Connecting the Transport dots

The Big City Plan's ambitions of a more connected city have moved forward with the launch of Connected City inviting the public to share their comments on a 4 year plan to make Birmingham a vibrant and liveable global city that is well connected, efficient and walkable city.

By improving access to and across the city centre, our aim is to make it easier for all – pedestrians, public transport users, cyclists and car drivers.

Comments can be made on the website for the project,, giving you the opportunity to help shape the proposals to reflect the varied transport users in the city. The plans WILL AFFECT YOU. The consultation is your chance to comment on the plans that will shape the city centre and it's connection to the Greater Birmingham area and how you move around as a pedestrian, train user, metro user or bus user.

I am excited by the possibilities for signage and hope Connect Birmingham takes account of the Interconnect Birmingham project and that Birmingham follows other cities such as Glasgow and London in having clear signs that have maps and provide a coherant signage rather than a haphazard mix of different and confusing signs for visitors and residents.

The new Legible London signs introduced by Transport for London provide a template for Birmingham to create it's own coherant signage that tackles the issue with signage of a lack of information, poor integration and infrastructure and people’s poor awareness about distance.

As the presentation highlighted, the system aims to integrate, feed and co-ordinate a range of information, including street signs and printed maps to help people find their way. Most importantly, it seeks to be part of the wider transport network by providing consistent end to end journey information via a range of media, TfL modes and in different places.

Photo of a Legible London map reproduced under Creative Commons licence from Flickr user Katherine,

Improving the bus maps would also be an improvement and Centro could do worse than build on their maps using the format of London bus stop travel maps which provide a clear and immediately visual clue as to where a bus goes and what connections can be made.

An extract from the Transport for London map of buses from Angel (Islington),

The launch follows work behind the scenes on a transport plan for the city which builds on the Vision for Movement launched in 2010, to compliment the Big City Plan, which focuses on transport; Last stop for City Centre Bus but full steam ahead for public transport.

The plans come as the extension of the Metro to New Street Station, which will force buses away from Corporation Street, are implimented to tie in with the work on New Street Station. Work will start in 2011 to move buses to five new interchanges around the city with this expected to be complete ready for the start of work on the city centre Metro extension in 2013. Buses will connect these interchanges to provide a circular route with tram style "rapid transit vehicles" replacing these buses in 2015.

The Five Bus Interchanges and their connections

Key points from the overview for the Connected City Project from Centro are reproduced below:

City Centre Interchange (CCI) – Transforming Bus
Travel in the City Centre, this project groups bus routes
into families based on which part of the city they come
from, with each family having dedicated stopping
places in the City Centre. The project also provides
easy to follow information at the stops and newly
designed shelters purpose built for the city. The
building of the City Centre Interchange project and the
related changes to bus routes will take place over the
next two years with work starting on street later this
year. This project should be completed before the main
construction work starts on the Midland Metro project.

Wayfinding - Linking all these projects together we
will make improvements to the information available on
street for guiding people around the city, and
information available at bus stops to help people make
choices about their immediate or onward journey. Our
plans also include improvements to the streets to help
remove street clutter making moving round the city
much easier.

Midland Metro – an extension of the current
Midland Metro tram route. This will provide a new
stop to serve Snow Hill station and link to New Street
Gateway on a route through the City Centre. As part
of this project we will also be providing new larger
trams and extending the current depot at Wednesbury.
Main construction is due to start in 2013 with it up and
running in 2015 to coincide with the completion of the
Gateway project.

Our timescales for City Centre Interchange and Metro

March 2011 Exhibition of our plans for City Centre

May 2011 Consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders
for City Centre Interchange.

August 2011 Exhibitions and information about
start of works and changes to the city centre including
changes to buses.

September 2011 – November 2011 Work starts
on street and exhibitions as work stages require.

February 2012 – September 2012 Work on
street continues and exhibitions as work stages require.

Summer 2012 Contract awarded for Depot

Summer 2013 Work starts on street for Midland
Metro extension.

Summer 2014 New tram vehicles enter service on
Line 1 between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton.

Summer 2015 Midland Metro extension opens.
New Street Gateway opens.

Some excerpts from the Connected City website outlining the plans are reproduced below:

Connected City will create a high quality experience for all.

A world class city centre and transport system will be created for residents, businesses and visitors. Improvements to the movement network and transport information will help connect people with places.

Different transport projects have been co-ordinated to achieve common goals and to maximise user benefits including:

_A highly accessible place and movement system that is inclusive for people with mobility and sensory impairments
_Designated transport interchanges for more intuitive use, revealing travel options
_Higher frequencies and improved vehicles
_Improved stations, stops and facilities
_New information products and services
_Extended use of real time information and the latest technology

An outstanding environment will be created that enhances the experience of the city centre – improving the places and information that connect and reveal destinations, areas and new multi-modal transport interchanges.

_A visitor's experience of the city centre will be transformed by on-street improvements and pedestrian information products.
_Transport interchanges will improve access to and from the city centre by clustering transport services that serve different parts of the region within designated areas.
_A simplified map will be created to help visitors and transport users navigate between interchanges.
_Walking will become the most convenient and pleasurable way of getting around.
_The Metro extension will improve connectivity within the city centre with higher frequency services and new stops.
_Bus stops will have new shelters, real-time information and network information that will be tailored to a user's location.

Meanwhile on the 22nd March a Birmingham Transport Summit was held providing an update on the Vision for Movement 5 year plan and the key dates for completion of the transport projects in the vision.

Some key points from the document are cited below:

• Chiltern Railways has made major investments in lines and stations linking to London thus improving connectivity.
o £500million investment in line improvements and new stations, eg Leamington Spa, Warwick Parkway, and Solihull, since 1993.
o From 5 September line improvements costing £130million will enable trains to run at 100mph and reduce journey times from 2 hours to 90 minutes from Birmingham.
o Chiltern will continue its competitive prices compared to Virgin, etc.

• A £2.8billion project is under way to replace street lighting with intelligent systems which reduce power consumption, light glare and pollution and which self-adapt to ambient light conditions.

• A program is under way to reduce city centre congestion for example Smallbrook Queensway which is a major problem.

• Centro, being aware that 58% of commuters use public transport has various projects under way such as:
o Reconfiguring the grouping and location of bus routes creating new interchanges linked by two new services – see previous article “Changes to city centre transport that will affect you”.
o The Metro extension from Snow Hill to New Street station with 19 new trams which will provide an enhanced journey experience
o New city centre bus stops.
o Bus stop intelligent Totems giving improved information for passengers


Anonymous said…
Aw thanks for using my Legible London photo! Brilliant post

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