Transport connectivity

Improving travel around the region for people, goods and services

What's the plan?

Connectivity plays a crucial role in enabling economic growth by facilitating trade and investment, movement of goods and services and sustaining jobs and training opportunities. Externally, our transport and digital infrastructure connects the region to national and international markets. Within the region, it ensures that flows of goods and people are efficient.

Our aim is to provide affordable, attractive, reliable, safe, healthy transport choices for businesses, residents and visitors and to deliver first class digital infrastructure that is accessible, reliable and fast.

Achieving these aims will support businesses from across the region to grow and prosper, and will also offer particular opportunities for businesses in our growing digital and logistics industries.

How are we improving transport and connectivity?

Our Strategic Economic Plan sets out a clear vision for our digital and transport connectivity by 2024 and identifies a number of schemes and projects which we will deliver during this period. These can be separated into two areas – digital connectivity and transport connectivity.

Digital Connectivity

The North East has a thriving digital sector. We also have two fundamental projects that will help improve the digital infrastructure within our region.

5G demonstration

North East partners, including the LEP and Nexsus, are working closely with national and regional partners to develop a proposed test-bed facility as part of the UK 5G strategy.

Superfast broadband

This being rolled out across the North East. Individual projects in local areas contribute to the Superfast Britain programme.

Transport connectivity

Ensuring national and international connectivity by rail, road, air and sea is crucial to growth in trade and exports, to make sure we contribute to national and northern growth. Ensuring our region is ‘HS2-ready’, including at our key gateways, so we are able to make the most of this transformational investment, is one of our key priorities.

Strategic road and rail projects will improve links between the North East, the wider North, London and Scotland. This includes duelling the A66 and improvements to the A69 to improve East to West connectivity and work with Highways England and Network Rail to promote investment on the strategic road network and national rail network.

Newcastle International Airport delivers multiple benefits to the North East economy, including national and international connectivity for business growth and tourism and support for 12,000 jobs and generation of £581m in GVA annually.

There are currently 16 major transport schemes and a package of 15 local Sustainable Transport schemes funded by the North East Local Growth Fund being delivered within the North East LEP area to help improved in region connectivity.

Regional transport planning

NECA is developing a Bus Strategy for the region to develop and enhance services across the North East LEP area and will deliver models in line with the Bus Services Act 2017 as well as explore new and innovative technologies.

In terms of the Tyne and Wear Metro, more than 40 million passengers use the service and Metro Futures will deliver new investment into trains, infrastructure and operational management.

NECA are also promoting a number of key strategic schemes for national investment to enhance the performance of our economy.

Performance and ticketing

We, work with rail industry stakeholders and use Rail North delegated powers to monitor and influence performance and development through the current Northern and TransPennine franchises.

We also manage and invest into two Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) to improve the management of the network, and reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Additionally, we have introduced POP Pay As You Go (PAYG) smartcards for public transport across the North East LEP area.

North East transport plan

The North East Combined Authority (NECA) leads the development and delivery of our regional transport plan. This includes investment into key projects, collaborative management systems to improve performance and integrated ticketing. It also includes long term planning.

The final version of the Transport Manifesto was published in December 2016 following a public consultation. This document will inform the regions Transport Plan, which is scheduled to go to consultation in 2018.


Who are the LEP’s partners with regards to delivery of the SEP?

A range of partners work with the North East LEP to help deliver the SEP. Our partners in Local Government are responsible for planning and regional transport programmes set out in the document, and a wide range of other organisations take part in LEP programmes to support SEP objectives including through our Innovation, Business Growth and Skills Boards which include key partners from business organisations, universities and colleges. A number of central Government departments and Agencies are actively involved in our work.

Find out more about our Boards and Advisory Panels.

What is the North East Combined Authority (NECA)?

You can find out more about the North East Combined Authority on their website.

Latest News

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Want to see what transport and connectivity projects we are funding right now?