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Metro Feasibility Study Progress Report to City Region Cabinet

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report goes before the Glasgow City Region Cabinet next week (6 April 2021) to highlight progress made to develop a Metro Feasibility Study into a Glasgow Region Metro.

Led by Glasgow City Council, a multi-disciplinary team has been working closely with key stakeholders to reflect on and develop a common definition and aspiration for what a Metro system is, what it can look like and what it can deliver for the City Region.

This initial strategic appraisal which will take a holistic, multi-modal approach, has arisen due to recent developments within the transport landscape and the findings of Glasgow’s Connectivity Commission, with Cabinet approving a pause in the development of the Airport Access Project (AAP) to allow for a feasibility study to be undertaken on an alternative Metro solution.

Plans to develop a Glasgow Metro were boosted further recently after proposals were included as part of Transport Scotland’s Strategic Transport Review (STPR2) Phase 1 – with a commitment to working with the feasibility study team and Regional partners to develop the Strategic Business Case for the Metro concept.

A previous update provided to the Glasgow City Region Chief Executives Group in August 2020, outlined the touch points within the local, regional and national transport policy frameworks and identified the opportunities and alignment with other national initiatives and strategic reports.  It also set out the governance approach adopted for the feasibility study, plans to appoint a consultant to provide expert skills to prepare tender documents to support the development of the study, and the establishment of a Metro Strategic Advisory Group to develop a collaborative approach with other organisations.

Steer Group have since been appointed as the feasibility study’s transport specialist and will create a detailed scope of service, appropriate technical evaluation criteria and participate in the evaluation panel of the main feasibility study consultant.

Jacobs UK Ltd will support two accelerated work packages around the development of an economic narrative, and the options for transport governance/operator model ahead of appointing the main feasibility study consultant; whilst E-Rail Ltd will undertake a third accelerated work package on an early stage evaluation study into land value capture.

The south-west corridor route has been selected as the initial test route to analyse potential routing options, map available data, identify data set gaps and test sensitivity analysis on data sets. The Metro project team has also engaged with Renfrewshire Council’s planning team to assess options to incorporate aspirations for improved connectivity for key employment zones such as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) as well as Glasgow Airport.

In addition to research and benchmarking work, there has been considerable stakeholder engagement activity at local, regional and national level to progress the development of the feasibility study by exploring potential synergies as well as overlapping agendas, and to facilitate discussions and promote understanding around the challenges and opportunities that an integrated transport system can offer to the City Region.

Kevin Rush, Director of Regional Economic Growth at Glasgow City Region said: “We want to see the development of a metro project which could transform our Region, support thousands of jobs and bring enormous environmental benefits; and it’s fantastic to see that the project team is making such excellent progress in developing the feasibility study, much of which is due to significant stakeholder engagement and working in collaboration with others.”

Cabinet will be invited to note the close working and developing relationships of the Metro Feasibility Team with Transport Scotland and their appointed consultants, and with SPT and Glasgow’s teams preparing the regional and local transport strategies; and that further update reports will be brought to the Chief Executives’ Group and the Cabinet on the progress of Metro Feasibility Study, including any approval for additional funding.

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