COMMUTERS across Tyne and Wear are to benefit from £5m of Government money that will make their trips to and from work easier and greener, following a successful funding bid from the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).

The funding, from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, aims to remove potential barriers to employment, support economic growth and protect the environment across Tyne and Wear. The money will pay for a package of sustainable transport options targeted on employment areas near the A1 Western Bypass, the region’s most congested road, and will focus on Newcastle, Gateshead, Washington, Team Valley and the MetroCentre.

The project will be called Go Smarter to Work and will complement an existing suite of measures aimed at parents, carers and young people called Go Smarter to School which is designed to cut congestion caused by the ‘school run’.

ITA Chair Cllr David Wood said: “This is great news for the travelling public and we can’t wait to begin our programme of simple and effective measures that will improve the lives of thousands of workers and their families. By making commuting easier we help improve productivity and will grow our economy and create jobs.

“The Department for Transport recognised this bid’s strengths and saw that it will make a real impact on one of our region’s biggest problems. We are already making a difference to the ‘school run’, it’s now time to turn our attention to commuter congestion.”

Proposals include:

* Improved infrastructure including bus priority lanes, pedestrian routes and cycle parking at metro stations

* Funding for smart phone applications and websites that provide reliable and up to date information about bus and Metros

* Helping job seekers to pay for public transport and supporting scooter hire projects

One company set to benefit from some of the £5m funding is

Community Interest Company (CIC) which provides a personal travel planning service for those who travel to Team Valley.

Peter Wignall, Project Director CIC, said: “It’s great Tyne and Wear ITA has got this money from central Government. It will mean the CIC can increase the scale of its current work, which involves helping as many people as possible get to Team Valley easily and emphasising to companies what a great place Team Valley is to do business in. All those who work, learn, visit or shop here will feel real benefits.”

In addition to its work with commuters, employers and schools, the ITA is also currently working on a Better Bus Area Fund project to address delays to buses and to improve all aspects of the journey experience along key corridors across Tyne and Wear.

Transport minister Norman Baker said: “The scheme we are funding will improve life for people in Tyne and Wear and show that cutting carbon and boosting economic growth and opportunity can go hand in hand.”

To find out more about the Go Smarter project go to