the social and economic benefits that stem from developing an integrated transport system.

'High Speed Rail and Connected Cities', Foreword

High heels

[Independent Transport Commission, ‘High Speed Rail and Connected Cities’]
[…]
itc-distinctiveness-of-leedsThe Distinctiveness of Leeds – High Heels, Black Suits and Sneakers

The Leeds and West Yorkshire city region displays a wide variety of economic activities. The financial, insurance, legal, and retail sectors have particularly shaped the image of Leeds, whereas in the wider region 50% of the UK’s manufacturing is within a two-hour drive from Leeds.

In the workshop discussions that the ITC held with various stakeholders in Leeds, it was clear that the real aspiration is to use the HS2 and TransNorth connections as catalysts for generating economic benefits for the whole region. But it was also clear that there should be something to ‘catalyse’. There is a good understanding of the region’s assets, but what was seen to be missing was something binding those assets and translating them into a comprehensive story: the narrative of Leeds City Region based on the past, being told in the present and opening the future.

This narrative for Leeds City Region can form the basis for a long-term city region brand, comparable with the spirit of Yorkshire Cycling stemming from the Grand Départ event of the Tour de France in 2014. In parallel, the narrative can also be a starting point in creating a long-term vision for the city region. It can frame the role of the HS2 station in tandem with the revised Leeds station to create a place of arrival that everyone in the region can be proud of and to which they want to invite people.

An interchange between the interchange

In the Birmingham area, an interchange between the Bickenhill HS2 interchange and classic rail stations would be possible via a ‘travelator’ system (according to the report).

[Independent Transport Commission, ‘High Speed Rail and Connected Cities’]
[…]
Travelator is a people-mover or moving sidewalk, such as those found in airports.

Although the region will be served by two HS2 stations, there are reasons for concern. Without a direct rail link and a cross-platform connection between classic and HSR, excellent passenger information and education will be essential alongside conveniences such as smart and integrated ticketing.

(Birmingham airport and Bickenhill interchange would be about 2 km apart, and travelators run at speeds around 0.4, 0.65 and 1 m/sec.)

In central Birmingham, it is hard to see how ‘excellent passenger information and education’ would be a solution to the problem of separate stations. Because, after all the excellent education in the world, HS2 travellers would still face a transfer of several hundred yards, on the public highway. Perhaps screen-based ‘excellent hypnosis’, delivered at-seat on HS2 trains, could make passengers think “There is no walk“, “This connectivity is excellent“, etc.

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Written by beleben

May 17, 2016 at 10:19 am

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