Coventry City Council has backed Campaign for Better Transport’s ‘Better Transport Week’, bringing together leaders from the sector to call for improvements to the UK’s public transport system.
Last week, at a light rail summit hosted by Campaign for Better Transport at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre in Dudley, Coventry Very Light Rail was a central topic of discussion, with delegates discussing how it could transform the light rail industry.
Representatives from Coventry City Council, the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, UK Tram, Spårvagnsstäderna, Thames Gateway Tramlink and Mainspring highlighted the many benefits of light rail investment for towns and cities in the UK and Europe.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry’s cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “Campaign for Better Transport is doing brilliant and much needed work to highlight the UK’s chronic underinvestment in public transport. Ironically there is a solution in our Coventry Very Light Rail scheme – it will drive down the cost of providing a green, efficient and high-quality form of public transport, making it affordable to install for Coventry and cities and towns across the country.
“Coventry Very Light Rail is a game changer – bringing installation costs down to around £10mn per kilometre. It does this by making use of a zero emission, battery powered vehicle that can turn tight corners alongside a revolutionary shallow trackform which will allow us to keep many utilities in the ground. We’re calling on government to back this project and provide the investment to make it a reality in Coventry and fast.
“In Coventry we’re leading the green industrial revolution and the push to decarbonise our transport system. We’ll be the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025, we’ve installed more electric vehicle charge points than any other city in the UK and we’re hard at work installing miles of high-quality segregated cycle lanes. We just need government process to catch up.”
Michael Solomon Williams from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Light rail networks used to be commonplace across the UK, and their removal has led directly to the over-congested, dangerous, polluted roads which are such a problem today, damaging communities, our health and the environment. The development of this exciting lower-cost model offers the chance for more cities to install high-quality rail systems that change the way people get about. Very Light Rail and BCIMO are at the forefront of innovation, and we believe that they can lead the way to a future with light rail back at the heart of our transport networks.”