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Bottom of a bike with cyclists feet, road and cars in the background, with the caption 'a new report from the world health organisation shows swapping driving for cycling for just one day a week saves the equivalent emissions of a flight from London to New York.'

A look at the transport industry in June

This month we saw the largest strikes in decades with RMT members, some 40,000 rail operators, walking out of work. Talks are ongoing between the union and rail bosses with minimal to no intervention from the government. If the unions are successful, it’s highly likely we’ll see the ‘summer of discontent’ continue with multiple other industries expected to follow suit with their own action. 

There was turmoil in airports throughout the UK as returning passenger levels and staff shortages led to cancellations, delays and long queuing for countless customers. Heathrow airport achieved 79% of pre-Covid 2019 levels in May and with June predicted to be busier, the stresses on the aviation industry are expected to continue.  

The government also announced its Future of Freight Plan, in collaboration with Logistics UK and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, to encourage people to work in the logistics sector. The plan is a culmination of a series of policies announced since the HGV crisis last year, along with some additional funding and a further call for evidence, which looks to boost the sector’s growth. 

Below we take a look in more detail at what’s been happening in our core policy areas of transport and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Follow us on twitter and LinkedIn or sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with our analysis of key industry topics. If you need help with any of these policy areas, or anything else, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Active travel
Public transport
Buses
Rail
E-Mobility
E-Vehicles
E-Scooters
E-Bikes
Air Quality
Aviation
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Active travel

  • The Department for Transport has announced Olympian, Chris Boardman, has been appointed permanent National Active Travel Commissioner, and will permanently head up Active Travel England, alongside Chief Executive Officer, Danny Williams, and Chief Operating Officer, Louise Wilkinson.
  • A multi-million pound grant fund has opened to support people across Scotland to travel in more active and sustainable ways. Community, public and third sector organisations can now apply to the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund, which has £5m worth of grants available this year alone. Now in its fifth year, the fund has already awarded over £9.2m to hundreds of projects across Scotland, that aim to get people out of their cars and walk, wheel or cycle for short journeys and use public or sustainable travel for longer trips.
  • The Scottish Government has appointed Lee Craigie as the new Ambassador for Active Travel. As part of a significant expansion of investment in walking, wheeling and cycling, the Scottish Government is currently reviewing how its programmes are planned and delivered. As an evolution of her previous role as Active Nation Commissioner, Lee has agreed to continue to support the transformation for the next 15 months, focusing on public engagement, access to bikes and providing an independent perspective on progress.
  • A new report from the World Health Organisation shows that swapping driving for cycling for just one day a week saves the equivalent emissions of a flight from London to New York – about half a tonne of carbon dioxide. The report further states if one in five urban residents can be convinced to swap their car for cycling one day a week, it would cut emissions from all car travel in Europe by about 8%.
  • Transport for London (TfL) has now been given the power to fine motor vehicles caught in mandatory cycle lanes and cycle tracks, in a bid to improve safety for all cyclists. TfL and all London boroughs have been given expanded enforcement powers to fine motor vehicles driving within or crossing the white lines of cycle lanes, which until now have only been enforced by the police. Improving safety on London’s roads is a vital part of TfL’s ‘Vision Zero’ commitment to eliminating death and serious injury on the transport network.
  • The President of motoring organisation, the AA, has urged drivers to cut out shorter car journeys and walk or cycle instead. Edmund King stated that by ‘changing your driving style, you can save up to 15% on fuel costs’. 

Public transport

  • Since opening at the end of May, the Elizabeth line has welcomed more than one million passengers in its first five days of operation. The central section of the new Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood has seen more than one million journeys, and in the same time-frame, the whole line, which stretches from Reading and Heathrow in the west, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, has seen more than two million journeys. 
  • London Underground passengers recovered to their pre-pandemic levels for the first time since March 2020, over the Jubilee bank holiday, according to figures released by the Department for Transport. Passenger numbers reached 118% of the same level last year.
  • A new survey commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers has found almost one in two people living in the North of England, Midlands and Wales say they would find it hard to use more public transport to reduce carbon emissions. This compares to only a quarter of respondents in London.

