Regional and Urban Rail

Class 333 train at Leeds station
Our booming regional rail networks are key to sustaining city centre economies, whilst rail also provides the wider connectivity the city regions need.

Resources

The Good Life: The role of transport in shaping a new and sustainable era for suburbs

July, 2022

We are a nation of suburbanites. However, the ubiquity of suburban living is often not reflected in transport policy. And there can be no decarbonisation of transport without specific measures to decarbonise transport in the suburbs.

This report presents four foundations of suburbs for a new era – one which offers all suburbanites the promise of the ‘Good Life’ whilst addressing the climate crisis. These foundations should help people to access more of what they need locally; provide family-friendly sustainable transport choices: prioritise gentle densification around sustainable transport infrastructure; and provide reliable, convenient connections to the nearest town or city and key employment sites.

Making rail reform work for people and places in the city regions

December, 2021

This statement calls for rail reform to both build on the success of the devolution of rail powers which has already taken place, and for structured and meaningful involvement for the city regions in how rail reform plans unfold.

It sets out a range of scenarios for how the proven benefits of devolving further responsibilities for rail could be extended to more passengers and places. These include options for extending and deepening local control and accountability for both rail services, infrastructure and investment.

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2021

September, 2021
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2021. In our submission, we warn Government that wider objectives for carbon reduction and levelling up (as well as the specific objectives of the national active travel and bus strategies) cannot be met without increased spending on local transport. Indeed, without additional funding bus patronage (and bus network size) are likely to remain at levels well below what they were pre-pandemic (when patronage and network size were already at an all-time low). To fully realise the benefits of enhanced, devolved and longer term funding for local transport we need city region transport authorities which are fully empowered to take decisions across the modes in a way which reflects local circumstances and aspirations.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

Building back better on urban transport

June, 2021

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet the challenge of ramping up public transport and prioritising cycling and walking to support a green and just recovery.

(Updated version June 2021)

Major transport infrastructure projects: appraisal and delivery

January, 2021
Our response to the Transport Committee inquiry into the appraisal and delivery of major transport infrastructure projects. This inquiry considers: transport infrastructure strategy and priorities; the appraisal and funding of transport infrastructure; oversight, accountability and governance of transport infrastructure projects; and factors influencing the cost and capacity and skills required to deliver the infrastructure plans.
Consulting body: 
Transport Select Committee

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020

September, 2020
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. In our submission, we call upon the Government to move on from its current 'patch and mend’ approach to closing the COVID-19 funding gap for public transport towards longer-term, secure arrangements. We argue that this should form the basis for wider reforms of the funding and powers of city region transport authorities. In practice, this would mean providing long-term funding packages for local transport similar to those already in place for national rail and roads, as well as upgrading the powers of city region transport authorities so they are more in line with those in London. This would ensure that transport authorities are fully empowered and funded to meet the challenge of a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

Action stations: How devolution is transforming rail stations for the better

August, 2020

This report focuses on the benefits of the involvement of devolved authorities in rail stations.

It does so by looking at over 35 case studies of how and why devolved authorities have improved stations for the better in recent years – and the wide range of different kinds of benefits that this has brought for passengers and the places the railway serves. These benefits include helping to meet local housing need and sparking regeneration, turning run-down stations into gateways and places to be proud of, and improving the accessibility and environmental performance of station buildings.

The report goes further by looking at the potential to achieve even greater results through devolving more responsibilities for stations, such as delivering common branding with the rest of the local public transport network, through to ensuring plans and funding for stations is integrated with wider plans around housing, economic development and decarbonisation.

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The Good Life: The role of transport in shaping a new and sustainable era for suburbs

July, 2022

We are a nation of suburbanites. However, the ubiquity of suburban living is often not reflected in transport policy. And there can be no decarbonisation of transport without specific measures to decarbonise transport in the suburbs.

This report presents four foundations of suburbs for a new era – one which offers all suburbanites the promise of the ‘Good Life’ whilst addressing the climate crisis. These foundations should help people to access more of what they need locally; provide family-friendly sustainable transport choices: prioritise gentle densification around sustainable transport infrastructure; and provide reliable, convenient connections to the nearest town or city and key employment sites.

Making rail reform work for people and places in the city regions

December, 2021

This statement calls for rail reform to both build on the success of the devolution of rail powers which has already taken place, and for structured and meaningful involvement for the city regions in how rail reform plans unfold.

It sets out a range of scenarios for how the proven benefits of devolving further responsibilities for rail could be extended to more passengers and places. These include options for extending and deepening local control and accountability for both rail services, infrastructure and investment.

Building back better on urban transport

June, 2021

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet the challenge of ramping up public transport and prioritising cycling and walking to support a green and just recovery.

(Updated version June 2021)

Action stations: How devolution is transforming rail stations for the better

August, 2020

This report focuses on the benefits of the involvement of devolved authorities in rail stations.

It does so by looking at over 35 case studies of how and why devolved authorities have improved stations for the better in recent years – and the wide range of different kinds of benefits that this has brought for passengers and the places the railway serves. These benefits include helping to meet local housing need and sparking regeneration, turning run-down stations into gateways and places to be proud of, and improving the accessibility and environmental performance of station buildings.

