The Commission undertakes research into specific transport proposals when asked to do so by government, but also advises on broader questions of policy and approach to planning upgrades and new investment in road, rail, and other transport modes.
The Commission transport work covers road, rail, and other modes of transport. We focus on what different these modes each do best and how they integrate with other types of transport to create the most efficient and user friendly systems for passengers and support the economic geography of the country and, in particular, its towns and cities. Our work seeks to anticipate future usage trends, such as the impact of the recent pandemic on public transport, to help inform robust recommendations for investment and policy making.
With a long term perspective, the Commission also considers likely developments in technology and what investment should be made to prepare our networks for the future.
With almost a quarter of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions currently coming from surface transport, we actively consider the importance of decarbonising the UK’s travel by developing lower emission public transport systems and preparing for the widescale use of electric vehicles. Tackling urban congestion and other barriers to growth where travel solutions – in particular, better public transport – can play a role are significant challenges shaping our work.
The Second National Infrastructure Assessment, published in October 2023 states that improving transport provision is crucial to the goal of levelling up economic opportunities in all parts of the country and improving the quality of life. To this end, the Assessment addresses two key challenges: how improved urban mobility and addressing congestion, and how multimodal interurban transport strategies, can both support regional growth.
The Assessment shows that getting more people making more trips into and around city centres is essential for English cities outside of London to have any chance of succeeding in levelling up their regional economies. To do that, cities will need flexible strategic transport plans that can adapt to a range of future transport demand scenarios; to avoid adding to existing congestion and undermining net zero efforts, they’ll need to actively shift more of those additional journeys from cars onto other modes of transport. So, 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.
Our work on interurban transport recommends a transport strategy built around a single vision to drive economic opportunity and narrow disparities between regions and protect and enhance the environment. This needs to incorporate strategic roads and major roads as well as heavy rail projects.
The decision to cancel HS2 north of Birmingham leaves a major gap in the UK’s rail strategy around which a number of cities have based their economic growth plans. While government has committed to re-allocate all the released funding to improve transport, including rail links, in the North and Midlands, it is not yet clear what the exact scope and delivery schedule is for the proposed new rail schemes. A new comprehensive, long term and fully costed plan that sets out how rail improvements will address the capacity and connectivity challenges facing city regions in the North and Midlands is needed.
A range of transport data sets 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
Digital future for UK roads network focus of new Commission study
Harnessing the potential of digitally connected autonomous cars and commercial vehicles to increase road safety, tackle congestion and improve the accessibility of transport services will be the focus of a new National Infrastructure Commission study on connected and autonomous mobility (CAM). The government has today (12 February) published the terms of reference for the study,...
Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action
Improved infrastructure to boost economic growth across the UK and meet climate goals is both achievable and affordable if the right policy steps are taken now, according to the government’s independent advisers on infrastructure strategy. The Second National Infrastructure Assessment – a five yearly review conducted by the National Infrastructure Commission – sets out a...
Second National Infrastructure Assessment
The Commission's thirty year plan for a low carbon and resilient UK economy that supports economic growth and protects the natural environment
National Infrastructure Assessment
An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.
Armitt: HS2 decision “deeply disappointing”
Today (4 October 2023) the Prime Minister made an announcement on the future of High Speed 2 and the publication of the ‘Network North’ plan. Responding the the announcement, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “High Speed 2 was part of a long term strategy with clear objectives to link up some...
James Heath: The future of transport in UK cities
The Commission’s chief executive James Heath gave a speech to the Move 2023 conference in London today (21 June 2023) exploring the questions and emerging themes which are shaping our work on urban transport ahead of the publication of the UK’s second National Infrastructure Assessment later this autumn. Our job at the National Infrastructure Commission...
Stronger coordination of environment and community benefit needed to get planning timescales back on track
A new data platform to share environmental information and effective ways of addressing the impact of proposed infrastructure projects will enable stronger protection for natural habitats and speed up schemes crucial to the net zero transition, according to a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission. The review by the government’s official infrastructure advisers also...