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blog: Derby and Nottingham Transforming Cities Fund

Author: Ciaran Meyers

In 2018, the Government launched the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF), a £2.45bn fund to support some of the largest city regions to enhance productivity and spread prosperity by improving intra-city public and sustainable transport connectivity, making it quicker and easier for people to get around some of England’s biggest cities.  Just over half of the fund (£1.28bn) was made available to the shortlisted city regions for capital schemes over a 5-year period to 2022-23.

Split into two tranches of funding, £60m was set aside for Tranche 1 in 2018, which focused on funding early-delivery schemes or ‘quick wins’ and this was followed by £1.22bn in Tranche 2 to support longer-term programmes to achieve a step-change in local public and sustainable transport connectivity, with better access to jobs, reduced congestion and improved air quality. 

Bus Nottingham Bus2

Securing early investment

In 2018 ITP supported Nottingham City Council in preparing a bid for Tranche 1 of the TCF, focussing on the business, economic and financial elements of the business case.  The bid sought funding to deliver cycle and bus schemes.  The bid was successful and secured £7.2 million of funding for cycle route and cycle hire improvements, as well as bus priority, public transport information and electric bus charging infrastructure.

Making the business case

Following the successful bid for Tranche 1 funding, ITP was commissioned to prepare the draft and final Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) to support Nottingham and Derby City Councils’ joint Tranche 2 bid.  This involved assisting the two councils through a two-stage assessment, which started with an assessment of the current and future transport-related issues of the area.

Option generation  

A series of collaborative workshops with council officers were held to identify a list of potential schemes.  Stakeholders were involved in discussions to help identify ideas and solutions to the transport challenges and opportunities, ensuring early buy-in and potential concerns could be mitigated at an early stage.  The long list of schemes was sifted to identify the preferred schemes using a scoring framework framed around the aims and objectives of DfT and the two councils.  

Connected 2 140214Webv2

Appraising the options

The second phase of the assessment centred on the economic appraisal of the preferred schemes and the preparation of the final SOBC.  A wide range of appraisal techniques were used to calculate the scheme impacts including strategic modelling using TUBA, DfT’s Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit, TfL’s Valuing Urban Realm Toolkit, as well as bespoke WebTAG-compliant spreadsheet models.  The impacts were combined into a complex, multi-package economic appraisal.  Impacts assessments were carried out for low, medium and high value packages, in line with DfT’s TCF Tranche 2 guidance.  The SOBC was structured around the Strategic, Economic, Financial, Commercial and Management cases and included extensive mapping, infographics and visualisations to articulate the evidence base for the schemes and the steps taken to appraise their impacts.  

Reaping the rewards

The final SOBC (available here) was submitted to DfT in November 2019, with the successful award announced by the Government in March 2020.  The bid received full funding for the high cost scenario of £161m - the only city region to achieve this - to deliver bus priority measures, traffic signal priority, segregated cycle routes and public realm improvements. 

ITP was also commissioned to assist in developing the councils’ joint submission to DfT’s Future Mobility Zone fund to trial innovative schemes to complement those being delivered through TCF.  Nottingham and Derby’s bid was one of three winning bids, securing £16.7m to implement to implement electric mobility hubs, a new mobility data platform alongside a new website and smartphone app  Further details are available in a proposals summary and the final submission.

Nottingham Tram At Night

Please click here if you would like to know more about appraisal and business case projects which ITP has been involved in, and get in touch if you are seeking support unlocking funding for sustainable transport projects.


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