About the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF)
As part of the Autumn Statement 2016 the Government announced the creation of a National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) worth in total £23bn. NPIF is for investment in areas that are key to boosting productivity: transport, digital communications, research and development (R&D), and housing. The Secretary of State for Transport gave further details in Written Statements to Parliament indicating that of the total, £1.1bn will be for local roads.
On the 6 April the government invited Local Authorities to bid for a share of this funding for schemes meeting the core aims of the fund to:
- ease congestion and provide upgrades on important national, regional or local routes
- unlock economic and job creation opportunities
- enable the delivery of new housing developments
Worcestershire County Council has prepared two separate bids to this fund
The Bromsgrove Bid
Bromsgrove is a focus for congestion and transport network inefficiency, particularly at peak travel times. Evidence and feedback received by the County Council demonstrates that this partly due to a lack of suitable alternative travel choices, which forces local people to drive. Bromsgrove has very limited infrastructure to support walking and cycling, so this bid proposes the development of a comprehensive network of walking and cycling routes across the town, linking residential areas, employment sites, schools, the hospital, the town centre and the railway station. If successful, this will provide residents and visitors with an attractive alternative to car use for shorter distance trips, which will help to reduce congestion and poor air quality experienced in Bromsgrove.
The Worcester Bid
Worcester's attractive location by the River Severn is also a major constraint to east-west movement, as there is only one vehicle bridge within the city boundary. The Worcester bid proposes a package of focussed interventions to tackle known congestion 'pinch points' on the main and only west-east axis through the City Centre, between St Johns and Sidbury. This will include investment in traffic signals to improve network efficiency and tackle poor local air quality, public realm improvements to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and improved highway design.