Place

Infrastructure can improve the economic prospects of local areas and help to enhance the distinct identities of the places where we live, work, and enjoy life.

Updated:

Aerial view of Aberdeen as River Dee flows to the North Sea

Summary

The Commission adopts a place based approach to its thinking, reflecting the results of social research which showed 8 in 10 people believe good infrastructure is necessary to support a good quality of life.

Infrastructure helps form the identity of places as well as creating efficient links between them. Better transport infrastructure can alleviate bottlenecks to growth in congested areas and improve connectivity, while infrastructure improvements also have the potential, alongside other policies such as skills training, to increase growth in lower productivity areas and help efforts to level up the economy.

The role that infrastructure can play in levelling up economic opportunities across towns and cities in English regions is one of three strategic themes shaping the Commission’s work programme leading up to the second National Infrastructure Assessment. In the Baseline Report for that Assessment, the Commission committed to undertaking two projects on this topic: one on improving urban mobility and congestion, looking at the role of mass transit systems and also the potential of demand management such as through congestion charging; the other on the role of multi-modal interurban transport networks, looking at the investment they need and the potential role to be played by new technologies.

Our work on activity has close connections to our transport and digital themes. Our study on Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration, for example, considered how infrastructure, both transport and digital infrastructure, can support economic growth & better quality of life in towns as part of a long term place-based strategy. It recommended that government should make changes to the funding system to make it more flexible and better able to support councils in delivering their local and regional strategic growth plans.

And in June 2022 we published our Getting cities moving report, which identified getting more people making more trips into and around city centres was essential for English cities outside of London to have any chance of succeeding in levelling up their regional economies. To do that, in the face of post-pandemic uncertainty about transport demand, cities will need flexible strategic transport plans that can adapt to a range of future transport demand scenarios.  And to avoid adding to already congested roads and undermining their efforts to meet net zero targets, they’ll need to actively shift more of those additional journeys from cars to other modes of transport. That means cities will need to make improvements that ensure public transport and active travel are more attractive and reliable options for more travellers, while also giving serious consideration to some form of demand management.

The Commission’s Cities programme set out best practice approaches to help cities develop effective integrated infrastructure strategies, drawing on evidence from five case study cities which have already successfully created such a plan.

While the Commission’s remit does not include housing provision, we have advised government on how utility services can better support proposed housing developments and help enable the scale of house building needed to accommodate a growing population.

Data on place

A range of data sets relating to the theme of place is available to review on our Data pages. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded. 

Review data

Latest Updates

West Yorkshire leaders engage on region’s infrastructure goals
Leeds from the air

West Yorkshire leaders engage on region’s infrastructure goals

Yesterday (5 July) saw Commissioners up in Leeds for our third regional visit of the summer, meeting West Yorkshire leaders and businesses to better understand the city region’s infrastructure priorities. After a one-to-one meeting, Sir John Armitt and West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin co-hosted a roundtable with representatives from the combined authority, Leeds City Council,...

6 Jul 2022 By
Getting cities moving
A Birmingham tram reflected in a wet platform

Getting cities moving

An interim report for the second National Infrastructure Assessment says cities will need to pursue adaptive transport solutions in response to the uncertainties around transport demand resulting from the recent pandemic.

30 Jun 2022
Getting cities moving past “Covid fog” critical for success of levelling up 
A Birmingham tram reflected in a wet platform

Getting cities moving past “Covid fog” critical for success of levelling up 

Enabling people to make more trips in and around our major cities is a challenge that city leaders and national government must tackle head on by making urban transport networks work better – within carbon constraints – if they are to achieve levelling up, according to a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission. The...

30 Jun 2022 By
NIA2 Baseline Charts
Images from the Baseline Report

NIA2 Baseline Charts

Data from the Baseline Report providing an overview of the current performance of the infrastructure sectors within the Commission's remit

16 Mar 2022
Infrastructure Progress Review 2022
Group of images reprepsenting different infrastructure sectors

Infrastructure Progress Review 2022

Our annual assessment of the government's progress on implementing its commitments on infrastructure.

16 Mar 2022
Commission highlights “slow progress” on infrastructure plans to deliver levelling up and net zero goals
Group of images reprepsenting different infrastructure sectors

Commission highlights “slow progress” on infrastructure plans to deliver levelling up and net zero goals

The government is at risk of failing to deliver the aims of its National Infrastructure Strategy unless it picks up the pace with detailed policy design and implementation, the UK’s official independent infrastructure adviser has warned.  The National Infrastructure Commission says that clear, long term goals are now in place across most infrastructure areas and...

16 Mar 2022 By
“Ambitious implementation programme” essential to success of Levelling Up
Leicester city centre

“Ambitious implementation programme” essential to success of Levelling Up

The government has today published its Levelling Up white paper setting out its programme to ensure economic opportunity is more evenly spread across the whole country. It includes invitations to nine areas to create new county-wide deals and negotiations over ‘trailblazing’ devolution expansions deals with Manchester and West Midlands mayoral combined authorities. The white paper...

2 Feb 2022 By
National Infrastructure Assessment
View of Manchester city centre

National Infrastructure Assessment

An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.

15 Nov 2021
Commission pinpoints strategic gaps in infrastructure planning ahead of next landmark national assessment
Images from the Baseline Report

Commission pinpoints strategic gaps in infrastructure planning ahead of next landmark national assessment

The National Infrastructure Commission has announced the topics that will sit at the heart of its next major assessment of the UK’s long term infrastructure priorities, to be published in 2023, following analysis of the current performance of key sectors. The priorities will include identifying the infrastructure needed for hydrogen and carbon capture and storage...

15 Nov 2021 By
Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report
Images from the Baseline Report

Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

Our analysis of the performance of key infrastructure sectors which will inform the work leading to the UK's second National Infrastructure Assessment

15 Nov 2021
Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration
Night time cityscape of houses in Walsall, UK

Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration

A study exploring how infrastructure investment can support economic prosperity and good quality of life in towns across the country.

23 Sep 2021
Fundamental shift in funding to local level needed to help level up English towns
Wetherby from the air

Fundamental shift in funding to local level needed to help level up English towns

Levelling up towns will require a shift in government’s approach from announcing multiple ringfenced pots of money – many of which councils must compete over – to instead handing power to local areas to deliver their own infrastructure strategies with five-year devolved budgets, according to the UK’s official infrastructure advisers. In a report launched today...

23 Sep 2021 By
Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration
Wetherby from the air

Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration

23 Sep 2021
PWC Towns social research study
blurred Large crowd of people

PWC Towns social research study

Social research looking at what residents of towns across England think about the quality of their local infrastructure.

23 Sep 2021
The impact of infrastructure on quality of life – literature review
Blurred crowd of people on a UK high street

The impact of infrastructure on quality of life – literature review

Insights on how infrastructure can affect quality of life and wellbeing, particularly at the local level.

23 Aug 2021

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