17 July 2019

England's Economic Heartland (EEH) is encouraging a fresh perspective on the future of the region's transport system by launching Vision 2050, a 'competition' for students, post graduates and professionals in the earlier stages of their careers.

The Sub-national Transport Body for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and surrounding areas launched its Outline Transport Strategy: Framework for Engagement on July 16 at its annual conference at the University of Hertfordshire.

It marks the start of a conversation with the region's people and businesses about how the transport system needs to evolve to support economic growth, in ways that secure environmental 'net gain' and improve residents' quality of life. This will shape the overarching Transport Strategy, due for consultation in the first half of 2020.

As part of this engagement, students and people who have more recently embarked on their careers are being invited to submit up to 500 words on how the transport system should fulfil EEH's vision of 'connecting people and places with opportunities and services' up to 2050.

Entries should relate back to the three priority principles which underpin the strategy: economic growth; accessibility and inclusion; and quality of life and environment. Submissions may wish to give a broad overview of the future transport system, or focus on a single element, mode or priority principle.

Entries will be published in a special document to accompany EEH's formal consultation on the draft Transport Strategy. In addition, three of the most innovative entries chosen by the judging panel will have their ideas brought to life in a series of images produced by spatial design agency, 5th Studio, which has produced eye-catching Future Visions for EEH's Outline Transport Strategy.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of EEH's Strategic Transport Forum, said: "It is absolutely clear that a different approach is required if the Heartland is to achieve its ambitions for economic growth in a way which enhances the environment and improves quality of life. Therefore, it makes sense to get a fresh perspective from a new generation of people, whose voices might not traditionally be heard as loudly as their more experienced colleagues.

"We are looking for innovative answers to existing and future challenges and opportunities. So for example, entrants may wish to consider the role of data, new and emerging technologies, policy initiatives and reforms, and spatial planning in improving the transport system of the future."

The deadline for entries is December 13, 2019. For more information and to submit your entry, please email Adam King on aking@englandseconomicheartland.com