Urban Transport Next events

Urban Transport Next is a series of free, one-hour, online events hosted by the Urban Transport Group.

Held at lunchtime, each event is a conversation about the future of urban transport, covering topics ranging from active travel and climate change to diversity and COVID-19.

Our eleventh Urban Transport Next event, taking place on 26th January, 12-1pm, is 'Delivering a greener future' and will explore how freight can help decarbonise city regions. Click here for more details and to book your free place. 

The events are also made available on our podcast channels PodbeanAppleGoogle and Spotify, where you can subscribe. You can also play back the full videos on YouTube

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Urban Transport Next 01: The revolution will not be motorised… took place on Thursday 26 November 2020.

It featured:

  • Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield City Region Active Travel Commissioner
  • Ben Still, Managing Director of West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Urban Transport Group’s active travel lead, and
  • Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans (interviewer)

The conversation covered hot topics in active travel, from whether cycling is elitist, to how to maintain soaring cycling levels witnessed during the initial COVID-19 national lockdown.

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here

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Urban Transport Next: 02 – All on board? A lunchtime conversation on how to bring about a more diverse transport industry – took place on 28th January 2021. It discussed how to bring about a more diverse transport industry that better reflects the people and places it serves.

It featured:

  • Staynton Brown, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent at Transport for London
  • Joanna Ward, Women in Transport; Associate Transport Planner, Elliott Wood; Board Member, Transport Planning Society
  • Interviewer, Dr Clare Linton, Policy and Research Advisor, Urban Transport Group

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here

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Urban Transport Next 03: The Tyne and Wear Metro at 40 - A lunchtime conversation on what’s next for Britain’s innovation railway? - took place on 24th February 2021. The episode celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Tyne and Wear Metro. The wide-ranging discussion took in the history of Metro, hearing how devolution was key in realising the initial vision and how the system has, and continues to be, a key part of the North East’s identity. The conversation also focused on how Metro has responded to the COVID-19 crisis and what its future will look like post-pandemic, with its new fleet of trains and potential extensions to the network. 

It featured:

  • Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director, Transport North East and Director General of Nexus
  • Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus
  • Mike Parker, the former Director General of Nexus

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here

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Urban Transport Next 04: After the pandemic - A lunchtime conversation on what the future looks like for urban transport - took place on 25 March 2021. The episode explored what the landscape for public transport might look like post-pandemic. The conversation touched upon how taking both a rational and emotional approach could encourage people back to public transport; the use of technology and communications to manage returning commuter peaks, and the role of on-demand public transport services in this new, COVID-19 world.

It featured: 

  • Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General, UITP (International Association of Public Transport)
  • Laura Shoaf, Managing Director, Transport for West Midlands and Chair, Urban Transport Group
  • Interviewer, Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here


Urban Transport Next 05: Sharing is caring - A lunchtime conversation on how shared mobility can play a bigger role in UK transport policy - took place on Thursday 29th April 2021. The episode explored why the car is still king in the way that Britons get about. With car occupancy rates low and cars getting bigger (and spending most of their time doing nothing) the conversation looked at how we make far better use of the vehicles we have and the role of shared transport in meeting ambitious carbon targets.

It featured:

  • Richard Dilks, Chief Executive, CoMoUK
  • Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • Interviewer, Jillian Anable, Professor of Transport and Energy at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here


Urban Transport Next 06: Leading Northern Ireland's public transport transformation - took place on Thursday 3rd June 2021. In this episode, we explored what has been behind Northern Ireland's transformation in public transport which, pre-pandemic, saw record passenger numbers on the network and - uniquely among the four nations of the UK -  growth in bus use. The conversation touched on the success of the Glider Bus Rapid Transit system, the modernised rail network and what the future holds for public transport in the wake of COVID-19.

It featured:

  • Chris Conway, CEO, Translink Group (Northern Ireland's main public transport provider)
  • Interviewer, Wendy Austin MBE, journalist, podcaster, presenter and moderator

You can watch the event or find out more information by clicking here.


Urban Transport Next 07: London Calling - took place on Thursday 8th July 2021. In this episode we heard from Transport for London Commissioner, Andy Byford, who stepped into the role in the middle of a global pandemic. We explored his experiences of steering his Transport for London team of 27 thousand direct employees, and another 60 thousand contracted employees through this difficult time. Andy spoke about his priorities for the organisation, including ensuring it better reflects the communities it serves.  He discussed how London’s public transport can bounce back from its largest peacetime crisis and what TfL will need to do to support a green and just recovery for the capital from COVID-19.

It featured:

  • Andy Byford, Commissioner of Transport for London
  • Interviewer, Jo Field, Founder and Chief Executive JFG Communications and President, Women in Transport

You can watch Urban Transport Next 07 or find out more information by clicking here.


Urban Transport Next 08: Play fair - a lunchtime conversation on placing children at the hear of transport planning took place on Thursday 7th October 2021. In this episode, we discussed how children’s independence, health and mobility has been steadily eroded over decades of car dominance, with the central question of ‘how do we put children at the heart of transport planning?’ The conversation touched upon how and why children’s mobility has changed over time, and the impact this had had on children’s lives; what does the data (or lack of) tell us about where, how and why children travel today; and which cities are leading the way on becoming truly child friendly.

It featured: 

  • Tim Gill, global advocate for children's play and mobility
  • Lucy Marstrand, Technical Lead for Walking and Cycling at Metis Consultants 
  • Interviewer, Rebecca Fuller, Assistant Director at Urban Transport Group

You can watch Urban Transport Next 08 or find out more information by clicking here.

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Urban Transport Next 09: Fully charged - A lunchtime conversation on powering up the potential of e-bikes took place on Thursday 4th November 2021. 

In this episode, our panel discussed what's holding the UK back on e-bikes (compared to its neighbours in Europe), the potential climate and health benefits of e-bikes, and what more can be done to encourage people to 'try before they buy' and remove the scepticism around e-bikes. 

It featured:

  • Olga Anapryenka, Principal Consultant at Steer and a Co-Founder of the Women in Mobility UK network
  • Roger Geffen, Policy Director at Cycling UK
  • Interviewer Phillip Darnton, Chairman of the Bicycle Association

You can watch Urban Transport Next 09 or find out more information by clicking here.

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Urban Transport Next 10: A new path for transport in Wales took place on Thursday 2nd December 2021. 

In this episode, Lee Waters, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, was interviewed by Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group. Their conversation focused on how Wales is taking bold steps around transport in response to climate change.

Lee was open about the challenges facing the country, particularly around road user changing and its plans for a default 20mph speed limit on residential roads, but also about the opportunities schemes like the South Wales Metro could deliver and the potential of active travel for modal shift and reducing emissions.

You can watch Urban Transport Next 10 or find out more information by clicking here