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Competition: Leeds City Region mass transit system

King Edward Street, Leeds
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The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is seeking conceptual proposals for a new mass transit system for the Leeds City Region

The market testing exercise will explore options for a new light rail, tram or bus system featuring end-to-end routes of between 10 and 30km for the region, which is the largest metropolitan area in Europe without an urban transit system.

The call for concepts aims to identify ‘initial designs for an advanced urban transit system’ which could be operational by 2033 when HS2 – currently under review – is due to complete. The announcement comes a month after prime minister Boris Johnson pledged to support the region’s ambitious Northern Powerhouse Rail initiative.

Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: ‘There is no doubt that if the Leeds City Region is going to achieve its full economic potential while at the same time meeting the ambitious environmental goals we have set ourselves, we need to a modern mass transit system to connect people quickly and cleanly with areas of growth.

‘By undertaking this market testing with the universities of Huddersfield and Leeds, we want to ensure that whatever form our mass system takes it reflects the most modern ideas, technologies and techniques in the world and enables the city region to remain at the forefront of those technologies for many years to come.’

The Leeds City Region is home to around three million people and has an economy of around £69.6 billion. The mass transit project, first announced in November last year, aims to unlock inclusive and sustainable growth across the region.

Participating teams are invited to submit concepts for an integrated network featuring various end-to-end routes of between 10 and 30km with frequent city centre stops and stops every kilometre or so in other areas.

Vehicles should allow up to 300 people to alight at any stop and should have an operational life of 20 to 30 years.

Last month, the prime minister pledged to support Northern Powerhouse Rail – a new ‘Crossrail for the North’ connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Leeds, Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull – raising the prospect of myriad architectural commissions.

The organisation tasked with its delivery, Transport for the North, has confirmed it is not currently working with any architects but will be considering its requirements for station upgrades and builds over the coming months.

The deadline for submissions is 4pm on 31 October.

How to apply

View the competition announcement for more information

Contact details

Email: urbantransit@westyorks-ca.gov.uk

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