UNCERTAINTY SHROUDS THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR
21 December 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
There was much to be welcomed for transport in the spending review two weeks ago. But as 2015 draws to a close a great deal of uncertainty surrounds many areas of the sector.
First, the good news. The spending review reaffirmed the Government's commitment to transport investment, including the road and rail investment strategies and HS2. Transport capital spending will double over the next five years. The acceleration of HS2 to Crewe was confirmed. There was more progress towards establishing Transport for the North. Sir Peter Hendy's review of Network Rail's programme of upgrade work managed the remarkable feat of not cancelling any infrastructure project...
WHEN DID THE GOVERNMENT DECIDE TO CHANGE ITS MIND ON AIRPORT EXPANSION?
14 December 2015 | Author: Mike Indian, Senior Political, Analyst DeHavilland
A parliamentary question answered by Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill on 23 November reminded DUP MP Jim Shannon of Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge that a final decision on airport expansion would be made by the end of 2015. Little over two weeks later, on 8 December, the Minister told Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie that a decision would be made in "due course".
Prevarication is the finest art form in politics, so what does it mean?
WE ARE BUILDING A RAILWAY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
7 December 2015 | Author: Claire Perry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
Investment in rail offers the opportunity to revitalise civic pride and bring about a resurgence of interest in British engineering.
It is one of the most remarkable transport achievements of our age that in the 20 years since privatisation, the number of passengers using Britain's railways has doubled. What's more, our railway today is one of the safest and most reliable in Europe. Yet the main inter-city network is little changed from that built a century and a half ago. So while the efficiency of the railway has improved dramatically, the trains and stations that passengers use have suffered from long-term underinvestment. It's hardly surprising that along the way, Britain's love affair with the railway has fallen off the tracks...
TREASURY TAKES THE “USER PAYS” ROUTE
27 November 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director, Steer Davies Gleave
In this week's spending review the DfT copped the biggest percentage cut in non-capital (resource) expenditure (-37%), but became the biggest department for capital spending (its programme doubling from £6.1bn today to £12.4bn in 2020/21). In Treasury terms, this is a model outcome – even though DfT's resource expenditure is trivial alongside the big spending areas of health and education...
RESOURCE GRANT CUT MEANS PAIN FOR TFL
27 November 2015 | Author: David Leam, Infrastructure Director, London First
This was a spending settlement to which Transport for London acquiesced, rather than agreed. Gain on its capital investment programme was accompanied by short-term pain, through falling resource grants, with battles on spending priorities post-2020 postponed for another day...
WE NEED TO CAPITALISE ON OSBORNE'S MOMENTUM
20 November 2015 | Author: Angus Walker, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell
The chancellor's enthusiasm for transport, which has led to the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission, presents a huge opportunity which the industry must grasp
There was widespread enthusiasm for George Osborne's announcement at last month's Conservative Party conference of the creation of a National Infrastructure Commission, with Lord Adonis as its chair. But what does it all really mean for transport?
AN INTERVIEW WITH TRANSPORT FOR THE NORTH CHIEF EXECUTIVE DAVID BROWN
16 November 2015 | Author: Jeanette Bowden, Correspondent, Transport Times
Arriving for my interview with David Brown in the offices of Transport for Greater Manchester, it seems apt that he has just travelled by rail from Liverpool and I have come from Leeds, as these cities are among those targeted to benefit from the improved transport links as advocated by the One North prospectus. Our respective journey times would be substantially reduced under its proposed strategy, with rail travel from Leeds to Manchester taking around 30 minutes and the journey time from Liverpool to Manchester halved to 20 minutes, as well as the added dimension of a potential direct link from Liverpool to Manchester Airport...
IS LAX ENFORCEMENT MAKING ROADS LESS SAFE?
9 November 2015 | Author: Louise Ellman MP, Chair, House of Commons Transport Select Committee
Deaths and injuries on the roads rose last year, reversing a long-term trend. With a lack of government targets for road safety, is the role of enforcement being overlooked?
