The announcement of the creation of future transport zones (FTZs – not to be confused with free trade zones) in spring 2020, during the first lockdown, seems like a lifetime ago. The transport situation over the past two years has provided a very ‘fluid’ backdrop for teams trying to set their projects in motion.
While notoriously few plans survive their first contact with reality, the headwinds of Covid have shifted all the pieces on the board: commuting patterns across modes have changed, there has been a massive pivot to online sales affecting logistics, the economics of public transport suffered a massive blow, staff have moved, work patterns have evolved and some baseline data will be greatly different compared with that relied on in the original submissions.
“One of the first things we did was to revisit the baseline assumptions in the light of Covid,” says John Bradburn, interim project manager working on the West of England Combined Authority Future Transport Zone (WECA FTZ).
“There were two big shifts. One was how the FTZ would support recovery. The other was net zero, and the emphasis on articulating that was increased.”