Mayors of London and West Midlands sign first of its kind deal on sharing knowledge

The first ever partnership between two devolved local authorities on sharing best practice and working towards common goals has been created between London and the West Midlands.

It’s part of an effort to ensure that mistakes and disruptions to major infrastructure projects are kept to a minimum and enable the two authorities to learn from each other in the pioneering knowledge sharing agreement.

The deal covers a range of areas in which both organisations believe they could benefit from working together. As part of the arrangement, the authorities will explore analysis of road and public transport flows between the West Midlands and London to improve connectivity and allow for better traffic and congestion modelling between the cities. 

Both will also be working with local businesses and freight organisations to help consolidate and retime freight deliveries to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Transport for London (TfL) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The two respective mayors Sadiq Khan and Any Street were in London’s Traffic Control Centre yesterday (17 July) to see how staff who monitor the capital’s road network 24 hours a day operate and both welcomed the agreement.

With Coventry already planning a range of exciting outdoor activities as the UK City of Culture 2021 and Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022, as well as being in talks to host the UK round of the Formula-E, it is hoped that working together to share knowledge and experience on developing customer information will ensure all these events are as successful as the London 2012 Games.

Commenting on the agreement, Khan said: “London and Birmingham face many of the same challenges so I am delighted that the signing of this agreement further strengthens our commitment to work together. Among other things, sharing information will help us better deal with major incidents, manage world-class sporting events and reduce congestion, improving our cities for everyone.”

Street, the mayor of the West Midlands added: “In the next few years the West Midlands will be playing host to huge events requiring us to be at the top of our game in terms of managing transport, particularly on our public transport networks. Transport for London has a wealth of experience in accommodating extra travellers and we’re keen to tap into this knowledge ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture. This Memorandum of Understanding is an important first step in making sure all future events are remembered for the show the West Midlands puts on, not for any challenges the transport networks might face.”

The latest deal put in place by the two areas builds on a meeting held last month where all eight regional and city-wide mayors met in Liverpool and called on the government for greater devolution of powers and funding over skills.

At the meeting they signed a joint statement calling for further reforms to the skills system, including more control over Apprenticeship Levy funds to boost skills in their areas. After Khan and Street met in London, a delegation from TfL is set to visit Birmingham later in the summer to discuss how both organisations can work with the freight industry and its customers in the business community to help minimise the impact of major events and construction work.

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