The road safety charity Brake published a report in April which revealed that 49% of UK drivers admitted to breaking traffic laws, either through inattention or deliberately. This provokes the critical question: are offenders simply no longer afraid of being caught? With traffic volumes on the rise, and the first increase in overall casualties in reported road traffic accidents since 1997, greater consideration needs to be given to enforcement...
AN INSPIRED CHOICE FOR COMMISSION CHAIR
19 October 2015 | Author: David Begg, Chief Executive, Transport Times
George Osborne continues to surprise with his audaciousness when it comes to transport infrastructure and devolution. In his Conservative Party Conference speech this week he made the bold announcement to devolve control of £26bn of business rates to local government. This could be used to fund local infrastructure, or the rate could be cut to stimulate the high street by encouraging retail trade...
INSPIRING TRANSPORT PROJECTS REWARDED AT NATIONAL TRANSPORT AWARDS CEREMONY
9 October 2015 | Author: Grant Poulton
The people making a real difference to transport across the UK were recognised at the prestigious National Transport Awards at the Westminster Park Plaza in London last night. Hosted by Rory Bremner, the awards attracted over 800 senior transport professionals to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the event including Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP who gave the keynote address.
ILL OMENS FOR RAIL’S NEXT FIVE-YEAR PLAN
25 September 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director, Steer Davies Gleave
Reclassification of the infrastructure owner as a public company has severely disrupted its investment plans. But there is no reason why this should be the case.
Network Rail is under siege. Lateness and budget overruns on high-profile projects are an embarrassment. Brigades of angry passengers at London Bridge and Finsbury Park feature on TV news bulletins. It doesn't look good...
LOOKING BACK ON A DECADE OF PROGRESS
21 September 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
Developments in transport – especially getting things built – can sometimes seem to move at such a glacial pace that you begin to question whether there's been any progress at all. So it's been instructive to look back over the last ten years and find that the truth is quite different.
Ten years ago when Transport Times was first published, the buzzwords were "road pricing" and "Eddington"...
NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH
11 September 2015 | Author: Grant Poulton
To mark our anniversary, this week we relaunch the Transport Times website. We have given it a fresh new look and it has been integrated with the Transport Times Events site to provide a seamless browsing experience.
You can browse highlights of the current issue – subscribers get to see the whole issue and a new archive search facility. For job seekers we've added anew jobs page where you can search for the latest vacancies across the industry. On the blog page you can read the TT weekly blog – why not sign up to receive the blog and our monthly newsletter if you haven't already?
CITIES MUST PREPARE FOR A FUTURE OF SMART MOBILITY
27 August 2015 | Author: John Henkel, Acting Director of Transport, West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Local transport authorities must adapt to a future in which they become mobility providers for citizens with smartcard-operated accounts.
There is growing recognition that technology will change the way people travel and the way transport services are provided, as recognised in the recent PTEG publication Simple, integrated, ready for the future – our vision for smart ticketing in the city regions....
DIFFICULT QUESTIONS LOOM AHEAD FOR MINISTERS
13 August 2015 | Author: Louise Ellman MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee
Rail investment and a response to the Airports Commission are just the start. The House of Commons transport committee has a long list of policy issues it proposes to investigate over this parliament.
I was very pleased to be re-elected unopposed as chair of the Transport Select Committee in July/ August. Although this parliament is only a few weeks old, a number of controversial issues which warrant investigation have already emerged...
SURVEY RATINGS HEAD IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
6 August 2015 | Author: Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Transport Focus
Passenger satisfaction scores are down in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey. Ironically, this is partly a result of disruption that is a side effect of work to improve the network.
What will the man or woman waiting on Balham station make of the recent announcements about rewriting the five-year rail investment plan? Not much – they are more focused on when the next train is coming. However, the news probably erodes trust in the rail industry a little more, and probably makes people a little bit more resentful of the fares they are paying – often on the promise of future improvement – and probably just a little bit more cynical about future promises...
