Spectators will get local bus, train and tram travel included in their tickets for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games under plans to make the eleven-day sporting festival the greenest Games ever held.
The public transport offer for event ticket holders is just one of a wide range of measures outlined in the draft Commonwealth Games Transport Plan agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board.
The plan, developed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, has been drawn up in partnership with Birmingham 2022 and Birmingham City Council to make sure the region keeps moving when hundreds of thousands of sports fans arrive next summer.
The emphasis is to make it as easy as possible for spectators to leave the car at home and use public transport to get to events, helping to manage congestion on the wider network for regular commuters, deliveries and emergency services going about their daily business.
Park and ride facilities will also be set up and additional shuttle buses laid on to ferry spectators and participants to venues and help meet the anticipated surge in demand expected during the Games. People will also be encouraged to use active travel for shorter journeys with green routes set out for cycling and walking.
New public transport services including the Sprint rapid bus service linking three key Games venues, and redeveloped Perry Barr and University railway stations will also be available for spectators and visitors while leaving a valuable transport legacy for the region.
Detailed local traffic and parking plans will be drawn up for each individual venue, including the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr and Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick, with measures such as controlled parking zones to reduce the impact on surrounding residential roads.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “When the Commonwealth Games starts next year we will have the eyes of the world on the West Midlands, and so it is mission critical that all our visitors can travel around swiftly and efficiently whilst minimising the impact on residents. That’s why I’m delighted that travel from within the region to Games’ venues will be included in people’s tickets, making it as easy as possible for visitors to travel by bus, train, tram, cycling, and walking.
“Not only that, but we’re also setting up additional Park and Ride facilities, laying on shuttle buses, and of course drawing up detailed local traffic and parking plans for each venue. This is on top of our new Sprint rapid bus service, which will be operational by then linking three key Games venues.
“With more than one million spectators expected over the eleven days, as well as competitors, volunteers, staff and the world’s media, we have to get our transport offering just right. We believe this plan does exactly that.”
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “The easiest way to get around during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will be by using public transport, cycling or walking – especially for the spectators, staff and volunteers.
“Building on the recent launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, this will help us reduce carbon emissions and air pollution around our venues – making Birmingham 2022 the cleanest and greenest Commonwealth Games ever. We will also see new transport infrastructure, such as our Sprint rapid bus route on the A34 and A45, leave a lasting legacy for the region.”
Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022 said: “Working as a partnership, we have the collective ambition that Birmingham 2022 will be the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date.
“Fundamental to this is a well operated transport network that can effectively serve the different competition venues throughout the period of the Games. We know that TfWM, and the commitments and measures outlined in the Games Transport Plan, will keep the city and region moving, ensuring these Games can be accessed and enjoyed by all.”
Investing in and encouraging greater use of sustainable transport is seen as key to the West Midlands achieving its #WM2041 target of becoming a net-zero carbon region over the next two decades.
TfWM’s Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC) will coordinate the transport network throughout the Games, using CCTV links to relay information to staff who can then coordinate action on the ground, such as rephasing traffic lights, to clear bottlenecks and provide useful information direct to travellers via social media and mobile apps.
The WMCA’s Board approval of the Commonwealth Games Transport Plan triggers three months of consultation with stakeholders and the public starting on Monday, 28 June.
Photo credit: Transport for West Midlands