Investing in Transport Infrastructure:
Notes from Steady State Manchester. read it here: transport paper SSM Sept 2013
In recent weeks and months there has been much debate about the UK government’s plan to build a high speed railway from London to
Yorkshire and Greater Manchester (HS2).
From a Steady State perspective, much of the debate has been of poor quality.
On the one side the proponents of HS2 have been unclear about the strategic goals of the project, shifting from journey time to network
capacity. Their modelling of the economic impacts of the scheme has
been subjected to criticism, both in its original version, for the
assumptions made, and in relation to the work commissioned by HS2 Ltd
on wider economic benefits, for the presence of elementary errors of
On the other side, critics of HS2 have attacked the scheme from various
directions, from those who seem to argue from a geographic, largely
Southern perspective, to the presence of the roads lobby and the fundamentalist anti-State lobby.
On both sides the thinking is characterised by the orthodox belief that
growth will bring benefits, and that greater integration between the
regions and London will strengthen those regional economies. They just
differ on how this will be best achieved.
Steady State Manchester has a different approach and in this paper we focus on the logic of decision making to decide how best to invest in transport infrastructure. Our reasoning points away from the HS2 plan although the question is open as to how and where to invest in rail to enable the modal shift in travel needed for radical and fast de-carbonisation. This paper is in part a response to the discussion paper we recently published by Dominic McCann who looked in some detail at the capacity implications of a radical modal shift from air and car (an updated version will follow shortly). Read our paper with the references for the above points here: transport paper SSM Sept 2013
We welcome constructive comment, using the comment facility here, by email, via twitter or our Facebook and LinkedIn groups (see sidebar for links – if not visible go to the main page). The answers are by no means clear to this complex question so open and constructive debate is necessary, especially given the lack of open deliberative process to arrive at the HS2 prestige project.