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What do you need to know about the Transforming Cities Fund?

In March, the Department for Transport launched the £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund. Here’s all you need to know…


The £1.7bn capital fund for transport schemes in England’s largest city regions aims to enhance UK productivity through improved connectivity.

Half of the Fund is already allocated to the following six Mayoral Combined Authorities; Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, Greater Manchester, West of England, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the West Midlands.

But the remaining £840m is still up for grabs to city regions through a competitive process.

Who can apply?

Any English local transport authority outside London are eligible to apply. But the six Mayoral Combined Authorities receiving automatic allocations are ineligible to apply.

The fund is targeted at city regions with a workday population over 200,000 people. Remember though, if a functional city geography does not reflect a local authority boundary but a clear ‘city region’ can be defined, local authorities can bid jointly.

What is the process?

In phase 1, applications submitted must define the key transport challenges and productivity issues, describing the wider fit with other stakeholders and investment pots, and outline a vision for improved connectivity.

Government will then shortlist up to 10 city regions for further consideration in phase 2. In the 2nd phase Government will work collaboratively with the shortlisted city regions to develop bespoke packages of schemes which will be scrutinised.

The deadline of June 8 for  phase 1 submissions is approaching quickly; so remember to focus on these three key themes: Definition and Challenges, Who and Where, and Ambition for Change. 

Where to start?

Our advice to any authority wishing to apply would be to start now and focus on the following areas:

Define your case for investment

  • Define your ‘city region’  undertake initial research and analysis to determine if you are likely to qualify in terms of the size of the workday population
  • Define and evidence your challenge
  • Identify and prioritise the main corridors or places for investment

Engage and collaborate with others

  • Early engagement with adjacent transport authorities to scope out your city region and identify problems
  • Seek input from stakeholders to demonstrate support e.g. local businesses, academia
  • Identify what additional funding could be raised

Integrate the proposal with wider plans and strategies

  • Demonstrate how proposals will support and integrate with wider long-term plans and spatial strategies for growth and air quality
  • Align with the DfT’s Transport Investment Strategy and the Government’s Industrial Strategy to address the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge

This blog was written by WSP Development Techincal Director, David Wildman.