Stations are at the heart of urban regeneration and are driving a new wave of economic and social development in the 21st century. Increasingly, stations redevelopment are at the epicentre of growth and regeneration in European and UK cities and are seen as destinations for working, shopping, living, education and socialising.
Experience in Great Britain and Europe has already shown that investing in public transport infrastructure, particularly in station investment, improves the public transport experience and positively impacts local and regional economies. In addition to providing benefits for passengers, these major transport projects have unlocked development potential of property around the stations and as a result many cities and communities have seen increased regeneration, investment and employment. Research undertaken by Steer Davies Gleave for Network Rail in 2011 demonstrates the important contribution that investment in Hubs / rail stations can make to sustainable, city-led economic development.
Network Rail report that a 10% change (improvement) in rail connectivity can increase the number of jobs within a given area by up to 14%.
Belfast Grand Central Station will improve transport connections, increase the use of public transport and support active travel through cycle hubs and pedestrian linkages. The project will connect with main airports throughout Ireland and will provide a key business and tourist link to Dublin, through the relocation of the Belfast to Dublin (Enterprise) train service.
The transport infrastructure and connections will act as a focal point for people and act as the catalyst for a range of other uses including office, residential, leisure and retail. To deliver this, a visionary station masterplan is being established for Belfast Grand Central Station, setting out its capability to act as a wider catalyst for regeneration through increasing passenger numbers, improving local communities, supporting local businesses and providing opportunities for partnering with private developers.