New deal on funding essential to develop cities, says Urban Transport Group
In a new report, Urban Transport Group highlights the necessary actions required to ensure cities continue developing and essentially become ‘smart’.
These policy changes also include 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.
Further devolution of rail services, greater funding for buses and reform of taxi and private hire vehicle legislation are just three elements highlighted in the report as essential to keep the UK’s cities moving forward.
Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus and Chair of the Urban Transport Group, said: “Cities are the key drivers of the UK economy – yet not enough has been invested in the urban transport networks that support those economies.
“We need a new deal on funding and powers which recognise the exceptional benefits urban transport offers, from supporting jobs and boosting economic growth, to improving air quality and tackling climate change.”
The Urban Transport Group has a presence at each of the major party conferences in autumn 2018, hosting fringe meetings, presenting the Policy futures report to Parliamentarians and showcasing its vision on its exhibition stand. Speakers at the meetings include the London Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, and Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP.
Jonathan Bray, Director of Urban Transport Group, added: “Not only is urban transport underfunded, the way it is funded is highly complex and short-termist. We need to overhaul this current approach if we are to truly realise the benefits better urban transport can bring. We look forward to working in partnership with the government to make our vision a reality.”
The 10 key policy changes called for in the report are:
- A new enhanced and stable capital and revenue funding deal for urban transport which recognises the exceptional economic benefits of investing in urban transport as well as the major challenges that lie ahead – including on air quality, climate change and harnessing the benefits of technological transformations
- A national planning framework that promotes transit-oriented development rather than low density sprawl
- A more ambitious national policy framework on air quality so that city regions can play their full part in tackling local air quality problems
- A national strategic freight policy so that city regions can help to ensure more long haul freight accesses the city regions by rail and water where possible, whilst ensuring that last mile local deliveries are made by city-friendly, low impact vehicles or modes
- An ambitious national active travel strategy that seeks to accelerate growth in the number of trips made on foot or by bike whilst recognising the need for adequate funding for its devolved delivery
- Greater recognition of the multiple benefits of supporting bus services through boosting bus funding via a new devolved, simpler and enhanced ‘connectivity fund’
- Full implementation of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to ensure that buses don’t get held up in traffic jams caused by vehicles breaking traffic laws
- A long term investment plan for urban rail networks to improve their quality, reliability and capacity
- Widening and deepening the benefits of rail devolution – in particular full devolution for rail in the West Midlands and the North of England as well as over more of the rail network in London and the South East
- Reforming the regulatory framework to keep up with the pace of technological change in urban transport – in particular for taxi and private hire vehicles, for data-sharing and for byelaws and highways.