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The word November with magnifying glass

November saw the long-awaited launch of the National Infrastructure Strategy, designed to transform the UK’s infrastructure networks, and based around three central objectives; economic recovery, levelling up and strengthening the Union, and meeting the UK’s net-zero emissions target by 2050.

The Government also launched its Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The plan includes focus on making walking and cycling a more attractive way to travel, as well as investment in zero-emissions public transport of the future. The plan also brings forward the date for the ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030.

Lastly, the government has launched its Future of Transport programme, with the aim of shaping transport innovation and making the UK a world leader in transport movement. As part of the programme there are some interesting reports including a user study which looks at the potential uptake of new transport technologies, potential barriers and enablers to Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and equalities research to help ensure future transport is accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Below we take a look in more detail at what’s been happening in our core policy areas of transport and gender diversity.

Active Travel
Transport Connectivity
Buses
Rail
Transport and Covid-19
E-mobility
Electric Vehicles
Electric Scooters
Diversity


Active Travel

Active travel received a boost with the announcement of a £257m investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in the government’s Spending Review. It was also announced earlier in the month that a further £175m will be invested in ‘high-quality’ cycling and walking infrastructure across England. This is part of the wider £2bn cycling and walking package announced by Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, back in May and is set to focus on decreasing motor traffic around schools at certain times and increasing the number of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods around England.

In other active travel news in November:

  • The number of people cycling in Glasgow City Centre has grown more than 80% in the past two years, as efforts continue to drive down car use in Scotland’s most polluted city. Glasgow is currently rolling out the biggest cycling infrastructure project of its kind in the UK at a cost of around £115m.
  • Transport for Greater Manchester has announced the rollout of 20 ‘smart junctions’ across the city. Using sensors to detect the type of road user at junctions and allowing different transport modes to be given priority, the scheme aims to promote the use of active travel modes such as walking and cycling.
  • Essex County Council is set to receive £7m funding from the Department for Transport to turn a busy roundabout in Colchester into a Dutch style roundabout. The new roundabout will give priority to cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The City of Edinburgh has secured almost £2m in additional funding from Sustrans to improve conditions for walking, cycling and wheeling.

Transport connectivity

The Prime Minister has asked Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair of Network Rail, to lead a first of its kind study into improving transport connectivity and infrastructure across the UK. A call for evidence has been issued.

Buses

Public transport featured in the Spending Review, with the government pledging to invest £120m for 500 new zero-emissions buses.  

Rail

  • The preferred route for the Northern Powerhouse Rail was unveiled this month. The proposed network spans from Liverpool to Hull, Sheffield and the North East. Construction would begin in 2024/5 and it would link fully with HS2, with shared track, stations and junctions in parts.
  • The Railway Industry Association has launched its 10 reasons to continue to invest in rail report, to make the case for continued improvements for the UK rail network. 
  • Network Rail has committed to reducing emissions aligned with the Paris Agreement. The company aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% and its indirect emissions by 28%, by 2029.

Transport and Covid-19 

  • Experts checking buses and the Tube for Covid-19 have found no presence of the virus. Imperial College London has been carrying out tests on behalf of TfL to check for coronavirus within the air and in frequent passenger touch points. 
  • Unfortunately though, research published by the RAC has found the pandemic has put back attitudes to driving versus public transport by two decades, with almost two-thirds of UK car owners now considering their vehicle essential.
  • For the first time since 2002, 43% of drivers say they would reduce car use, even if train and bus services were improved. This is down from 57% in 2019.
  • In Scotland, Scotrail has announced it plans to reduce services by 10% from December due to reduced passenger demand.

E-mobility

E-mobility was also favoured in the Spending Review, with over £1.3bn to be invested in electric charging infrastructure points. 

Other news this month includes:

Electric vehicles (EVs)

  • It was reported this month by Greenpeace that the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel engines by 2030 could create more than 30,000 jobs and provide a £4.2bn boost to the economy.
  • According to data from a Freedom of Information request, Scotland has received more funding per capita for EVs than England and Wales combined. Scottish councils received £1.91 per capita to be spend on EV Charging, compared to the national average which sits at £0.58 per capita.
  • This month Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks alongside Connected Kerb and disabled motoring groups has launched a project that seeks to understand the requirements and barriers for disabled and vulnerable motorists to make the switch to EVs.
  • Data published by the DfT this month shows electric van uptake is steadily increasing. At the end of Q2 this year, there were 10,000 electric light goods vehicles registered in the UK.

E-Scooters

E-scooter trials throughout the UK are gathering momentum. The following places have recently either announced, launched or are consulting on trials : 

  • Bath
  • Canterbury
  • London
  • High Wycombe
  • Aylesbury
  • Bristol
  • Derby
  • Copeland
  • Barnstaple
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme and Keele University Campus
  • Basildon
  • Braintree
  • Brentwood
  • Clacton
  • Chelmsford
  • Colchester

Diversity

  • Earlier this month, the Railway Industry Association and Women in Rail launched a Charter to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry. JFG Comms is proud to join over 100 other organisations as a founding signatory of the Charter.
  • A recent study by Transport Infrastructure Ireland looking at gender issues in transport found women tend to have more complex patterns of mobility surrounding work travel, care-giving duties, running errands and buying groceries. The report suggests women and men can have different needs, constraints and expectations for using transport, and if women feel more empowered and safe to use sustainable transport modes such as walking, cycling and public transport, there will be less dependence on cars.
  • The BBC launched its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2020. Among those on the list was Macinley Butson, an Australian scientist who has invented a range of devices aimed at improving outcomes radiotherapy breast cancer patients, and Erica Baker, a German Engineer and diversity campaigner.
  • A report by City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) shows only 16% of rail workers in the UK are women, and just 27% of people BAME people would consider a career in rail. This comes at a time when the UK rail industry is facing a skills shortfall, with up to 120,000 additional people required over the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Scotrail announced its priority to increase their numbers of women and ethnic minority engineers. 
  • The Scottish Government has launched a new programme designed to address gender inequality in the workplace and reduce the gender pay gap.
  • The Higher Education Policy Institute has launched a report and recommendations on how higher education institutions can help eradicate the graduate gender pay gap.

We hope you found this roundup interesting and informative. Please contact us if you would like further information, or to find out more about the public affairs and diversity services we offer. Or sign up to our blog for up to date news, opinions and advice.