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Urban transport authorities set out vision for change

Urban transport authorities set out vision for change

Blueprint for better urban transport shows way forward on devolution and investment

As the party conference season begins the Urban Transport Group (which represents the seven largest urban transport authorities in England) has set out its vision for a partnership between national government and transport authorities to deliver high quality and integrated transport networks which support sustainable and inclusive growth at a time of rapid technological and social change.

The report, ‘Policy futures for urban transport’, published today (18th September)  sets out how, with more focused governance in place, the city regions are delivering major investment programmes including on public transport, highways and active travel, and smart ticketing. The report says that – with the right national policy framework – further and faster progress can be made, including:

  • ensuring that the benefits of transformative technological change are maximised including new ways of paying for access to transport, connected and autonomous vehicles and data;
  • that barriers between different sectors are broken down so that the benefits that transport can bring to achieving wider policy goals – in areas like health, employment and education – are fully realised.

Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus and the Chair of Urban Transport Group said:

‘From the expansion of tram and light rail networks to the promotion of active travel and the introduction of smart ticketing, transport is changing for the better in our major urban areas. However, we want to go further and faster and this report sets out how. It builds on the expertise of the transport authorities for our largest urban areas and turns that into a route map for what an effective working relationship between government and the city regions should look like on transport. A key immediate priority has to be ensuring that the 2017 Buses Act is fully implemented as soon as is practicable to give the city regions a more effective set of powers to transform bus networks – in particular through smart and simple ticketing.’

Among the 16 policy changes the vision advocates are:

  • Greater stability and a more long term approach to local transport funding
  • Moving quickly to fully implement the 2017 Bus Services Act to give transport authorities the powers they need to radically improve bus services
  • A more ambitious national policy framework on air quality so that the city regions can play their part in tackling local air quality problems
  • An ambitious national active travel strategy that accelerates growth in the number of trips made on foot and by bike whilst recognising the need for adequate funding for its devolved delivery
  • Keeping up on momentum on rail devolution by extending its benefits more widely and deeply
  • More effective strategic and operational partnerships between the city regions and Highways England / Network Rail to ensure that national and sub-national road and rail links are managed and developed in an integrated way

Urban Transport Group has a presence at each of the major party conferences this year, and will be promoting Policy Futures and its vision on its exhibition stand as well as at fringe meetings at Labour and Conservative party conferences. Details can be found be found at www.urbantransportgroup.org/media-centre/autumn-party-conferences….

Speakers include Val Shawcross CBE (Deputy Mayor of London, Transport), Lilian Greenwood MP  (Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee), Tobyn Hughes (Managing Director of Nexus and Chair of the Urban Transport Group) and Stephen Joseph OBE (Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport.

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