To continue to grow in the years ahead, our economy needs new transport connections that connect skills to jobs, and goods to market.
Better connections between our cities and suburbs are critical to a successful, high-wage economy. As modern cities thrive they create far more complex travel demand than when the railway was designed in Victorian times, they require better connectivity to link people with jobs, goods and services.
To achieve their potential to be engines of national growth, our cities need more choice and flexibility about train services so that they can connect more people to more places, more directly, than ever before.
Rail freight carries seventy five per cent more consumer goods than a decade ago and rail connections to our major ports are the backbone of our global exports. By increasing connectivity for freight, the railway can help secure Britain’s place as a competitive home for business and a centre of international trade.
The power of a digital railway
A more digital railway is the key to the connectivity challenge for our economy.
Digital signalling unlocks the space needed to enable greater flexibility about where, when and how fast trains run. Currently, timetables are planned, mostly manually, between two and four years in advance and are then largely fixed. Digital Traffic Management transforms this, harnessing modern analytics to create more effective ‘conflict–free’ timetables and options for new train paths that can be adjusted as demand changes from day to day, week to week and season to season.
The result is a railway that meets the demand for faster journeys, connects the economies of our core cities and increases the economic benefit of major enhancements now underway, such as HS2 and Crossrail.