Transport

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

Updated:

Bus in Bristol picking up passengers

Summary

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 Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report published in November 2021 set out three strategic themes which will shape the Commission’s work for the second Assessment to be published in 2023, one of which is Supporting levelling up.

Analysis in the Baseline Report shows significant variation in the quality of transport provision which can affect economic outcomes, and people’s quality of life. Improving transport provision is therefore crucial to the goal of levelling up economic opportunities in all parts of the country.

To this end, the second Assessment will undertake projects to address two key challenges: how improved urban mobility and addressing congestion, and how multimodal interurban transport strategies, can both support regional growth.

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.

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.

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

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
Government’s next steps on freight: welcome ambition, detailed plans now needed
Articulated lorry overtaking another lorry on a motorway

Government’s next steps on freight: welcome ambition, detailed plans now needed

This week the government published its long-term plan for the freight sector, Future of Freight. Government committed to publishing this in its response to the Commission’s 2019 study, Better Delivery: The challenge for freight. The Commission’s main conclusion in that study was that through the adoption of new technologies and the recognition of freight’s needs...

16 Jun 2022 By
James Heath’s speech to Utility Week Live: climate adaptation and resilience
Electricity pylon against a cloudy sky

James Heath’s speech to Utility Week Live: climate adaptation and resilience

The Commission’s Chief Executive, James Heath, today (17 May 2022) gave a keynote address at Utility Week Live on climate adaptation and resilience. The session, held at the Birmingham NEC, explored utilities’ approaches to adaptation planning and how they are seeking to build resilience to respond to the impacts of climate change already present, as...

17 May 2022 By
Electric Vehicle Strategy “a promising package” but delivery remains key
Two white EV cars charging at a chargepoint

Electric Vehicle Strategy “a promising package” but delivery remains key

The government’s has today published its Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy setting out how it plans to ensure the UK is “EV-fit” by 2030, the date after which sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned. The new strategy sets out a number of actions to boost the pace of roll-out...

25 Mar 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
“A realistic plan for major long term investments”: Commission responds to Integrated Rail Plan
Image showing departure boards at Leeds station.

“A realistic plan for major long term investments”: Commission responds to Integrated Rail Plan

Responding to the government’s publication of its Integrated Rail Plan, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said: “We now have a realistic plan for major long term investments to improve rail for the North and Midlands in the face of public spending constraints. In our advice to government the Commission made the...

18 Nov 2021 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
Baseline Report Annex F: Transport
Picture showing traffic congestion in Bristol

Baseline Report Annex F: Transport

Analysis of the country's transport infrastructure which informs the Baseline Report for the second National Infrastructure Assessment.

15 Nov 2021
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
Welcome spending plans should “support a more stable national infrastructure planning cycle”
View of Manchester city centre

Welcome spending plans should “support a more stable national infrastructure planning cycle”

Responding to today’s Budget and Spending Review, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “With reasonable capital settlements for key areas including local transport outside London, and an increase in the guidelines for projected infrastructure spending for the long term, these announcements indicate a government keen to support a more stable national...

27 Oct 2021 By
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

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