The report goes further by looking at the potential to achieve even greater results through devolving more responsibilities for stations, such as delivering common branding with the rest of the local public transport network, through to ensuring plans and funding for stations is integrated with wider plans around housing, economic development and decarbonisation.

What next for urban transport?

September, 2019

This report - published to coincide with the 2019 Autumn Party Conferences - identifies four urban transport challenges and four solutions needed to overcome them.

It also details what transport authorities need from Government to bring about these changes. 

On launching the report, Stephen Edwards, Chair of the Urban Transport Group and Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "There is much more that needs to be done if transport is to contribute effectively to meeting the many challenges that city regions face, from the climate crisis to public health challenges associated with a lack of physical activity. The right policies can help overcome these challenges."

Number crunch 2019: Urban transport trends in changing times

June, 2019

We are living in rapidly changing times. Big shifts are taking place in urban transport trends.

Number crunch 2019 is the second in our Number crunch report series and provides an updated overview of the key trends over the last ten years, as well as taking a look at what the new and most recent data is telling us. The report also investigates some new issues – including housing need and social inclusion.

In these changing times, the case for coordinated and integrated transport planning at the city region level is stronger than ever. So is the case for long term funding frameworks for local urban transport rather than stop-start funding as is currently the case.

The place to be: How transit oriented development can support good growth in the city regions

January, 2019

This report examines ‘transit oriented development’ - the principle of putting public transport front and centre in new residential and commercial developments, with the aim of maximising access by public transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and minimising the need to own and use private cars.

The report suggests that transit oriented development has the potential to meet housing need without undermining the green belt or creating more traffic congestion and sprawl. It also examines other areas where it can deliver wide-ranging benefits, such as to local economies; air quality and carbon emissions; social inclusion, employment and skills; health; and public transport patronage.

The place to be sets out a five point plan on how to realise more building developments which are based around sustainable, public transport and active travel.

About towns: How transport can help towns thrive

November, 2018

This report examines the key role that transport interventions can play in supporting post-industrial towns.

It features case studies from the UK and the wider world of how different types of interventions - from transport’s role as an ‘anchor institution’ for local economies and as an employer, through to how transport interchanges can act as ‘gateways’ and sources of civic pride and renewal -  can achieve results.

A key finding of the report is that isolated capital interventions in transport infrastructure are insufficient in themselves. Instead, more co-ordinated programmes of transport capital and revenue investment and support are needed if towns are to truly thrive. 

Policy futures for urban transport

September, 2018

The latest edition of Policy futures for urban transport emphasises how a new deal on funding and powers is essential to keep the UK's cities moving forward.

The report sets out the 10 key policy changes that are needed to make cities healthier, fairer and more prosperous.

These include further devolution of rail services; greater funding for buses; reform of taxi and Private Hire Vehicle legislation; an ambitious strategy to encourage more cycling and walking; a long term investment plan for urban rail services; and a visionary national policy framework on air quality.

Rail Cities UK: Our vision for their future

June, 2018

Significant rail expansion is the 'only viable option' to help UK cities achieve their ambitions on economic growth and meeting housing demand, whilst also creating attractive urban centres with less road traffic and better air quality.

This report sets out a vision of what a step change in rail provision could mean for passengers and cities - and the obstacles that stand in the way.

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Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2021

September, 2021
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2021. In our submission, we warn Government that wider objectives for carbon reduction and levelling up (as well as the specific objectives of the national active travel and bus strategies) cannot be met without increased spending on local transport. Indeed, without additional funding bus patronage (and bus network size) are likely to remain at levels well below what they were pre-pandemic (when patronage and network size were already at an all-time low). To fully realise the benefits of enhanced, devolved and longer term funding for local transport we need city region transport authorities which are fully empowered to take decisions across the modes in a way which reflects local circumstances and aspirations.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

Major transport infrastructure projects: appraisal and delivery

January, 2021
Our response to the Transport Committee inquiry into the appraisal and delivery of major transport infrastructure projects. This inquiry considers: transport infrastructure strategy and priorities; the appraisal and funding of transport infrastructure; oversight, accountability and governance of transport infrastructure projects; and factors influencing the cost and capacity and skills required to deliver the infrastructure plans.
Consulting body: 
Transport Select Committee

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020

September, 2020
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. In our submission, we call upon the Government to move on from its current 'patch and mend’ approach to closing the COVID-19 funding gap for public transport towards longer-term, secure arrangements. We argue that this should form the basis for wider reforms of the funding and powers of city region transport authorities. In practice, this would mean providing long-term funding packages for local transport similar to those already in place for national rail and roads, as well as upgrading the powers of city region transport authorities so they are more in line with those in London. This would ensure that transport authorities are fully empowered and funded to meet the challenge of a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

Williams Rail Review - Call for evidence: objectives and assessment criteria

April, 2019
Our consultation response to the Williams Rail Review's call for evidence on objectives and assessment criteria. The Review was established to recommend the most appropriate organisational and commercial frameworks to support the delivery of the government’s vision for the railway.
Consulting body: 
Department for Transport

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