The Challenge

In order to secure central government funding to tackle the growing congestion problem in the Greater Manchester area, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) required a detailed, flexible and authoritative multi-modal model that could reliably predict the outcomes of proposed schemes in an extremely complex urban context.

The model developed by SYSTRA was powerful enough to support a successful bid for close to £1.5billion to the Department for Transport, although the plan - which included a congestion charging scheme - was rejected when put to the popular vote in a local referendum.

When the congestion charge scheme was voted down, the Association looked for alternative ways to improve public transport and deliver better economic and environmental returns. The SYSTRA transport model was to remain central to these efforts, testing proposals for impact and value for money and resulting in successful bids for DfE funding of the Cross City Bus service and extensions to the Metrolink Tram.

Our team has been delighted to play a part in improving travel around our home town. It is really exciting to see the benefits of our work out on the streets and rails of Manchester.

Nick Benbow, SYSTRA Ltd Manchester Office Manager


SYSTRA collected and processed data on transport use in Greater Manchester and developed a model that could accurately represent demand and patterns of use and forecast changes under a wide range of possible conditions.

We interpreted outputs from the model, including the economic and environmental impacts from proposed interventions, and presented them to the client. An excellent collaborative working relationship with Transport for Greater Manchester meant that we were able to ensure that the objectives and priorities of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities were fully assimilated into the modelling process and assessment feedback.

The model has been successfully used to support a wide range of policy developments, scheme appraisals and successful funding bids since 2007. The model has recently been used to develop options for the extension of the Metrolink tram.