Elsewhere in public transport this month:

Buses

  • National Express West Midlands is helping people get on the road to employment, thanks to a new charity partnership with Suited for Success. The bus company is donating a retired bus which will be converted into a touring facility, providing interview support for local unemployed people across Birmingham.
  • The Scottish Government has given local authorities throughout the country the power to run their own bus services. Section 34 of the Transport (Scotland) Act gives local transport authorities the power to run local bus services in any way they see fit. This gives local authorities the flexible tools they need to respond to their own transport challenges, helping deliver a more responsive and sustainable transport system.
  • Construction of the first phase of the Sprint bus rapid transit network has been completed in Birmingham. The first £88m phase connects Walsall with Birmingham City Centre and Birmingham Airport, to create one continuous route. The route will enable Birmingham and West Midlands to further benefit from HS2, linking Walsall and Solihull and the immediate communities directly with the new HS2 Curzon Street and Interchange stations.

Rail

  • A new onboard digital service providing passengers with hearing loss with personalised journey information announcements has been trialled by Transport for Wales (TfW).The application, called the Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay, enables passengers connected to the onboard WiFi to receive personalised journey announcements to their smart devices in real-time. It was tested successfully on TfW trains on the Rhymney to Penarth route for two months.
  • HS2 has started construction of the UK’s longest railway bridge. The Colne Valley Viaduct will stretch for 3.4km, carrying high-speed trains 10m above a series of lakes and waterways, just outside north-west London.
  • Figures released by the Department for Transport show rail passenger numbers are returning to pre-covid levels, both on week days and weekends. Latest figures show passenger numbers reached 90% of pre-Covid levels on Thursday 19thMay, and reached 92% in the following three days.
  • The latest statistics from the Office of Rail and Road shows rail freight has continued to grow since the pandemic, with the amount of freight moved and volume carried now being higher in 2021/22 than before the pandemic in 2019/20. A total of 16.87 billion tonne-kilometres was moved in 2021/22, an 11.3% rise over the previous year and 1.8% higher than in 2019/20. Volumes rose by 13.5% year on year to 78 million tonnes carried, an increase of 8% compared to two years before.
  • HS2 has announced the start of construction at the site of its first innovative ‘green tunnel’, designed to blend the high speed railway into the landscape and reduce disruption for communities. The tunnel will be constructed off-site in segments before being assembled on-site. The completed tunnel will then be covered by earth, with trees, shrubs and hedgerows planted to fit in with the surrounding countryside.

E-Mobility

E-Vehicles

  • The Scottish Government is providing over £30m this financial year to accelerate the shift to zero-emission transport. This includes support for zero-emission community transport and car clubs, in addition to funding interest free loans for electric vehicles. This approach is designed to support more people and households on lower incomes to make the switch to electric.
  • According to figures analysed by the RAC’s new Charge Watch initiative, the average price of charging an electric car on a pay-as-you-go non-subscription basis at a publicly accessible rapid charger in Great Britain has increased by 21% to 44.55p per kilowatt hour since September.
  • According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a total of 15,448 battery electric vehicles were registered last month – up from 13,120 in May 2020. Registrations of fully electric cars now represent one in eight new cars joining the road.
  • A recent study commissioned by campaign group, Transport & Environment, has found the UK has almost as many workplace charge points as public chargers for electric vehicles. The study found there are 33,000 charge points at work, uplifting the public charging network by an additional 85%.
  • The government has closed its plug-in car grant scheme to new orders to concentrate funding on expanding the public chargepoint network, as well as electric taxis, vans, trucks, motorcycles and wheelchair accessible vehicles. The plug-in grant scheme helped increase sales of fully electric cars from less than 1,000 in 2011 to almost 100,000 in the first five months of 2022 alone.

