Posted: 29 Jul. 2021 5 min. read

Birmingham’s future mobility dependent on a sustainable transport network

As the city sets out its ambitious plans to become a net-zero region by 2041, improvements to infrastructure and adopting transport that is more reliable, accessible and affordable will improve Birmingham’s mobility, according to new research from Deloitte.

The Deloitte City Mobility Index (DMCI) reviews major cities and gauges global readiness for the future of mobility across three broad themes: performance; policy and practicality. By looking at smart urban mobility, it offers a way for city officials to evaluate the health of their systems and assess the rapid changes in how people move around.

In this year’s update, Birmingham is one of 10 European cities, including London, Manchester, Brussels, Dublin and Rome.

Many long-held conventions about transport are being questioned by major cities, especially how you create and sustain foundations such as infrastructure that are safe, sustainable and efficient.

Birmingham’s location makes it a major transportation hub for road and rail networks and will be a key focal point as HS2 draws near. However, according to the research, it is also a city where seventy-five per cent of journeys are currently undertaken by car, a figure we need to significantly reduce going forward.

Birmingham’s DCMI scores indicate that whilst there are still some barriers to its mobility performing as well as cities such as Barcelona and Sydney, there is great energy and ambition in the Midlands with multiple innovative transport initiatives, and a vision to host the first carbon neutral Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games has provided the impetus and considerable investment in pioneering sustainable mobility initiatives. Couple this with the levelling up agenda and we will see a modern, integrated low-emission transport system, which bodes well for the city’s future.

The research also highlights that there have been issues with commuter rail punctuality and the need for investment in the light rail system, both which are already being addressed.

Historically there has been a lack of investment in the region’s travel infrastructure, which inevitably has an impact on the speed of some changes. However, since the appointment of a metro mayor and the ability to allocate funds based on regional need, we have seen a great deal of investment in our travel network within the city.

The research found that Birmingham ranked as a top performer on its vision and leadership in terms of strategy and investment, air quality and accessibility.

The introduction of the Clean Air Zone in June and widespread implementation of innovative pilots using advanced technologies for sustainable travel developments – such as electrification of trains, on-demand bus services and more electric charging points are all huge positives for the region’s future.

The mobility index goes hand in hand with sustainability targets. Mobility networks and infrastructure have to improve alongside changes to how we travel, which will ultimately contribute to a net-zero region.

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Ian Washington

Ian Washington

Partner

Ian is the lead Partner for the Local and Regional Government Practice. He has over 20 years’ experience in advising public sector organisations. He specialises in supporting clients through large scale transformation programmes, with a particular focus on cost reduction, income generation, implementing new operating models, and organisational redesign. As well as an extensive track record within local government, he has also worked with central government, the health service, police and fire.