BUSES ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY
30 July 2015 | Author: Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys
Connecting to friends or family, to work or study, bus services are woven into the lives of individuals and communities, according to new research.
Research just published by Greener Journeys reveals compelling new evidence of the value and importance of the bus to its users. These user benefits support much of the existing research on the value of the bus to the wider economy, but also give new depth and insight into the vital role the bus plays...
RAIL REOPENINGS COULD REINVIGORATE BACKWATERS
22 July 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director & Founder, Steer Davies Gleave
We should consider the benefits of restoring rail connections systematically to close gaps and ease growth pressure, rather than leaving it to a haphazard process led by local pressure groups.
Services start on the Borders Railway on 6 September. After 45 years of being cut off, Galashiels will be back on the national railway map. The compelling tale of those battle-hardened souls who kept on fighting for this rail revival has been nicely documented by David Spaven in his book Waverley Route: the battle for the Borders Railway (Argyll Publishing)...
ITSO - FULFILLING THE TICKETING CHALLENGE
9 July 2015 | Author: Jeremy Meal, Director of Smart Ticketing and Fares Strategies, Systra
ITSO continues to evolve and improve, with coverage of the UK growing.
Last century – well, 1999 to be exact – two northern passenger transport executives realised that public procurement rules could result in adjacent transport authorities being forced to acquire ticketing equipment on buses that would not interoperate across their boundaries with neighbouring areas. This would benefit neither operators nor passengers...
MCLOUGHLIN JOINS THE RANKS OF THE LONGEST SERVING TRANSPORT SECRETARIES
3 July 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
When, at the Transport Times Great Transport Debate earlier this year, Patrick McLoughlin said he hoped to return as Transport Secretary after the general election, few thought it likely.
Even if the Conservatives were returned to power, it looked a safe bet that he would be moved in the obligatory reshuffle. But, confounding conventional wisdom, Mr McLoughlin is indeed back, a decision widely welcomed given that the DfT had had seven secretaries of state in the previous seven years.
BIG DIVIDENDS FOR SMART CITIES
26 June 2015 | Author: Shashi Verma, Director of Customer Experience, Transport for London
Cities should urgently consider introducing smart and contactless ticketing to encourage the use of public transport and help them reach their economic potential.
Our industry is a customer service business that provides transport. Our purpose is to keep the country working and moving, supporting the creation of jobs, housing and economic growth. Technological advance and the changing expectations of our customers are offering us even more opportunity to serve them better...
THE SCOTTISH TRANSPORT AWARDS 2015 WINNERS ANNOUNCED
22 June 2015 | Author: Anna Pett, Events Manager, Transport Times
The best of Scotland’s transport industry were honoured on Thursday 18th June at the 13th Annual Scottish Transport Awards, with 300 industry professionals in attendance. Hosted by radio and television presenter Grant Stott, the ceremony was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. Now in their thirteenth year the Awards recognise excellence, innovation and progress across all areas of transport in Scotland...
THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY
11 June 2015 | Author: Stephen Joseph OBE, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport
The Transport Secretary faces a range of challenges to get this country moving and craft a transport system which is sustainable, efficient and fair. Patrick McLoughlin must make the right decisions on the important issues of rail fares, rail franchising, buses and roads which all have a strong impact on people’s everyday lives...
A NEW DEPARTURE
5 June 2015 | Author: Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development, Transport for London
The case for investment in transport to unlock economic growth is now well established. Less well-embedded is the concept of driving substantial direct financial return through investment in commercial activities in and around the transport network...
GOOD SHOWING FOR TRAMS IN THE LATEST PASSENGER SURVEY
28 May 2015 | Author: Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Transport Focus
The results from the Transport Focus tram passenger survey are out. This is the second year it has been run. Over all networks in the survey, satisfaction with the tram journey remains at the high levels seen in 2013 (90%). This compares favourably with the same measure from autumn 2014 on the national rail passenger survey (81%) and the bus passenger survey (88%)...
