Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus and Chair of the Urban Transport Group, offers his thoughts on our new report – Policy Futures for urban transport.
Over the coming few weeks the major political parties will be getting together to debate their policies for the next few years. Ensuring our urban economies can grow in a sustainable and inclusive way has to be a key part of those debates. We believe modern and efficient transport networks can be the link between policy objectives and delivered results.
Very few other services brings together – or facilitates the success of – the goals of many government departments and agencies. The Urban Transport Group calculated that in 2014 local bus services alone contributed to the policy goals of half of all government departments and 46 policy goals of those departments (41 outside of the DfT).
That’s why we are launching our latest Policy Futures vision – a blueprint that can lead to transformational change for everything from economic development, social mobility and inclusion through to creating the cities we will need for the future.
At its heart, the Policy Futures vision requires a national framework that brings together government and civil service at the national level with the urban transport authorities delivering services in their local areas. Potentially, the barriers between departments and agencies can be lessened so that the benefits that joined-up transport thinking might be realised – in such disparate policy areas such as health, employment and education.
Not only that, a national framework could also deliver real economic and budgetary goals – funding decisions for transport schemes and infrastructure can be streamlined and made more efficient enabling transport authorities to have more control over a more stable funding regime. A more focussed transport framework will unlock additional job opportunities by helping people get into work and increase the skills base of the population by easing access to education and training.
The Policy Futures vision has 16 specific policy changes we would like to see implemented – I won’t list them here, but we will be on hand at the Labour and Conservative party conferences to explain them in detail.
Our member authorities deliver vital urban transport services for millions of people in the UK – and we hope to make their voices, and the voices of our members heard this party conference season.