'Back city regions to deliver integrated transport'

 

Bosses at large urban transport authorities have called for faster progress towards improved transport networks, including full implementation of the Bus Services Act, a ‘more ambitious’ air quality strategy and more funding for active travel.

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The Urban Transport Group (UTG), which represents the country’s seven largest urban transport authorities, said its new report sets out ‘a vision for a partnership between national government and transport authorities to deliver high quality and integrated transport networks that support sustainable and inclusive growth’.

It said the report, Policy futures for urban transport, sets out how city regions are delivering major investment programmes including on public transport, highways, active travel, and smart ticketing.

The report says that with the right national policy framework 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
  • breaking down barriers between different sectors so the benefits that transport can bring to achieving wider policy goals - in areas like health, employment and education - are fully realised

UTG chair Tobyn Hughes 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.

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UTG chair Tobyn Hughes

‘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.’

The report says that although the Bus Services Act is in place there is still a need to implement all the secondary legislation and guidance to make the new legislation fully usable.

Among the 16 policy changes the UTG advocates are:

  • greater stability and a more long-term approach to local transport funding
  • 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
 

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