TRANSPORT connections across the North of England could be transformed with an ambitious 30 year improvement plan, claim civic and business leaders.
Launching a new draft Strategic Transport Plan, Transport for the North claims that major road and rail infrastructure improvements across the region could result in 850,000 new jobs being created and a £100 billion economic boost.
The plan proposes schemes aimed at making it easier for people and goods to travel across the region, with seven 'corridors' of opportunity identified as being key to success of the plan as well as a Northern Powerhouse Rail, a fast and reliable rail network linking the North's six biggest cities.
Bolton and Bury are included in the three of the 'corridors' — the West and Wales, Central Pennines and Southern Pennines.
The plan states that congestion, efficiency, capacity and reliability of transport links in the North West and Wales area are constraining economic growth and so interventions are needed to improve matters.
And in the Pennines corridors the plan states that there is a need to enhance road and rail capacity as well as providing alternatives to existing routes.
A rolling programme of smart ticketing, integrated across the North of England, is also being introduced to be completed by 2021.
Transport for the North estimates that to deliver the Strategic Transport Plan it will cost £2-2.3 billion per year, equating to around £150 per person in the region.
Launching the plan, John Cridland, Transport for the North chairman, said: “The North is a rich, diverse region and home to around 16 million people. "We have vibrant communities, buzzing cities, five stunning national parks, an abundance of talent and a wealth of high-performing businesses. 
"Transport for the North’s vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.
“For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the North fulfils its potential. 
"This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment.”
Think tank IPPR North claims that currently £1,943 is being spent per person in London on current or planned transport projects, compared with just £427 in northern England.
The public are now being asked to share their thoughts about the Strategic Transport Plan during a 13 week consultation period. The full plan and further details are available at
Transport for the North is set to be given statutory status in April, meaning its plans must be formally considered by the Government when decisions about transport investment in the North are made.