Airport Access Project / Glasgow Metro
1 Committee Information - View Committee Document1. Purpose
1.1 The purpose of this report is to:
• provide the Cabinet with an update on developments in relation to the Airport Access Project which have taken place since April 2019; and
• to propose the next steps for the Project in light of wider developments in relation to Regional and National transport, including the Glasgow Connectivity Commission recommendations.
2.1 As instructed by Cabinet in April 2019, the Airport Access Project (AAP) team has developed a revised Draft Outline Business Case (OBC) which showed a positive business case for a Cable Pulled Transit (CPT) System.
2.2 The proposed system would provide a shuttle system between Paisley Gilmour Street Station and Glasgow Airport, carrying circa 100 people in 2 cabs on a segregated track which would be elevated on its approaches to the Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station, and at ground level where it followed the line of a disused railway line between those points.
2.3 However, since the identification of this preferred option, a number of key developments have occurred in the transport landscape at a national, regional and local level which could potentially impact upon the current Outline Business Case, including the opportunity to link the AAP with a metro system for the Glasgow area.
3. Local Transport Strategy / Policy Framework
3.1 In April 2019, Glasgow City Council's Connectivity Commission made a recommendation that ‘a Glasgow metro system should be developed, with the first route to be constructed that between Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Airport, capable of being extended to Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as a full Glasgow Metro line and that ‘it is developed as the first stage of a wider strategy to transform the fixed public transport network for the city and region as a whole.'
3.2 Glasgow City Council is currently updating its Local Transport Strategy (LTS) for the City using STAG principles. This Strategy, or Connectivity Plan, will set out a clear set of outcomes for the City in relation to transport up to 2030. It will contain a suite of policies and themes, and will be accompanied by a Delivery Plan identifying key interventions. The LTS will be published by the end of 2020 with the Delivery Plan to follow in 2021.
3.3 A feasibility study on the Metro will particularly inform the Delivery Plan, and it is important to demonstrate the case for an integrated public transport system in the City where bus, Metro, Subway and new forms of mobility can co-exist and offer effective alternatives to car journeys in the City, and, in particular, support the City's most vulnerable communities.
4. Regional Transport Strategy / Policy Framework
4.1 A new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) is currently under development and is at the ‘Issues and Objectives' stage which will identify the main transport issues needing addressed in the West of Scotland, and also seek to agree a vision, objectives and outcomes for the new Strategy.
4.2 The next phase of RTS development will focus on Options. This stage will seek to address identified issues and work towards the vision, objectives and outcomes. The interventions which form those Options will be developed through ongoing engagement with partners, using other development work completed in recent years, and will be appraised in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). The recommendations for interventions from the Connectivity Commission - including a “Metro” style network will be considered for inclusion in the RTS Options appraisal process.
5. National Transport Strategy / Policy Framework
5.1 In September 2019, the Scottish Government published its ‘Programme for Government 2019-2020'', setting out the actions it will take over the next year. It states ‘We welcome the Glasgow Connectivity Commission report and the ambitious vision it sets out for the Glasgow City Region for creating an inclusive, thriving and liveable city. We are committed to working with partners to consider the Commission's recommendations, and as part of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review, we will consider the potential for a Glasgow Metro, which builds on the planned City Region Deal investment to link Glasgow Airport and the new National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland to Paisley Gilmour Street'.
5.2 In February 2020, Transport Scotland published the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) which advocates a vision for Scotland's transport system which will help create great places, a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities businesses and visitors.
5.3 The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years. It will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes set out in NTS2 and will align with other national plans such as the National Planning Framework (NPF4) and the Climate Change Plan.
5.4 STPR2 involves conducting an evidence-based review of the performance of Scotland's strategic transport network across all transport modes – walking, cycling, bus, rail and road to identify interventions required to support the delivery of Scotland's Economic Strategy. A draft Case for Change report for Glasgow City Region was published on 27 February 2020.
6. Proposal Next Steps for AAP
6.1 The statement from Government that they are committed to working with partners to consider the Connectivity Commission's recommendations and, as part of STPR2, will consider the potential for a Glasgow metro, building on the planned City Deal AAP investment, is to be welcomed. This has the potential to see the Airport Access Project incorporated within an ambitious, wider integrated, inclusive public transport system serving the needs of communities and businesses and maximising the potential benefits of the Project.
7. Feasibility Study of the Metro
7.1 Given the potential for the system to be extended to Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as part of a full Glasgow Metro line, it is proposed that the work on the development of the current Preferred Option from the Revised OBC of a Cable Pulled Transit System is paused and a Feasibility Study for the wider Glasgow Metro scheme is instead progressed.
7.2 It would be prudent for this feasibility work to be completed in 2021 to align with the completion of STPR2, providing early information should a Glasgow Metro system be included as a ‘Project' in STPR2.
7.3 The analysis of spatial, environmental and economic data should play a key role in determining the nature and form of the Metro which can act, not only as an opportunity to support modal shift to public transport, but can also serve as a catalyst for reinforcing sustainable economic growth and the delivery of successful place making. The Feasibility Study will focus on technology, the operating model (commercial case) and the economic impacts (economic case), providing key information for any required revisions in the future to the Airport Access Project's Outline Business Case, as would be required by the City Deal Assurance Framework should the Metro present as a feasible alternative option to the existing Preferred Option. Should this be the case the approved city deal funding for the AAP would be allocated as a contribution to the Metro build costs from Paisley Gilmour Street to Glasgow Airport.
8.1 Under the Assurance Framework, the Airport Access Project is being delivered jointly by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council, with Renfrewshire Council as Lead Authority. Given the change in focus of the project, with the potential extension of the project into Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as part of a full Glasgow Metro line, it is proposed that Glasgow City Council should assume the Lead Authority role in the completion of the feasibility study.
8.2 A multi-disciplinary team will be assembled, based within GCC, to oversee the development of the Feasibility Study, working closely with Transport Scotland who will provide direct access to their wealth of expertise and library of studies and reports.
8.3 The Project Steering Group will continue to be co-chaired by the Chief Executives of Glasgow and Renfrewshire. Progress report will shared with the City Region's Transport Portfolio group, the Chief Executives' Group and the Cabinet.
8.4 It is anticipated that development costs of the Feasibility Study can be contained within the existing AAP business case development costs previously agreed by Cabinet in December 20161. It is proposed that a paper outlining the scope, cost and timescale for the feasibility study along with the detailed governance arrangements will be submitted to the Chief Executives' Group in May 2020 for approval.
9.1 The Cabinet is invited to:
a) note the Scottish Government's commitment to consider a Glasgow Metro supporting existing City Deal projects in Glasgow and Renfrewshire, including the Airport Access Project; b) agree that work on further developing the option of the Cable Pulled Transit system for the AAP Project as developed in the revised Outline Business Case is paused to allow a feasibility study to be undertaken on an alternative Metro solution, which would incorporate access to Glasgow Airport via a link from Paisley Gilmour Street Station; c) agree the funds previously approved by Cabinet for business case development costs are used to support the completion of the feasibility study, with the outputs of this work informing any future revisions to the AAP Outline Business Case; d) agree that Glasgow City Council assumes the lead role in progressing the feasibility study as set out in the report; and e) agree that the Chief Executives' Group is given the delegated authority to approve the draw-down of funds required for the completion of the feasibility study, together with agreeing the costs, scope and timescale for the study.