Design Review in Birmingham

Birmingham is often considered the car capital of the United Kingdom, as a historic hub for major automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar, Land Rover and MG. It’s no surprise that its transportation infrastructure has historically revolved around private cars. But in the past two decades, Birmingham’s government has tried to shift to more sustainable, friendly transit modes, implementing a light-rail system, numerous cycling programs, and taking back control of the commuter rail system from commercialization.

A rendering of the proposed Sprint enhanced bus in service.

As part of this transition, BRTPlan was brought in to lead an expert design review of a new enhanced bus system known as “Sprint” which Birmingham intends to deliver in 2022. Alongside colleagues Ascendal and AECOM, BRTPlan critically analyzed the proposed design of the Sprint network across multiple areas of the project, from route structures and service planning, to infrastructure design and fare collection.

On one of the proposed corridors, twelve routes operated simultaneously, but only one was set to be prioritized as pat of the Sprint project. BRTPlan’s alternate service design brought the authority and the operator back to the drawing board for a rethink of the service plan.

BRTPlan produced a formal Design Review report for Transport for West Midlands, the local transit authority overseeing the Sprint project; as well as a series of workshops on-location to guide TFWM and the detailed design contractor on how to improve the project as proposed. BRTPlan provided detailed and concrete recommendations consistent with the BRT Standard, aimed at delivering a high-quality Sprint service that will turn Birmingham away from its historically car-centric nature.