Businesses to benefit from the arrival of the tram

As Edinburgh Trams are due to take their first passengers on Saturday morning, Cllr Frank Ross, Economy Convener, has been speaking to media this week about the economic benefits.

He said: “There are many economic benefits to the arrival of Edinburgh Trams.  We have already seen significant investments along the route with the recent £850m announcement at St James Quarter, a developer buying the land at the south side of Edinburgh Park and millions of pounds of investment in the new hub created at Haymarket. This will all lead to significant job creation in the city and in particular will result in many new apprentice opportunities for young people looking for training and employment in Edinburgh.

“I am confident this trend will continue and many more investors will see Edinburgh Trams integrating with our award winning bus service as a reason to invest in the city.”

Business partners across the city and the developer of the St James Quarter have also commented on the arrival on the tram.

David Birrell, CEO of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Transport connectivity is an essential component of a successful, prosperous Edinburgh. There is a real demand from the capital’s business community for a fully integrated transport system and the launch of the trams is a significant element within that goal.”

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh said: "It's an incredibly exciting time for Edinburgh and I'm sure visitors and residents alike will embrace this important new route into the city centre.  Following the major redevelopment at Haymarket, upgrade at Waverley station and ongoing expansion at Edinburgh Airport, the Capital's transport infrastructure is stronger than it’s ever been and now at a level you'd expect from a leading European city. 

"Earlier this year Marketing Edinburgh, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and Essential Edinburgh, launched our new campaign, 'This is Edinburgh'. Its principle aim: bring people living within a couple of hours drive back into the city centre to enjoy its many restaurants, shops and attractions. With free Park & Ride along the route, the trams will play a crucial role in bringing those people into the city either for work or leisure." 

Andy Neal, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted that the trams are launching, bringing people in to the city centre and all that it has to offer – from boosting businesses at the West End of Princes Street, to the heart of the shopping area at the stop at Princes Street/the Mound, through to bringing people to and from the fantastic designer shopping around St Andrew Square. This stop also opens up Rose St, George Street, and all of the fabulous food and drink that people can enjoy throughout the city centre. It is also worth noting that people can also use the trams to take advantage of the park and ride at Ingliston – free parking for the day and a great value £1.50 on the tram into the heart of the city. We expect the trams to help in bringing footfall, spending and even greater ambience to the centre of Edinburgh.”

Graham Birse, Director of the Edinburgh Institute at Edinburgh Napier University Business School, said:  “This is a day many people thought would never come.  The citizens of Edinburgh- and especially the businesses along the tram route- have had to be extremely patient these past seven years.  But there is no doubt that the City Council’s decision to persevere was the right one.  Now we will see here in Edinburgh the direct benefits- in transport connectivity and economic growth- that tram systems have brought elsewhere in the UK and Europe.”

Robin Worsnop, Chair of ETAG, said: “The launch of the trams is a very exciting moment for Edinburgh as it will showcase us as a modern European capital city, investing in itself to dynamically grow over the long term. The quality experience the tram will offer, connecting our airport to the city centre, will add to the welcome we give to our domestic and international visitors and help drive our image as a high quality and high value visitor destination.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "When we're selling Edinburgh to the world, investment and infrastructure are important to airlines. 

"This investment in Edinburgh's transport network underlined the city's commitment to attracting visitors and will certainly assist us in bringing new routes to the Capital."

Hugh Rutherford, Chair of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said: “The significant increase in office market activity in West Edinburgh over the last 12 months can definitely, in part, be attributed to the imminent arrival of the Tram.  Activity has been particularly strong on Edinburgh Park.  Quality affordable office space coupled with strong transport links as a result of the tram have been instrumental in attracting and retaining key organisations in West Edinburgh.  I am confident this is a trend we will see continuing as the tram gets up and running.  West Edinburgh now benefits from tram, rail and bus public services which should assist in reducing congestion at peak times to this popular office district.”

Rhona Allison, Director of Company Growth, Scottish Enterprise, said: “The launch of the Edinburgh Trams is hugely exciting, and what better year to launch than 2014, when the eyes of the world are focused on us.

