How the way was paved for a new model to deliver local authority public transport improvements in Leeds

Financed by £173.5 million of Department for Transport funding and delivered across four years, the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP) has set the bar for improving the local authority transport network.

The programme, which was completed this summer, marks the first time the Department for Transport had devolved funding to a local authority for a large-scale, transformational package of works. 

The programme’s success has largely been driven by the unique way this funding was devolved, to create a strategic relationship between the public and private sector partners, who came together collaboratively to deliver the programme. 

We at BAM have been at the heart of this transformative programme for over four years. 

Building a first-class integrated delivery team

Following decades of population and employment growth in Leeds, the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP) had ambitious aims. It set out to double bus patronage in the city within ten years, improve air quality, reduce congestion on the city’s roads, and improve the experience and accessibility of public transport in Leeds. 

With a short funding window of just four years, and a drive to deliver maximum value for the city, Leeds City Council rethought standard procurement and scheme development. Taking steps which anticipated many themes that now appear within the Construction Playbook, they engaged with the construction industry at the earliest stage. We became delivery partners instead of suppliers and forged a first-class, integrated delivery team, to shape the entire programme together. 

Two design and build delivery teams were engaged, BAM with our design partner Mott MacDonald, and Sisk with Capita. 

These teams worked as part of an eight-strong cohesive team of public and private sector partners who included: Leeds City Council (project management, programme coordination and part funder), the Department for Transport (funder), West Yorkshire Combined Authority (funding partner, budget holder, business case development and project assurance), WSP (development partner) and First Bus (Operator).

Stourton Park and Ride

The UK’s first fully solar powered park & ride at Stourton

Working collaboratively to shape the programme

Together the entire team established a collaborative hub in Leeds city centre, breaking down the traditional boundaries between the client, contractor, funder, designer and supply chain. 

The partners worked in unison to shape the programme, developing a number of potential schemes to outline design and business case, prioritising those that would be taken forward, based on greatest impact. 

Contractors BAM and Sisk provided valuable input into the scheme development stages, reducing the design duration, delivering a more robust budget estimate, driving down costs using value engineering, and through forward planning, maximising our social impact.

Social value was enhanced

The certainty of a four-year programme meant the partners invested time and money confidently, creating unprecedented levels of social impact activities within Leeds. 

These activities went beyond box-ticking statistics, delivering real life-changing opportunities, especially supporting employment for groups who are usually harder to reach. Many people remain employed by the scheme’s partners today. For example, a work placement delivered in partnership with Mencap’s Supported Internship Programme, led to an offer of full time employment within the LPTIP team. 

The challenge of Covid

The integrated and established team environment was well developed when 2020 brought the Covid-19 pandemic with its unpredictable lockdowns and volatile conditions, and the unique resilience we had forged kept us on track to deliver our promises, and meet funding milestones. 

A collaborative Safety Action Group met fortnightly, to share innovations from sites across the city, which helped to keep everybody safe.

Working together the team forged ahead, stayed on track, delivered programmes, remained within budget, and maintained safe working environments.  

Stourton Park and Ride

Wide ranging improvements to bus infrastructure across the city

A new model for local authority public transport improvements

This collaborative public and private sector partnership has set the bar in the UK, for delivering local authority transport improvements. 

It successfully delivered five key transport corridors, wide ranging improvements to bus infrastructure, 1785 new park and ride spaces across three park and ride sites, the UK’s first fully solar powered park and ride at Stourton, enhanced cycling and walking routes, and improvements to neighbourhood and city centre transport hubs. 

Whilst the full impact of the investment has yet to unfold, it has set in motion the trajectory to; double bus patronage in the city within 10-years, reduce carbon emissions by 16,000 tonnes across the next 60-years, and encourage a modal shift away from car use. 

It has also given Leeds a valuable pipeline of ‘shovel ready’ schemes, which were developed by the collaborative partnership, thereby putting the Leeds City Council in a strong position for future investment. 

Not just Leeds, but across the UK

The success of the scheme, and the innovative approaches developed, have already had an impact for the whole of the UK, with LPTIP being cited as a forerunner for the Department for Transport’s £2.45bn Transforming Cities Fund. 

At BAM Nuttall we are celebrating the scheme as a fantastic example of what the construction industry can help others to achieve, when our potential is realised at the outset, and our capacity to support others is expanded beyond that of the traditional client and contractor relationship.

Stourton Park and Ride

Enhanced cycling and walking routes across the city

About the author

Gareth Farrier

Gareth Farrier

Regional Director - BAM Nuttall


Gareth Farrier is the Regional Director for the North of England at BAM Nuttall. He joined BAM Nuttall in 1991 and became Regional Director in 2014. He is currently overseeing a number of high-profile civil engineering schemes within Leeds, including the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2, the David Oluwale Bridge, and the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme.