Transport

Well planned and integrated transport investment can be an important ingredient in driving economic growth and improving quality of life.

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Aerial view of a complex motorway road junction with traffic moving. Cars, lorries, vans and a train can be seen travelling through a busy road interchange from above

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.

We focus on what different transport modes each do best and how they integrate with other types of transport to create the most efficient and user friendly systems for passengers. Our work involves considering how better transport networks can help address the economic geography of the country, and in particular in towns and cities.

This research seeks to anticipate future usage trends, such as the impact of the Covid-19 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 is part of the solution: our research shows drivers on local urban roads lose an average of 75 seconds per mile compared to less than 10 seconds on the motorway network. Working closely with some of our largest towns and cities, we have explored and shared good practice for tackling congestion and other barriers to growth where travel solutions – in particular, better public transport – can play a role.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted patterns of work and travel right across the country. The Commission will be looking at how potential changes in behaviour arising from the pandemic may influence the demand for and use of infrastructure, and this will help inform our work on the second National Infrastructure Assessment.

Transport data

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

Latest Updates

Government responds to Commission’s study on future of freight
UK Mail lorry on the viaduct

Government responds to Commission’s study on future of freight

The government has today (4 August 2021) published its formal response to the Commission’s 2019 study, Better delivery: the challenge for freight. This study found that through the adoption of new technologies and the recognition of freight’s needs in the planning system, it is possible to decarbonise road and rail freight by 2050 and manage...

4 Aug 2021 By
The long term role of cars in towns
Blurred silhouettes of cars surrounded by steam from the exhaust pipes

The long term role of cars in towns

An opinion piece by Mike Davis, Consultant Engineer at E4Tech, and Jo Garvey-Rae, Senior Cost Manager at Turner & Townsend, both members of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The last 12 months has seen a renewed recognition that some towns and places are being left behind, both in terms of productivity and wider quality of...

28 Jul 2021 By
We must press the accelerator on transport decarbonisation
Buses at a busy bus station

We must press the accelerator on transport decarbonisation

An opinion piece by Caroline Bryce, Asset Management Adviser at Mott MacDonald and member of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The UK announced its sixth Carbon Budget earlier this year, committing to reducing emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. The government expects to achieve this target through investing and capitalising...

20 Jul 2021 By
Commission responds to net zero transport plans

Commission responds to net zero transport plans

The government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan was published on 14 July 2021, with the initial announcement including confirmation that government will consult on a 2035 date for ending the sale of new diesel and petrol vans, and a 2040 date for ending the sale of new larger HGVs. Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure...

14 Jul 2021 By
Welcome boost for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Welcome boost for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The energy regulator Ofgem has today announced £300m of investment to ensure the UK has the energy infrastructure necessary to support the move to low carbon transport and heating while maintaining secure supplies. This includes new infrastructure to support 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway service areas. In response, a National Infrastructure Commission spokesperson...

24 May 2021 By
Historic Transport Datasets
A Princess Coronation (Duchess) class express steam locomotive steaming fast up the west coast main line on the fringes of the English Lake District. A car travelling in the opposite direction is on the adjacent M6 motorway.

Historic Transport Datasets

The Commission's Historic Transport Dataset provides select data on Britain's transport sector spanning back as far as 1870.

12 Mar 2021
Looking back at transport development
A Princess Coronation (Duchess) class express steam locomotive steaming fast up the west coast main line on the fringes of the English Lake District. A car travelling in the opposite direction is on the adjacent M6 motorway.

Looking back at transport development

If you’re reading this, you’ll probably know we recently launched our data pages, an area of our website which provides you with easy access to the data we have used, and data we think you’ll find interesting. As promised in our launch blog, we have now added our historic transport datasets which you can find...

12 Mar 2021 By
Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration
Night time cityscape of houses in Walsall, UK

Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration

The Commission is undertaking a study on how infrastructure can support economic prosperity and good quality of life in towns across the country.

3 Mar 2021
Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission
Montage of images representing infrastructure, including a woman charging an electric vehicle and a man wearing a mask using public transport

Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission

Detailed plans for decarbonising energy supply, accelerating the roll out of electric vehicle charge points and connecting hard to reach areas with high capacity broadband are among the next steps needed to ensure government can deliver its aims for levelling up and meeting the net zero target, according to the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission’s...

17 Feb 2021 By
Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North
Manchester Piccadilly station

Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North

15 Dec 2020
Focus rail investment on linking key cities in North and Midlands to unlock economic benefits, says Commission
Image showing departure boards at Leeds station.

Focus rail investment on linking key cities in North and Midlands to unlock economic benefits, says Commission

Improving rail links between cities in the North and Midlands should be the first priority of a new approach to end stop-start investments and help level up the UK as part of a wider economic strategy, according to a major new report by the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission was asked by the Prime Minister in February 2020 to undertake an assessment of proposed major rail schemes to help inform the government’s...

15 Dec 2020 By
Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North: Final report
A woman at a train station looking at departure boards

Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North: Final report

15 Dec 2020
“A vital step and important signal”: Armitt responds to government plans for ‘green industrial revolution’

“A vital step and important signal”: Armitt responds to government plans for ‘green industrial revolution’

Responding to today’s announcement by the Prime Minister on government plans for a ‘green industrial revolution’, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “A 2030 deadline for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans is a vital step to help the UK meet our net zero target. It’s an...

18 Nov 2020 By

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