NISTO partners gathered in Birmingham in June to discuss the development of an evaluation and appraisal approach to help guide well- functioning mobility in projects such as the i54 enterprise zone, one of the West Midlands’ (UK) biggest future employment sites.
Colleagues from Centro, the transport authority for the West Midlands, joined NISTO partners to review the best ways to sustainably connect the region’s workers and jobseekers with the i54 enterprise zone. Centro has been working with regional and European colleagues to identify targets and indicators that can be used in similar large scale business sites in Europe.
The £67 million i54 development is expected to create up to 6,000 jobs by 2020 with car manufacturing giants Jaguar Land Rover and aerospace company Moog among those who have already taken up venues at the 226 acre site. Rafael Cuesta, Centro’s head of strategic development, saysid: “Once open, the i54 will house thousands of workers from our region so it is important that we keep looking for ways to ensure the site has the best possible transport links in place.” Moreover, he mentions, that Centro benefited from the experiences of similar projects: “Similar sites have opened across Europe over the past decade so this has been a great opportunity for us to learn how others propose to maximise the integration of different transport modes to serve newly opened major employment venues.” Improved bus services to the i54 site were launched in January and Centro is working with the i54 Enterprise Zone Travel Plan Steering Group to make sure even more public transport, digital information, walking and cycling connections are in place ahead of the opening.
The meeting, which included a visit to the i54 site, forms part of the NISTO project which sees transport representatives from across North-West Europe share ideas on improving connections and infrastructure in key locations. The event was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG North-West Europe (NWE) Programme of the European Union.