Smart Network, Smarter Choices is a multi-million pound programme designed to help tackle congestion, reduce carbon emissions and kick start the regional economy. The project involves carrying out a wide range of sustainable travel (cycling, walking, public transport) schemes along ten key corridors (routes) in the West Midlands to help economic growth, job creation and meet carbon reduction targets. The programme will be delivered over the next three years (2012 to 2015).
Four of the routes are in Sandwell and these are:
Each route will have a variety of measures and/or improvements to encourage people who live, work and visit the area to travel sustainably.
This information will help briefly explain what these improvements will look like.
The Number 4 Corridor will see a number of new bus shelters being installed along the route. Also, some of the bus stops will feature new solar powered real time information screens which will make bus use much easier.
There will be road improvements at 20 key junctions along the route. Improvements will include upgrading traffic signals, pedestrian crossings and bus priority measures. These improvements, combined with those carried out through the Sandwell Bus Network Review, should deliver reduced congestion on major roads for all vehicles which in turn will mean faster and more reliable bus journeys.
Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis train stations will also benefit from walking and cycling improvements including improved signage, better lighting, upgraded pathways and secure cycle parking. Also, at Rowley Regis there will be real time information screens for the nearby bus stops to help people plan their onward journey.
Like the Number 4 Corridor, the Wolverhampton to West Bromwich Route will see bus shelter upgrades and key junction upgrades to help reduce congestion and decrease journey time. There will also be real time information display boards installed at key bus stops and interchanges along the route.
Wednesbury Parkway Station will also see a package of measures including improved cycle storage, clearer signage and better lighting to help encourage more people to cycle and walk to the station.
This corridor has already seen some great improvements over the past few years. These include the introduction of Red Routes and Bus Showcase measures along the route and the Burnt Tree Island works recently having been completed.
To further improve this corridor, there will be upgrades to four key junctions which will provide safer pedestrian crossing facilities and technology which allows buses to be prioritised. This will help the reliability and journey times of bus services along the route as well as helping pedestrians to use the route more safely.
The Black Country West Corridor is also a corridor which has seen large investment over the past few years. As such, the focus on this corridor will be to improve small congestion hotspots to help improve journey times for all road users. We will also be implementing the package of 'smart choices' which are explained in the Smarter Choices section. The aim will be to help people move from their cars on to the well established public transport network.
Cycling and walking around the district will become significantly easier as several route enhancements will see pedestrian and cycle links between all of the major towns improve. This includes improved cycle signage, route markings, crossings and advance stop lines at important junctions. Walking and cycling access to Metro and train stations will be improved through additional signage, lighting and improved pathways. There will also be key routes established into major employment sites to encourage and enable people to commute to work by bike.
All of these 'hard' measures will be accompanied by a range of 'soft' measures. These include travel plans which are a package of bespoke measures for individual companies, schools, colleges, universities, train stations and even residential estates, to help people get to and from them by bus, train, tram, bike, car share or walking.
Additionally, there will be an expansion of our successful WorkWise scheme which helps jobseekers by offering free travel passes, transport advice and journey plans for job interviews and during the first three months of a new job.
More information about WorkWise
For more information we are currently holding exhibitions in Sandwell to promote the bus network review and show how it complements the Smart Network, Smarter Choices Programme.
Two of these exhibitions will also focus on Smart Network, Smarter Choices.
Details of these special exhibitions are below:
Tuesday 30 October - Marquee in West Bromwich Markets - 10am - 3pm
Thursday 1 November - Exhibition Bus by Oldbury Council House - 11am - 3pm
A new website is due to be launched soon, keep visiting this site or email email@example.com to be kept up to date on its launch.