Leicester City Council has submitted a bid for £10million of Department for Transport funding for a range of city transport schemes.
The bid – as part of the council’s Transforming Cities work – would secure investment for major projects focusing on walking, cycling and bus infrastructure across the city, in schemes supporting the local economy and linked to improving air quality.
Cities and regions across the UK are bidding for a share of £1.2bn of Department for Transport funding.
Leicester is one of 10 cities, selected from 27 that originally applied, initially invited to bid for a share of £60million in the first phase of the initiative, for schemes to be delivered in 2019/20.
Submitted schemes include high-quality walking and cycling links to the south and east of city centre, to better connect the city centre with neighbourhoods and both universities. In the north of the city centre, better links are planned between the city centre and neighbouring regeneration areas at Pioneer Park as well as nearby communities.
A public bike share scheme is also being proposed, to help people travel between the city centre, workplaces, universities, hospitals, new regeneration areas, football and rugby grounds and nearby neighbourhoods.
In each case, the work would build on successful travel initiatives and investment made under the Connecting Leicester programme, in order to encourage more cycling and walking.
There are also proposals to have electric buses initially running on the Birstall Park and Ride route, along with the associated infrastructure allowing the electric vehicles to be charged over night at the Birstall Park and Ride site.
The service is designed to cut congestion on the busy A6 corridor, and using electric buses rather than the existing diesel stock would help cut air pollution in the city.
Smart ticketing would also be rolled out across the city’s bus network, to simplify payment methods using contactless credit cards and mobile phones.
This would significantly reduce passenger boarding time on buses, making services timetables more reliable and potentially cutting journey times.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “In submitting this bid to the DfT, we have put forward a number of schemes to build on the work of Connecting Leicester and continue to improve transport links across the city.
“A share of the DfT funding would enable us to bring forward some very significant schemes focusing on better transport infrastructure to support the city’s economy, using smart transport technology and encouraging more people to use buses, walking and cycling networks connecting more areas of the city.
“The prospect of a bike share scheme is a very interesting one, and we are currently looking into the details of such a scheme, as well as the logistics of how a scheme could best work for the city.”
Leicester Deputy City Mayor with responsibility for the environment, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “The proposals set out in this bid are key to making sustainable transport in the city more accessible and more appealing to people.
“Developing easy to use smart ticketing, creating a network of comprehensive walking and cycle routes, and introducing electric buses on one of the city’s main Park and Ride routes are all big steps towards improving air quality, cutting congestion and making sustainable travel in the city more attractive.”
The city council is expecting to hear from the DfT whether it has been successful later in February 2019.