Transport investment and urban regeneration in a provincial city: Sheffield, 1992 - 96


P Lawless

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, land use - impacts


transport investment, urban regeneration, South Yorkshire Supertram (SYS), impacts


The author examines the relationship between transport investment and urban regeneration in an English provincial city. On the whole transport objectives and policy initiatives have not been addressed, in urban policy effected by successive governments since 1977. In part as a consequence, there has been a marked dearth of empirically based intraurban research in which that nexus between transport infrastructure and social and economic renewal has been explored. In the early 1990s, Sheffield proved to be an especially interesting laboratory within which to examine this issue because of the construction of a new light rail-transit system, the South Yorkshire Supertram (SYS), and a substantial programme of new and improved roads. During the period 1992 to 1996, the research team undertook 'before-and-after' surveys of the effects of the SYS and enhanced road provision on five elements of urban regeneration: image, property values, land use, business (re)location, and labour mobility. New investment had only a relatively limited impact on regeneration and, where effects could be identified, enhanced road investment proved significantly more beneficial than did the SYS. However, the policy environment within which the SYS was implemented was never likely to maximise regeneration, primarily because of the lack of integration across regeneration agencies and transport providers.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, copyright remains with them.