The Manchester office of global professional services and engineering consultancy WSP has been appointed by Transport for the North to develop an infrastructure improvement programme across two key transport corridors in the North of England.

WSP will build a business case for improving infrastructure links across the Central Pennines corridor, increasing road and rail capacity between important economic centres in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Hull and Humber, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. A second study will look at developing better connections for people and goods between energy and research assets along the North West and North East coastlines and national road and rail networks. 

The work is the first in a series of planned studies commissioned by Transport for the North which will support the development of its ‘Strategic Transport Plan and Investment Programme’ which has identified seven key development corridors which, with major infrastructure investment, could help create close to a million new jobs and add almost £100 billion to the UK’s economy.

WSP will produce a multi-modal programme for improving rail and road connectivity along the initial two corridors. The business will offer a range of services including transport planning and modelling, highways, environmental, risk management and stakeholder engagement, supported by partners Steer Davies Gleave and Dialogue by Design.

Nasar Malik, WSP’s project director for both studies commented: “I am delighted to lead the consultant teams for these two important studies, building on the good working relationship developed with Transport for the North through an earlier transport study. This marks a major milestone in Transport for the North’s drive to identify future transport investment that would improve connectivity across the North.

“I think it’s key that these first studies look beyond major city regions like Leeds and Manchester, which are often identified as the major drivers of the Northern Powerhouse agenda. In fact, it is our coastal energy hubs and the growing significance of the Pennine area as business and industrial centres, which could unlock unprecedented economic growth.

“WSP is in a unique position to deliver these studies. With both road and rail expertise in-house, we are able to draw on our exceptional local knowledge, as well as our experience in conceiving and delivering more world-class multi-modal schemes across the globe.”

The studies will be submitted to Transport for the North by summer 2018.


For further information please contact Debbie Bradley at Anita Morris Associates on 01943 603311.

Notes to editors

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services. With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 42,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high-profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network.

Transport for the North is a partnership, bringing together local and combined authorities and business leaders from across the North with Central Government. This body allows the region to speak with one voice on the transport infrastructure investment needed to boost the North’s economy.

In 2016, the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, commissioned by Transport for the North on behalf of Northern partners, demonstrated how unique capabilities which are present across the North could be harnessed to transform the region, adding almost £97billion to the UK economy and creating up to 850,000 jobs by 2050.

In February this year, the Independent International Connectivity Commission – formed by Transport for the North’s Chair, John Cridland, to offer an expert business view of the global connectivity needs of the North of England – found that improving international links with the North could see 75 million air passengers travelling to and from the region each year by 2050, nearly double the current number.  Also, by developing better road and rail links for the region’s ports, more freight could be being shipped directly into and out of the region.

TfN is establishing itself as a leading edge organisation in preparation to become the first Sub-national Transport Body in England.