Senior councillors on Leeds City Council’s executive board will discuss [22 November] the key planning to underpin the Connecting Leeds transport strategy.
The Connecting Leeds project was created to improve connectivity across the Leeds transport network through improvements to road, rail, bus, park, and ride, cycling and walking services and infrastructure, reducing congestion and improving air quality and accessibility.
Since 2018, there has been £750m in investment into the transport network across the city through the project, in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, bus operators and other transport stakeholders.
A key part of the transport strategy is to increase the use of walking, cycling and public transport, which contributes to carbon reduction by encouraging modal shift away from the private car and supporting inclusive growth by making it easier to access education, employment and public services.
Support for greener transport solutions has been provided by the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme, East Leeds Orbital Route, City Square and associated works, Armley Gyratory, Regent Street flyover and recent launch of Leeds City Bikes.
The Connected Leeds project also closed the City Square to general traffic, transforming the city centre into a pedestrian space and improved the main gateway to the city from the railway station.
Monitoring of city centre travel habits between 2022 and 2023 has shown a 10% reduction in private cars, with public transport, walking and cycling up 45%.
The project is estimated to have saved 3508kg in CO2 emissions, in addition to a 79% increase in electric vehicles (EV), 256% increase in EV charging infrastructure from 2019 – the second highest adoption rate of all UK cities. Passenger numbers at local train stations have also increased by 22% since March 2021.
Susan Hinchcliffe, Leeds City Council executive member for infrastructure and sustainable development, said: “I am delighted and proud to have experienced the completion of many schemes and especially the launch of Leeds City Bikes.
“The removal of general traffic from City Square and reducing traffic in the area is helping to reduce emissions and improve overall air quality in the city centre.
“Our focus for many years to come will increasingly be about how we realise our Leeds Vision Zero ambition that by 2040 no one will be killed or suffer serious injuries on Leeds roads.”
The launch of the Leeds City e-bikes scheme in September, which is the largest of its kind in the UK, was introduced to help more people make the switch to cycling for some of their journeys and to take advantage of the infrastructure delivered by the council.
In the first week of operation, 1,200 users covered 375km and made more than 1,600 trips. This rose to 2,649 journeys and covered 7,938km in the first month of operation.
To meet Leeds’ 2030 carbon targets outlined in the transport strategy, the Connected Leeds project is seeking further funding for ongoing maintenance and to deliver new key infrastructure programmes to encourage a significant mode shift to active travel and public transport.
Achievements in active travel and sustainable mobility will be celebrated at the second annual CiTTi Awards on 21 November 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector – and to book your table today!