Wakefield has good transport links to the wider region and UK, being served by the M1 and M62 motorways and an extensive network of rail and bus services. The Transport Plan target is for 96% of district residents to be able to reach one of the three main centres (Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract) by public transport within 45 minutes.
Private car numbers continue to grow. The proportion of Wakefield households that have a car or van (73%) has now caught up with the England rate (74%), and on average there are now 1.5 cars per car-owning household. More people use their cars to travel to work in Wakefield than in the region as a whole and nationally, and journeys tend to be longer. This is likely to reflect the dispersed nature of settlements in the district. Nevertheless, the 2011 census showed that 36% of people travelled less than 5km to work each day.
Rush-hour survey data show that car travel in Wakefield is the dominant mode of transport for commuting. Over the last eight years car usage has dropped and train usage and walking has increased.
Percent of inbound journeys by people during morning rush-hour in Wakefield. Source: Wakefield Council
The new Wakefield Westgate station building opened in 2014 and Wakefield Kirkgate has been renovated. Wakefield Westgate is by far the busiest of the district’s 16 stations, with over two and a half million passengers using the station per year.
Estimates of railway station usage (people entering or exiting). Source: Office of Rail and Road
Overall, the 2011 Census shows that among nearby local authorities the only net loss of commuters is to Leeds. For all the other districts there are more people coming into Wakefield each day to work than there are going the other way.
Major Road Projects
The Wakefield Eastern Relief Road opened in April 2017. The road will provide access for residents of the new homes to be built at City Fields and improve access to Wakefield city centre and the wider district and motorway network. The City Fields development will cover 152 hectares to the East of Wakefield city centre. It should provide approximately 2,500 new homes and include facilities for leisure, retail and commerce. Development is likely to last 15-20 years.