#Brumtunnels on A38 to reopen in 2 weeks

The second year of the refurbishment of the Queensway tunnels on the A38 are nearly done.

Major works being done this year include renewing the ventilation systems, installation of new security and communications systems.

The tunnels have been shut for these works since July 18 this year.

Last year the tunnels were shut for 6 weeks for upgradation of the LED lighting, fire protection and road resurfacing.

With the reopening just two weeks away, here are a few updates on the works so far:

To remind you about what happened in the tunnels last summer, you can read our older stories here and look at some pictures here, some videos here and our liveblogs about the traffic here.

Q&A:Safer Travel Police on queries and concerns over public transport

Bham Updates bring for us a Storify of the tweets from a live Q&A session with the Safer Travel Police -  a joint force team of the West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police.

Sgt Ben Westwood answered questions and concerns related to public via Facebook and Twitter: #TweetTheSarg

HS2: the Great Debate among approvers and critics

This year’s West Midlands Great Debate saw an almost total consensus among the audience over the realisation of the HS2 railway.

Majority of the people who took part in the event raised their hands when asked by debate chairman Evan Davis if they were in favour of the project.

But through the web and social media, against-HS2 campaign groups heavily criticised the event.

Panellists in favour of the realisation of the HS2 were Glenn Howells Architects’ Davinder Bansall, Birmingham City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore and music producer Pete Waterman.

While the opposition representatives were Campaign to Protect Rural England Chief Executive Shaun Spiers,  economist and entrepreneur Jerry Marshall, and First Class Partnership’s Chris Stokes.

The event was organised by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and other professional institutes working in the built environment sector.

The project, which is planned to initially connect London Euston and Birmingham, has recently gone through the supervision of the Supreme Court due to alleged environmental impact assessment inaccuracies.
 

Watch the video of the debate or read the round-up below:

Research: West Midlands among best in country for rail services

This post was originally published on the Transport Network. Shared here and on Eastside, are some more details on the data revealed from the research on regional rail performance

According to it, London, West Midlands and the North West are the best performing rail regions in terms of overall services, while the East of England and Wales remain low on accessibility.


Overall benchmarking scores put West Midlands and the North West at second place with 50%. London stood at first place here, with 59%.


In terms of growth and usage, London was the highest at 73%, followed by the South East at 56% and the West Midlands at 51%. Factors analysed were trips per head, 10-year growth rate and rail mode share.

The research - Benchmarking Rail Services Across Great Britain - was carried out by consultants, Credo, in association with Campaign for Better Transport.

DfT recommends industry and local government learn from the report.

Peter Wilkinson, director of franchising, Department for Transport said:

“There are challenges for all regions in improving performance. The industry and local government must consider how we best work together to tackle the issues this report raises.”


However, on the service quality front, both London and the West Midlands were quite low with 36% and 41% respectively, compared to the highest scores in Scotland at 55%.


Accessibility scores remain high for London at 68%, followed by the West Midlands at 57%, despite having low value for money scores. East of England emerged the lowest in this category at 17%.

Scottish rail services – which operate under a devolved management for the Scotrail franchise – showed high passenger satisfaction, while Welsh rail services had relatively low levels of usage, accessibility and satisfaction, including the second lowest level for accessibility at 22%.

The research recommends focus on passenger satisfaction around key themes of station cleanliness, security, investments on fleet modernisation and locally identified fare subsidies.

If you have more ideas or questions/comments on improving the presentation of this data, please get in touch @brumtransport

AUDIO: ‘Leaving EU to be a huge setback for disabled people in the UK’ – Richard Rieser

“Our European Union membership has been of great benefit to disabled people – for instance the European Equal Employment directive. Leaving the EU will mean we will go backwards in such things”

said Richard Rieser, founder of Disable History Month.

He chaired the round table session at Moving On Accessible Transport 2013 held at the Coventry Transport Museum on 23 November.

More from him on Europe, UK and accessible transport:

 

VIDEO: ‘Taxis cite health and safety reasons to refuse wheelchair users’ – Sarah Rennie

3 out of 5 taxi drivers refuse to take me, said Sarah Rennie, a wheelchair user who has been using taxis for over 10 years in Birmingham.

Sarah’s comment at the Moving On Accessible Transport 2013 led to an entire segment of discussions on whether licences should be suspended for drivers found discriminating against disabled passengers.

 

Changes needed in taxi licences, shared city spaces for greater accessibility?

“Why do I need to plan my life with military precision just because I’m on a wheelchair”

asked Zara Todd at the Moving On Accessible Transport 2013 round table discussion.

Many others like Zara shared their views as regular public transport and road users, and accessibility and transport experts and the challenges they face every day at the Coventry Transport Museum.

A roundup of the discussions:

More VIDEOS and AUDIOS soon on Brum Transport from Zara Todd, Sarah Rennie, Richard Rieser

VIDEO: Can camera drones be used for traffic management in Brum?

Could local councils replace helicopters with camera-drones to monitor traffic and carry out land surveys?

Drones are a greener and cheaper option. But they need to be used with caution, warns Birmingham based film-maker Didier Soulier from Onedayinmylife Video Productions.

Sharika Nambiar finds out more with Pupul Chatterjee for Brum Transport:

Another cyclist dies in Brum after being hit by lorry

While various cycling groups continue to campaign for better safety of cyclists on the city streets, another fatal collision was reported on Friday morning.

55 year old mother of five, Muthumanaka Pinhamy died on Friday after a collision with a lorry on her way to work.

another cyclist hit by lorry

The  ’Live in Hope’ group continues to campaign for the safety of cyclists and their demand to reduce HGVs on the roads:

VIDEO: What do cyclists do at traffic junctions for their safety?

Chris Lowe, a cyclist from the campaign group Push Bikes, explained to Brum Transport the problems cyclists face at traffic junctions while trying to cross the streets.

In the video here, Chris is at a traffic junction Great Charles Street Queensway. He crosses this junction everyday on his way to work.

He says,

“We either have to learn to cycle in traffic or get off the bike and push it across the street – and neither of them is the best solution. We want a solution that makes a cyclist feel safe.”

Chris feels the £24m grants that were recently announced for Birmingham as a part of the cycle city ambition bid need to focus on buidling cycling infrastructure around traffic junctions.

Earlier on Brum Transport: AUDIO – Mum stops traffic in Kings Heath to make streets safer for cyclists.

Soon to follow: Graham Lennard from the Birmingham City Council on what are the next steps with the £24m cycling funds.