MORE WOMEN ARE NEEDED TO JOIN OUR INDUSTRY
21 May 2015 | Author: Michèle Dix, Managing Director for Crossrail 2, Transport for London
Last year marked a hundred years since the outbreak of World War I. In the course of the conflict hundreds of thousands of young men enlisted in the armed services, including more than 17,000 London Underground, bus and tram workers.
During this time many of their roles were filled by women for the first time. In this pivotal moment in transport history, women took on a variety of roles from ticket inspectors and booking clerks to station staff and guards – helping keep London’s services running and the capital moving..
LEADERS OF TOMORROW
14 May 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
in association with Worldline an Atos company
Who will be the future leaders of the transport industry? In a new occasional series, Transport Times has convened a panel of senior industry experts, chaired by our publisher David Begg, to pick out names to watch. The people featured on the following pages are all under 40 but have already amassed considerable experience and have a good deal of achievements to their credit. Many of them span both public and private sectors or have worked in governmental and policymaking roles as well as in industry...
GIVE NORTHERN CITIES CONTROL OVER THEIR DESTINY
7 May 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director & Founder, Steer Davies Gleave
Strong, accountable governance arrangements are needed if plans to revitalise the north of England are to bear fruit. The Department for Transport should step aside and let the cities and regions rise to the challenge.
Let’s hope that the next government breaks with recent tradition. We really don’t want transport investment to be put on hold and under review this summer, only to reappear a couple of years hence to help foster an upswing to match the electoral cycle.
THE TRANSPORT CHOICES YOU FACE ON THURSDAY
5 May 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
With less than a week to go to the election, and the polls remaining pretty much where they were at the start of the campaign, the parties will be pulling out all the stops to sway undecided voters. If you were to decide who to vote for solely on the basis of transport issues, who should you choose?
First of all, it's perhaps worth remembering where we were five years ago. Everyone knew cuts were on the way, and the worry was that transport would be among the first areas to be cut, as had historically been the case...
AVIATION DEBATE: HEATHROW OR GATWICK?
30 April 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
In our final report from Transport Times’ Great Transport Debate we focus on aviation. For airports the big question is whether Heathrow or Gatwick will be chosen as the site for a new runway. Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow strategy, planning and regulation director, outlined the case for more capacity at the UK’s hub airport.
The UK is losing the race for connections to China, she said. China would in due course be the world’s largest economy, but the UK had fewer direct flights there than Amsterdam, and a fifth of the air cargo capacity that Germany has...
BUS DEBATE: FRANCHISING OR PARTNERSHIP?
23 April 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
Continuing the report from last month’s Great Transport Debate, hosted by Transport Times in association with KPMG, this week we focus on the bus debate which pitted two David Browns against each other: one the group chief executive of Go-Ahead, the other the chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, to make the case for and against extending the bus franchising model, as used in London, to other UK cities...
RAIL DEBATE: PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?
16 April 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
Transport Times in association with KPMG hosted the Great Transport Debate last month, which invited transport experts to set out what they see as the main transport challenges the next Government must grapple with.
The first of these debates focussed on rail and saw Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts go head to head with Mick Whelan, general secretary of rail union Aslef.
Mr Roberts said the key question was the role of the public and private sector in the rail industry...
DO NOT ASSUME THE CASE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IS MADE
19 March 2015 | Author: Stuart Thomson, Public Affairs Consultant, Bircham Dyson Bell
Apparent cross-party support for infrastructure investment before the election will not necessarily translate into progress on real projects afterwards, warns Stuart Thomson.
Listening to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor or the Opposition front bench, you could easily be convinced that infrastructure development is the saviour of the economy. That without it, jobs and growth will be impaired and that to compete in the global market we have no option but to invest in our creaking national infrastructure...
