England's Economic Heartland has commissioned Immense Simulations to develop a ground-breaking policy scenario modelling tool for the transport system in the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge growth corridor.
The tool will enable Heartland partners to look at 'what if' scenarios stretching out to 2050, and to explore their relative impacts.
Working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Planning Authorities across the region, the modelling tool will enable the implications of alternative policy scenarios to be considered and debated. This will in turn shape the development of the region's overarching transport and connectivity study - work on which has now started.
The scale of the economic potential across the Heartland is immense, and realising that potential has been identified by the Government as a national priority. However, transformational economic activity will require investment in infrastructure and services that is itself transformational. And in looking to the future there's a need to anticipate fundamental changes in the way society is enabled by the digital economy.
The policy scenario modelling tool will for the first time provide the Heartland partners with the means of exploring such issues.
Cllr Heather Smith, chairman of EEH's Strategic Transport Forum, said: "This tool will enable us to explore the implications of different policy scenarios on our region's transport system.
"Transformational investment in schemes such as East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge expressway, alongside disruptive technology and new developments, are going to create new opportunities across our transport system and we need to be able to explore them as part of our work on the overarching Transport Strategy. As we move forward we'll use the output from the tool to engage the region's businesses and residents in a debate on the future shape of our transport system.
"The policy scenario tool is another demonstration of how our Transport Strategy will be shaped by new approaches to policy development. The tool is the second element of our regional evidence base.
"The first – our database - was itself ground breaking bringing together for the first time existing baseline information together for the Heartland area into a single overview. Reaction to the database has been enthusiastic as our partners for the first time have had access to a comprehensive overview of our evidence baseline."
Carl Goves, Chief Engineer at ImSim, said: "We're excited to be working alongside England's Economic Heartland to deliver a ground breaking simulation of the region's mobility needs through to 2050.
"This virtual world, and the insight from our tools, will enable the EEH team to simulate different scenarios and evaluate the impact they will have in a zero-risk environment. By envisioning the future mobility needs across the region, EEH can make great decisions to the benefit of residents and businesses alike."