Dudley is on track to have a “world class” transport system over the next decade, a leading industry figure said today.

Stuart Everton, Black Country Transport Director, says the borough is on the verge of a number of key transport projects which will have a huge impact on public transport.

Stuart is one of the key figures in the Dudley borough Vision – a set of priorities over the next 12 years to transform the borough’s transport, open spaces, health, town centres and much more. Dudley Council, police, health and a range of other partners are working on the detail of the initiative to make it a reality by 2030.

The green-lit £343million Midland Metro extension through the borough is a key part of that work, linking Brierley Hill with Wednesbury. More importantly, the highly anticipated scheme will connect the borough with national transport facilities including key employment sites in Birmingham city centre and the HS2 system close to the NEC.

The line will also be linked up to the Merry Hill centre and the DY5 Dudley’s business and innovation enterprise zone, creating a vital corridor beyond the borough’s boundaries.

Plans for very light rail in Dudley are also pressing ahead, with proposals for an innovation centre on the site of the former Dudley train station in Castle Hill. When complete, the project, which is in partnership between Dudley Council and Warwick Manufacturing Group, will make the borough the global focus for rail innovation.

There are also plans for a new interchange in Dudley, which will not only include Metro but also buses to ensure the town is linked in a number of ways. It will also complement the planned creation of a leisure and retail development dubbed Portersfield, on the site of the old Cavendish House, Trindle Road.

There will also be further investment on the highway network including the A4123 and A461, providing a greater focus on sustainable transport measures such as cycling and walking. Dudley will also act as a test bed for new transport technologies such as driverless vehicles and build on the expertise available with companies such as Westfield Motor Cars.

Stuart Everton, Black Country Transport Director, said: “By 2030 the aim is to ensure that Dudley benefits from a fully integrated transport network providing excellent public transport. We are talking about having a world class transport system that is based around connectivity and convenience that will transform how we travel around the borough and beyond.”

The Dudley News has teamed up with Dudley Council and partners to help launch the ‘Forging a Future for all’ Awards. The 12 awards will recognise people and organisations who are helping improve life in the borough.

It follows the launch of a vision for the future of Dudley which focuses on seven ambitions to create a better borough by 2030 and includes things like

transport, communities, health, and education.

There are 12 award categories - Improving the Local Environment: Outstanding Contribution to Education; Young Achiever; Community; Transportation; Better Connected; Rising Apprentice Star of the Year; Business of the Year; Visitor Attraction of the Year; Visitor Attraction

Volunteer of the Year; Lifetime Achievement; Town Centre Ambassador of the Year.

The winners will be announced at a glitzy black tie event at Copthorne Hotel in Dudley on Tuesday, November 27.

The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 24. To nominate someone or to find out more click here.