Greater Manchester mayor unveils £240m 'Congestion Deal'
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has announced funding for new trams and other measures to tackle congestion.
The Congestion Deal includes £80m for 27 new trams and £160m to be spent on new cycling and walking lanes.
Also included are employer incentives for flexible start and finish times, bus lane use for car-sharers and safe cycling routes to schools.
Mr Burnham said congestion is a "serious problem which affects people's health and wellbeing."
"There's no quick fix or single solution... and it requires a long term approach, but there are things we could be doing better."
The £80m invested in 27 new Metrolink trams on the network will create 4,800 extra passenger spaces boosting capacity by a quarter.
Other proposals include:
- An early bird 'Metrolink ticket offer to encourage travel before rush-hour
- Incentives for businesses which implement flexible or home-working to reduce pressures on rush hour
- Investment in walking and cycling as a healthy and sustainable way to travel
- A 24-hour transport control centre to ease traffic jams on the roads
Said Mr Burnham: "I want a particular focus on the school run to see if if we can create safe cycling routes to schools.
"It will give Greater Manchester a cycling infrastructure on par with the most forward thinking of European cities."
Under the deal, a High Occupancy Vehicle lane pilot scheme will be established for cars with three or more passengers to use bus lanes.
Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said making it easier for people to travel without cars was key to tackling congestion.
He welcomed the plans which he said could "unlock the potential for thousands more people to get around by bike or on foot."
The Congestion Deal follows the Mayor's Congestion Conversation last autumn, which asked people what the causes of, and solutions to, congestion might be.
Almost 7,000 members of the public responded blaming:
- too many people travelling at the same time
- too many short journeys by car
- poorly-timed traffic lights
- no realistic alternatives to driving
Car share lanes have been tried in other parts of the country but have not been enforced.