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Prioritise Northern infrastructure, says RSA report

Words: Sam Waddicor

A new report prioritises investment in connectivity between Northern cities in a list of key recommendations.

The report by the RSA City Growth Commission, entitled Connected Cities, said that doing this would act as a counterbalance to London and the South-East.

The overall aim of the report was to argue that cities need more freedom to make decisions in their own best interests with regard to transport - instead of relying on the government’s central decisions on infrastructure investment that only really apply to London and the South-East.

It also says cities need to be able to work together and pool resources to enable pan-regional investment that would create more productive transport systems. However, the report concludes that better connectivity doesn’t necessitate high-speed rail links such as HS3.

The report also recommends that the government should order a comprehensive review of how it plans to meet the nation's current and future digital infrastructure needs, with particular reference to the high-speed broadband market.

It also calls for a measuring system that accurately takes into account all the potential economic benefits. Currently, the Treasury’s Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) tool is used, but the report found that this was the only method being used by many government departments to judge the economic benefits of schemes.

The report, part of a series of reports finishing in October 2014, can be downloaded here.