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Leeds rapid transit scheme moves to market testing phase

27 Aug 19 The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is seeking ideas for the development of a mass transit system for Leeds.

The combined authority is already working with academics at the University of Huddersfield’s Institute for Railway Research and University of Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies on developing plans for a regional transit scheme. But it also needs input from industry.

The views of construction companies, manufacturers, suppliers, engineers, system developers and operators of urban transit systems across the world are being sought. Through this market testing process, West Yorkshire Combined Authority aims to develop initial designs for an advanced urban transit system that can be delivered by 2033, exploiting HS2 (if it happens) and other mooted rail schemes.

Organisations and individuals responding to the market testing are being asked to consider a system with end-to-end routes of between 10 and 30km, with frequent city centre stops and stops every kilometre or so in other areas. Routes, they are being told, could run through pedestrian and heritage environments in city centres and urban areas.

Vehicles are expected to enable 200 to 300 people to get on/off at every stop and could be traditional light rail or tram train running on steel wheels, or bus rapid transit-based running on rubber tyres. They are expected to have an operational life of 20 to 30 years.

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Cllr Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee, said: “There is no doubt that if the Leeds city region is going to achieve its full economic potential while at the same time meeting the ambitious environmental goals we have set ourselves, we need a modern mass transit system to connect people quickly and cleanly with areas of growth.

“By undertaking this market testing with the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds, we want to ensure that whatever form our mass transit system takes it reflects the most modern ideas, technologies and techniques in the world and enables the city region to remain at the forefront of those technologies for many years to come.”

Expressions of interest to take part in the market testing are invited by email to by Thursday 31st October 2019. The expectation is that this will be followed by a formal procurement process through a prior invitation notice.

A prospectus and details of the market testing process are available at

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