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Transport Secretary opens new West Midlands transport hub

The Transport Secretary is shown around West Midlands Regional Transport Control Centre Credit: ITV News Central/Andy Bevan

The Transport Secretary says he's "concerned" about Birmingham City Council's newly-announced Transport Plan, which would ban private cars from driving through the city centre, while allowing public transport full access.

Speaking on a visit to the city today (17th January), Grant Shapps MP criticised the decision to include electric vehicles in the ban, describing it as "an extreme approach."

Today he officially opened the high-tech Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC), and took a tram trip to see work on the new Metro extension as it heads from the city centre to Five Ways.

The Metro, along with the camera control centre is overseen by the West Midlands Combined Authority but the public transport network forms a key part of the Birmingham Transport Plan- announced this week by the City Council.

The RTCC is part of a £22 million project, outlined 18 months ago, to improve co-ordination across public transport and road networks.

The centre will bring together the region's transport authorities and emergency services, by monitoring giant screens displaying CCTV footage of all modes of transport across the city.

Mr Shapps on a tour around RTCC Credit: ITV News Central/Andy Bevan

"It means more accurate travel information and better alternative options for anyone who lives, works or visits the region as well as better journey times and less time spent sat in traffic."

– Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Teams say the data monitored will be used to help shape future improvements to the road network by highlighting congestion hot-spots.

They say the public will also be provided with "up to the minute" updates, that will be sent directly via social media and mobile apps, to warn commuters of congestion ahead of their journey.

Previous pilots proved to be successful during the 2019 Cricket World Cup matches at Edgbaston and traffic build-up around the Birmingham Christmas Markets in December.

"With the eyes of the world turning to Birmingham in 2022, it is essential that we have a reliable, green transport network in place which allows the Midlands to realise its huge potential."

– Grant Shapps MP, Transport Secretary
The new transport hub could help ease congestion at the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Credit: Birmingham City Council

It's hoped the hub will play a huge part in upcoming major events, such as the Coventry City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

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