E-Scooters

  • A brand new e-scooter, the Voiager 5 rolled out across Bath earlier this month. Bath, along with Bristol, are among the first cities in the UK to have the latest iteration of Voi’s world-class e-scooter, which was designed for city riding. The scooter has new and improved features, which include an updated dashboard design, integrated phone holder and automated turn indicator switch, helping riders navigate city streets easily, efficiently and safely.
  • Bristol’s e-scooter rental scheme is to be expanded to cover the entire city. Ridership has hit more than four million journeys, with riders travelling nearly seven million miles across Bristol and South Gloucestershire since being introduced in October 2020. The expansion will cover the northwest and south of the city and be available to nearly half a million people, helping reduce congestion and pollution in the city.

E-Bikes

  • Cyclists in the West Midlands have taken more than 30,000 journeys on e-bikes since its rental scheme was launched in December. More than 8,000 individuals have used the e-bikes and travelled an average of almost 3km per trip. The 150 e-bikes available for hire have also attracted new users to the scheme, with more than 2,700 people using an e-bike for the first time. 

Air Quality

  • Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee have now formally introduced Low Emission Zones to improve air quality, with many older vehicles being banned from city centres. Grace periods are now in place for the four cities, with enforcement due to begin from next year.
  • The number of polluting vehicles driving inside Birmingham’s clean air zone has halved in its first year, according to figures released by the city council. Air quality has improved and nitrogen dioxide levels are down an average of 13%.
  • According to new analysis from the Air Quality Life Index, particulate air pollution takes 2.2 years off global average life expectancy, or a combined 17 billion life years. The impact on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, more than three times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times that of HIV/AIDS and 89 times that of conflict and terrorism.
  • A new report published by charity, Asthma + Lung UK, reveals 53% of people with asthma and 47% of people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease say toxic air is a trigger for their symptoms, which can include a tight chest, coughing and breathlessness, in a survey of 16,000 people. When applied to the general population of people with asthma and COPD, this could equate to as many as 3.4million people who are affected.
  • New figures released by Bath and North East Somerset Council indicate Bath’s Clean Air Zone is working to reduce air pollution. A 21% reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution has been recorded across the city in 2021, when compared with 2019 (pre-Covid).
  • Leeds City Council has launched a new email service, which will alert residents when air quality is low, and pollution levels are high. The initiative forms part of a wider plan to reduce the 5.7% of deaths in Leeds linked to air pollution, and encourages people to change behaviours in line with the latest advice on atmospheric levels.
  • Westminster Council has opened a new online air quality portal, allowing the public to view data in real-time from sensors installed at pilot locations at schools across the area. It is hoped that giving residents access to up-to-minute data on atmospheric conditions will make parents, carers, pupils, teachers and others more aware of air pollution and encourage them to consider alternative, sustainable modes of travel.

Aviation

  • The British Government has issued a ‘historic challenge’ to the aviation industry to complete the first net-zero flight across the Atlantic by the end of 2023. Airlines were invited to register their interest to apply for the chance to receive up to £1m from the Department for Transport to support testing, research and staffing costs to make net zero flying a reality.
  • The International Air Transport Association has announced continued air travel recovering during April. Total demand for air travel in April 2022 was up 78.7% compared to April 2021, and slightly ahead of March 2022’s 76% year-over-year increase. 
  • Heathrow airport has recorded its busiest month since March 2020. The airport achieved 79% of pre-Covid 2019 levels in May as 5.3million passengers used the London airport.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • A new report, recommended by the government-commissioned Rose Review into how best to boost female entrepreneurship, shows progress in boosting investment in UK’s women entrepreneurs. The Investing in Women Code shows the following key findings:
    • In 2021 34% of venture capital deals made by code signatories were in companies with at least one woman founder, compared to an industry average of 24%.
    • In 2021, the average amount of Angel (early-stage) investment being sought by all-women teams (£791k) was very similar to all-men teams (£823k). This is an encouraging change from 2020, when all-women teams requested less than 50% of the amounts requested by all-men teams.

We hope you found this roundup interesting and informative. 

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