There has been much talk recently in the UK (before, during and even after, the election) about improving rail links to, and in, the north of England.  HS2 (the high speed link to London) might get all the publicity (and almost all of the money) but the government is also promising to invest in local rail and even buses.

This is good news for UK productivity.

Manchester and Birmingham punch below their weight when compared to similar sized cities in Euro

At present, neither of them has particularly good transport infrastructure and certainly nothing resembling an integrated transport plan.

Of course, transport is not the only area that must be addressed (skills is certainly another important contender for ‘key’) but it can support other investment and other development.

So, I welcome the promises of investment – and I will watch the developments with interest … but I hope to see evidence of multi-mode integration planning  … and I hope to see the productivity fruits in 10 years and more.

We would like higher productivity now, but that is unrealistic.  It is important to put down the foundations now – and await the benefits that should come.