LEEDS could look to tram-train technology as a solution to its transport problems after its trolleybus plans were left in tatters tdoay.
The Government has promised the £173m it had earmarked for trolleybus would still be spent in the city and thoughts are now turning to what next for transport in Leeds.
Work was already underway looking at how to better connect existing public transport in and around Leeds to create a “metro” system with tram train an option for tackling thorny issues including improving connections between the city and Leeds-Bradford airport.
The demise of trolleybus looks set to accelerate the interest in tram train which is set to be trialled in South Yorkshire between Rotherham and Sheffield next year.
Keith Wakefield, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said it was “committed to developing a fully integrated metro-style transport system for the City Region with tram train at its heart and will now work with government to make that a reality.”
Tram-trains are favoured as a possible option because they can use the existing rail network with spurs of new track to serve communities where there is not a regular rail station.
However, cost and the capacity of the rail network are likely to be major limiting factors and electric or hybrid buses will also need to play their part.
While Leeds is under pressure to find a solution to its traffic problems, the city also needs transport measures that will improve air quality.
The city is already one of five in the country which will introduce new charges on the most polluting vehicles by 2020.