The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Malaysian government body to co-operate in the area of transport innovation and smart cities development for the next three years.
The MoU with Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) will be an opportunity for the West Midlands to share knowledge, ideas, and lessons learned from within the urban and transport planning realms, as well as promote mutual recognition of international design standards for inclusive transport.
The ‘virtual signing of the MoU took place at the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC).
The signing saw TfWM interim managing director Anne Shaw putting pen to paper for the WMCA and representatives from IRDA and H.E. Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia joining either in person or virtually.
TfWM, which is part of the WMCA, launched the RTCC in January 2020 to bring together real-time information across all modes of transport in one place working with existing control centres around the West Midlands to provide up-to-the-minute journey information for residents, businesses and visitors.
Over time the initiative, which was facilitated by the Global Future Cities Programme in Malaysia, will look to assist the RTCC in improving its coordination across public transport and road networks, as well as manage real-time congestion for the region’s residents, businesses, and visitors.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: I look forward to seeing how the partnership with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority will further build on our efforts to manage and improve our green transport network throughout the West Midlands.
“The RTCC provides us with the unique ability to give accurate travel information to our residents making it a wonderful facility to showcase to our visitors from Malaysia as we look to work together to further innovate transport in our regions.”
Anne Shaw, Interim Managing Director Transport for West Midlands at TfWM, said: “ Transport for West Midlands is pleased to be entering into this collaboration agreement with Iskandar Regional Development Authority, and is looking forward to the mutual learning and knowledge sharing particularly regarding the roles and function of regional transport authorities that this agreement will facilitate.
“We have a track record of delivering innovative data and technical solutions, so combining their experience with the learning that IRDA are gaining from their transport innovation developments will be beneficial for both organisations.”
His Excellency Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, added: ““Sustainable transport is an essential part of reaching net zero targets, and local authorities play a key role in the transition. These were among the main themes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 which the UK has just hosted. Partnerships like this will help drive climate action forward”.
After visiting the RTCC and signing the MoU, Malaysian delegates were given a tour of the transport modes and popular public spaces in Birmingham.
The travelling public can receive live updates on the region’s transport networks through social media and the Transport for West Midlands website.
TfWM is encouraging all local residents to follow @WMNetwork and @WMRoads on Twitter or Facebook. By providing reliable information in one place it aims to improve people’s daily journeys and cut congestion across the region. Live disruption updates from the RTCC can also be found at westmidlandsnetwork.org.uk.
Photo credit: West Midlands Combined Authority