World class infrastructure is essential to enable us to further develop an internationally competitive business environment in Scotland. This project will see Edinburgh airport linked to the City Centre, building on Edinburgh’s outstanding reputation as an attractive location for foreign direct investment.”

Gordon Henderson, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “An integrated mass transport system connecting flights, trams, trains and busses allows people to work, shop, relax, and spend money more easily so we welcome the start of Edinburgh’s tram service and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our members and their businesses.”

Martin Perry, Director of Development for TIAA Henderson Real Estate: “We know from our experience that high quality public transport can be a powerful force stimulating investment and development, as well as providing an efficient means to connect modern cities. The delivery of the tram in Edinburgh has been a key factor in helping shape our decision to invest in the heart of Edinburgh.”

Further information

Impact on Edinburgh Park / West Edinburgh

  • The tram will link Edinburgh Airport to the city centre.
  • There are two stops in Edinburgh Park, at the Northern End and the Southern End, adjacent to Edinburgh Park rail station – this area of Edinburgh Park is still to be developed.
  • The tram will also provide a direct link between Edinburgh Park and the rail interchange being planned at Gogar.
  • The tram will help to deliver the development of the Southern End of Edinburgh Park (expected to take 15-20 years). Assuming an average build cost of £130 per square foot (1,400 per m2), this has the potential to provide up to 100 permanent jobs in the construction industry.
  • In December 2013, a very large chunk of development land at the Gyle, jointly owned by the Council and the Miller group, was sold for 50 per cent more than expected.
  • It has been calculated that the partial realisation of the West Edinburgh Planning Framework vision – including the delivery of the tramline – could create the equivalent of up to 5,000 new full-time jobs in West Edinburgh between 2006 and 2031, adding £0.9 billion to the economy each year.

Impact on Residential Property Values

It is difficult to predict the impact on property values, until the line is up and running.


In Dublin, over the period between the start of construction and six months after the tram system opening in 2004, houses within a five minute walk of a tram stop had increased in value by 15% to 20% more than properties elsewhere in the city.

The value of properties within 500 to 2,000 metres of tram stops in Dublin are on average between 7% and 17% higher than properties in areas not on the route. The value of properties close to stops rose by an average of 54% between 2002 and 2005 compared to 37% for areas not on the route.


The value of residential properties in the catchment areas of the Naples Metro system in Italy increased by an average of 37.8% between 2001 and 2005 compared to 27.8% in areas not on the route. The value of commercial properties rose by an average of 57.7% compared to 48.1% in areas not on the route, while the value of retail properties rose by an average of 31.1% compared to 22.8% in areas not on the route.


Property values along the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis in the United States increased by an average of 83% between 2000 and 2004, compared to 61% for the city as a whole.

St Louis

The value of residential properties located 100 feet from a MetroLink station in St. Louis in the USA is on average 32.7% higher than the value of properties located 1,460 feet from a station.


The value of residential properties located close to commuter rail stations in the Netherlands is on average 25% higher than the value of properties located 15 kilometres or more from a station.

Wider Regeneration


Trams change perceptions of cities. They mark a step-change in transport, and are an indication that a city has been investing in its future success.

In Croydon, surveys of residents and businesses showed that the Tramlink made a very significant positive difference to perceptions of the area before the scheme opened in 2000. Many respondents viewed Croydon as a town in decline. However, after opening, most saw the area as experiencing regeneration and expansion:

In one series of interviews, all stakeholders saw Tramlink as a unique and invaluable marketing tool, and most people said the system had  ‘helped create a more modern and  European feel for the town’.

29m people used the Croydon tramlink up to 2012  - 45% more than when it launched in 2000. It was extended in 2012.


Trams can help to bring in investment for regeneration. Without Metrolink iin Manchester it is highly unlikely that the successful regeneration of Salford Quays would have taken place. The Salford Quays extension cost £150 million but created over 3,000 permanent jobs, stimulated £60 million of investment by business and boosted the economy of Greater Manchester by £70 million a year.

Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.


The City of Edinburgh Council news blog - letters, opinion, news snippets, video, photos and more.....

Recent posts