Connecting Leeds

Construction work designed to transform the bus network, reduce public transport journey times and improve public realm has been completed in four key areas of the city.

Newly pedestrianised Cookridge Street, showing trees and cycle path.

Our story

by Leeds City Council

In 2016, the government granted Leeds City Council’s Connecting Leeds (programme) £173.5 million. The funding is being invested in an integrated package of improvements including bus priority lanes, modernised transport facilities and improved public spaces. The overall aim is to create a greener, better connected city.

In 2021, construction works completed in four key areas in the city centre. This includes the fully pedestrianised Cookridge Street closed off to all traffic. The street is now reimagined as an urban realm area suitable for events and seating for businesses. A segregated cycle lane runs through it connecting the north of the city centre with the main rail station via The Headrow.

The underpinning vision supporting the overall rationale set out in the Strategic Outline Case for the Headrow Gateway is as follows: increase overall bus patronage, linked to the ambition to double bus patronage by 2026; improve end-to-end journey times for bus through the Gateways; improve punctuality for buses by reducing journey time variability through the Gateways; improve the quality of the bus passenger experience; improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, including access to bus stops; improve the experience and number of all street users, particularly more vulnerable groups, those walking/cycling, and in terms of the urban realm; enhance streetscapes, the built environment and improve green infrastructure in the Gateways; increase accessibility to employment, training and services, thus also supporting the SEP’s economic growth housing, and regeneration plans; improve connectivity between bus and rail services in the city centre; improve network safety for all users; and improve air quality in the Gateways.

The scheme is forecast to take 1009 car kms off the network into Leeds City Centre each year, as a result of modal switch from car to bus, with consequential beneficial impacts on emissions, and safety, as reported above. Similarly, the scheme will take nearly 48,720 car kms off the network into Leeds City centre each year, as a result of modal switch from car to active modes.

The provision of bus lanes along the majority of the corridor will move general traffic away from noise receptors such as residential flats, offices and colleges. This will provide a benefit in terms of noise.

In addition to benefits described above, 38 new semi mature trees will be planted across the Headrow Gateway. Planting vegetation across an urban landscape, especially trees, that absorb CO2 effectively lessening the impact of highway traffic in the immediate gateway area. This will provide a benefit in terms of noise.

Our advice

Be bold and far-reaching in your efforts to reallocate road space from non-sustainable modes to sustainable modes. Think about how urban space can be used differently. Widen footways, make the pedestrian environment more attractive and make it easier to cross the road. Give priority to public transport over cars. Create protected cycleways so that cycling is accessible. Plant trees and create new green spaces in city centres.

WSP and LCC are working collaboratively to further assess the net average emission saving of tCO2e associated with a reduction in car kilometres attributed to modal shift occurred through the implementation of LPTIP schemes. The methodology has been developed by WSP and a trial reviewed by LCC. This is yet to receive formal sign off and therefore a net tCO2e saving cannot be calculated for the Headrow Gateway scheme (pictured) at this current stage in the project lifecycle. Any future quantification of such benefits will be undertaken at programme rather than scheme level.

Our metrics

  • Increased overall bus patronage.
  • Improved bus journey times and reliability.
  • Cleaner air quality and improved health outcomes.
  • Increased accessibility to jobs, training and services.

Read more: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/connecting-leeds-and-transforming-travel

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