Debate on transport for towns, House of Commons, 19 February 2019

The Government has made the future of transport and mobility a ‘grand challenge’ in its Industrial Strategy. Councils have an important role to play in this.


Key messages

  • The Government has made the future of transport and mobility a ‘grand challenge’ in its Industrial Strategy. Councils have an important role to play in this, as they can promote new transport technologies and enhance transport connectivity in our towns.
  • Councils strongly support active means of travel in our towns and cities. It is a key way of tacking many transport and health public policy problems. Increasing the use of active travel will improve congestion, air quality and obesity rates, which in turn have substantial societal benefits.
  • Bus usage is declining across the country. The reduction in the levels of subsidy from central government to councils has exacerbated this decline. Our latest analysis shows that nearly half of all bus routes are under threat due to the underfunding of concessionary fares by over £650 million.
  • There is currently a £9.3 billion roads repair backlog, meaning Government investment in local roads maintenance is critical.ii We were pleased to see £420 million announced in the Budget for council road maintenance in 2018/19.iii However, councils are still fixing a pothole every 21 seconds on average.
  • Local authorities are determined to improve air quality in their areas, including through the promotion of cleaner forms of transport. However, a lack of long-term government funding is a clear barrier to significant measures to tackle air pollution.
  • Many councils are embracing autonomous, connected, electrified and shared transport options in their areas. There are many good examples of where the work councils are doing to improve and modernise their transport networks across the country.

Download the full briefing: Debate on transport for towns, House of Commons, 19 February 2019