This interim report sets out the methodology the Commission will use to undertake its Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North. This will inform the government’s own integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands, which will address the sequencing and integration of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and other major rail schemes.

The Commission’s interim report sets out a new methodology it proposes to use to undertake the assessment, to avoid considering transport in isolation and the risks of channeling public investment into places already performing well economically. The Commission instead intends to focus on:

  • Economic growth and competitiveness – including improving productivity through agglomeration, unlocking investment in land around stations, improving trade and connectivity between places in the Midlands and the North, with Scotland, and with the rest of the world
  • Sustainability and quality of life – including increasing access to amenities such as hospitality, entertainment, and other services, improving reliability and assessing the lifecycle carbon emissions and impact on natural capital, including by considering the impact of freight on carbon emissions and congestion.

The report sets out the Commission’s plans to offer government options for packages of proposals that are deliverable, affordable, and that accelerate and maximise benefits to the Midlands and the North.

A separate technical annex on the fiscal remit and the assessment’s budget accompanies this report.