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT & INNOVATION REWARDED AT THE 2015 LONDON TRANSPORT AWARDS
6 March 2015 | Author: Anna Pett, Events Manager, Transport Times
The people and organisations that make a real difference to transport across London were recognised at the 12th annual London Transport Awards last night. The London Borough of Southwark picked up the top award of the night for Transport Borough of the Year, London Overground (LOROL) took the Rail Operator of the Year title while Abellio London & Surrey won Bus Operator of the Year.
WHAT HAS THE COALITION MEANT FOR TRANSPORT?
4 March 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director and Founder, Steer Davies Gleave
With the general election approaching, rail has enjoyed substantial investment, with roads policy now following suit. Local transport has been less lucky – and where next for fuel duty?
It's time to review how transport has fared during the five years of the coalition government. We should start with safety. The UK has a great road safety record, up there with Sweden, but figures for the first half of 2014 showed a disturbing upward spike against a continuing background improvement....
FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS FOR A TURBULENT YEAR AHEAD
24 February 2015 | Author: Lizzie Wills, Account Director, Westminster Advisers
The outcome of the 2015 election remains far too close to call, and it is highly unclear who will form the next government. An unprecedented range of potential results is possible in what is now a five or six party system; these include a small Conservative or Labour majority, minority, or Lib Dem coalitions; an alliance of left-leaning parties (drawing together Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens, and Plaid Cymru); a Labour government supported by the SNP through confidence and supply; a Conservative government supported by the DUP and or UKIP, and so on...
ARE WE READY FOR A RETURN TO HIGHWAYS EXPANSION?
17 February 2015 | Author: Jim Steer, Director and Founder, Steer Davies Gleave
The road investment strategy, unveiled in December is a real break with poilcy over the last 20 years. But have the implications for traffic growth, land use and rail demand been thought through?
Engine for Growth is the slogan of High Speed 2… but in last month’s autumn statement it was the road investment strategy that was revving up to go, with over 100 major schemes and investment of £9.4bn over the next five years...
BUS INDUSTRY MUST PULL TOGETHER AT THE SUMMIT
5 February 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
When John Prescott was Secretary of State for Environment Transport and the Regions he spoke of transforming the bus “from a workhorse to a thoroughbred”. Next week’s Bus Summit will be a chance to take stock of how much progress has been made towards this goal.
In reality, the very ubiquity of buses means that they will almost inevitably retain some workhorse-like characteristics, no matter how widespread real time information, smart ticketing, and free wi-fi become....
BUS DEREGULATION: COULD DO BETTER?
26 January 2015 | Author: Neill Birch, Projects Director, SYSTRA Ltd
The decision by the North East Combined Authority to pursue quality contracts for bus services in Tyne and Wear clearly demonstrates the feelings of many in north-east England towards deregulation: it isn’t working for them. With other local authorities, including Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Merseyside all considering some form of franchising model too, one might conclude that deregulation has failed.
However, there are some deregulation success stories around the UK....
DEMAND MANAGEMENT: THE MISSING INGREDIENT?
14 January 2015 | Author: David Fowler, Editor, Transport Times
Planning rail investment over a series of five year cycles has been a great policy success. The malaise of UK transport investment for decades was its dependence on annual budgets, at the mercy of summary cuts if the economy faltered. It was a system that militated against coherent planning, not only for road and rail network managers but also for contractors and suppliers, who had no sound basis to decide how big a workforce they needed, and making it a gamble to take on trainees and apprentices.
FRESH TACTICS CAN HELP BREAK THE DRIVING HABIT
6 January 2015 | Author: Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys
In the UK cars are responsible for 58% of domestic transport carbon emissions. Buses have a pivotal role to play in reducing carbon emissions through modal shift. Research for Greener Journeys estimates that the best-used bus services in urban centres are reducing carbon emissions from road transport by as much as 75%.