Transport Works!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Liverpool interchange by night

New alliance makes case for big city transport investment

For the first time the evidence base for investing in urban transport has been brought together in a single website: www.transportworks.org.

The website – ‘Transport Works’ – launched today (6th September 2011) aims to be a one stop shop for accessing the evidence and the arguments for investing in urban transport. It also provides this information in a way that meets the needs of different audiences, from the general public and journalists; through to Whitehall decision makers, academics and economists. Transport Works does this through quick pdf, web-based briefings and key facts, as well as through a comprehensive and thematic ‘evidence base’ library.

Transport Works is supported by big city think tanks and organisations - pteg, Core Cities and Centre for Cities, as well as the Campaign for Better Transport. The website will also provide an up-to-date news service as new research and initiatives emerge around the case for greater investment in urban transport.

The Transport Works website shows that:

  • The annual cost of congestion in urban areas is £11 billion pounds
  • There are £3 of benefits for every £1 spent on urban transport networks
  • Rail journeys increased by 158% in the city regions between 1995 and 2007/8
  • 38% of job seekers say transport is a key barrier to getting a job

In summarising the comprehensive evidence base on the site, Transport Works shows that:

'time and time again the research carried out in this area suggests that investing in transport in congested urban areas is one of the best value forms of transport investment there is. This is in part because in larger urban areas an effective public transport network can also promote ‘agglomeration effects’, where additional economic efficiencies are gained when particular sectors and activities locate close to one another.’

Chair of pteg Geoff Inskip said:

‘There’s a very strong economic, environmental and social case for investing in public transport in the city regions. Yet it’s a case that has not been as articulated as effectively as it has been in London - where transport spending has surged in recent years. Indeed never before has this case been brought together in a web-based format which can be updated as new research emerges. With the demise or organisations like Northern Way, we believe that Transport Works can fill a gap in ensuring that the evidence base is both robust, accessible and convincingly communicated.’

Chris Murray, Director of Core Cities said:

‘Cities drive our economy – the Core Cities urban areas alone produce 27% of England’s wealth. Business locates in and around cities to exploit the benefits of agglomeration, skills and the clustering of economic sectors. But successful cities also require a high quality asset base, which must include first class urban and inter-urban transport networks if they are to compete in a global market place for business. There’s a common sense angle to this debate, but when we are talking about multi-million pound programmes of investment, making the case must be based on hard evidence. This portal will allow those involved in making – and assessing - the case to access that evidence in an easy and reliable way. This project is an important contribution to the urban transport policy debate.’

Joanna Averley, Interim Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said:

'We welcome the new Transport Works website as a helpful tool for raising the profile of urban transport issues. Integrating transport investment and services with the needs of employers and their staff is critical to supporting the economic prosperity of cities. Transport Works provides a forum for members of the public, the transport industry, businesses and politicians to help progress the debate on infrastructure investment. This can only be positive for our cities.'

Stephen Joseph, Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

'The evidence from round the world is that investing in high quality, affordable public transport is key to making cities work and being attractive places to live, work and invest. Public transport investment is also key to tackling poverty and disadvantage in cities, especially by improving access to jobs and training. The material in this website draws this evidence together, and shows also that public transport has a huge contribution to make to reducing cities' carbon emissions and air pollution. I hope policy-makers will use the evidence here in forming future urban policies and in their spending decisions.'

Professor David Begg said:

‘A key challenge we face is to increase the UK spend on transport so that we’re no longer the European laggards when it comes to how much we spend on transport. Transport Works provides the kind of robust evidence base that we need to demonstrate why transport is critical for future economic prosperity.’

ENDS

Notes to editors

Transport Works can be found at http://www.transportworks.org/.

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485.