Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for urban transport in the UK - innovation and modernisation, policy and tackling barriers, serving local needs, and supporting economic recovery

Morning, Tuesday, 21st September 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will be an opportunity to assess the next steps for developing urban and city transport systems in England - looking at priorities for long-term policy and support for delivering integrated transport services, as well as latest thinking on transport planning after COVID-19.

The conference takes place at a time of significant policy focus on city and urban transport development and its role in economic growth and recovery - with key policy related to this conference, such as:

  • the National Infrastructure Strategy - and its plans to deliver significant fresh funding in transport areas such as bus and cycling infrastructure, as well as the Levelling Up Fund
  • the Government’s ongoing devolution agenda - including powers related to transport planning around finance and resources, and setting policy
  • the Future of Transport programme - with overarching goals for mass urban transit systems and low-carbon transport options
  • the Prime Minister’s Roadmap out of lockdown - with implications on social distancing, use and confidence for public transport, and ongoing policy ambition for facilitating active travel

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • implementation and policy:
    • linking transport network strategies and city business plans to support economic recovery
    • stakeholder support and engagement
  • infrastructure:
    • creating large-scale city-wide transport networks
    • expanding inter-city connectivity and multi-modal access between urban areas
    • opportunities presented by planning reform
  • sustainability and serving user needs:
    • urban decarbonisation plans
    • active travel options
    • enabling new mobility modes and services

The agenda

  • Latest thinking on transport system development in urban and city environments, and the potential impact on economic growth in England
  • Urban transport and rapid transit options as a driver of economic recovery - coordinating connectivity with city business plans, stakeholder mobilisation, and priorities for policy support
  • Changes in transport user preferences and behaviours, emerging trends in micromobility, and meeting long-term climate and air quality goals in built environments
  • Tackling construction barriers to transport infrastructure modernisation, enhanced multi-modal access between urban areas, and leveraging the engagement of local supply partners
  • Latest thinking on inner-city mass transport systems and scaling up intermodal capability
  • Planning reform, regulation and insurance frameworks - opportunities for innovation in the design of local and regional transport plans
  • Creating city-wide transport networks and infrastructure, expanding inter-city connectivity, and lessons from transport devolution in Greater Manchester
  • The way forward for policy on urban and city transport networks, and its role in the levelling up agenda

Areas for discussion:

City and regional transport strategies - and responding to the ongoing impact of COVID-19:

  • long-term transport system planning:
    • identifying deficiencies in transport services
    • accommodating changing passenger pressures and preferences
    • approaches to tackling barriers to increasing suburban-city centre connectivity, including determining infrastructure priorities
  • COVID-19:
    • addressing systemic challenges - for urban transport, as well as assessing the long-term ‘normal’ for work and leisure, and what it means for transport system planning
    • financial support mechanisms - assessing their scope for transport operators and other stakeholders
    • the ongoing impact of safety measures:
      • including social distancing, and approaches to restoring passenger confidence
      • in the context of the Government’s roadmap for a gradual relaxation of restrictions into the summer
    • facilitating alternative transport options - including determining the optimum mix of public transport and road user needs with increased walking and micromobility capacity
  • connectivity and economic recovery - tying together transport needs with economic goals, including:
    • connectivity design that supports business and employment opportunities outside city centres
    • creating investment opportunities and fostering investor confidence
  • transport devolution in England - next steps for transport planning powers, building collaboration and coordinated approaches across regions, and reducing barriers to capital and finance raising
    • a keynote contribution on transport devolution in Manchester from Simon Warburton, Transport Strategy Director, Transport for Greater Manchester

Infrastructure development and reducing regional inequalities:

  • economic recovery:
    • integrating the development of cross-region transport projects with delivery on growth ambitions
    • rapid transit systems and boosting rail connectivity between key cities and regions
    • reducing journey times for passenger and commerce
  • intermodal transport systems:
    • light rail and bus integration - long-term approaches, and identifying the optimal policy and infrastructure options for achieving increased suburban connectivity
    • collaboration with property and geospatial planners
    • balancing the capacity needs of car drivers, freight and public transport
  • the ‘levelling up’ agenda - priorities for the contribution of transport infrastructure:
    • road maintenance and expansion - rolling out in local and suburban settings, and the role of devolved powers in creating tailored approaches to securing improvements
    • increasing the reliability of connections between urban and city centres
    • scaling up work with local supply chains and delivery partners
  • planning system reform:
    • opportunities for taking advantage of planning system reform for regional transport projects
    • local plans, and the potential for reducing permission and logistical barriers to transport delivery and planning

Decarbonisation - leadership from cities and other urban environments on policy goals and implementation:

  • innovation - latest thinking on widening active travel options and access, and the impact of micromobility and other emerging transport modes on congestion reduction
  • urban emissions reduction:
    • low-carbon public transport - priorities for support and rollout at scale
    • abatement - setting goals and timelines, and designing effective measures
    • ultra-low emission zones - latest developments, and assessing their future
  • adapting to changing behaviours:
    • identifying trends and the scope of their long-term impact
    • diversifying flexible and attractive options for commuting
    • vehicle sharing schemes - assessing opportunities and other approaches to reducing the number of personally-used vehicles in urban environments
  • active travel - widening options across urban areas, re-designing road and pedestrian infrastructure, standardising cycle zones, widening bike and micromobility hire schemes, and tackling development barriers
  • new mobility services - next steps for commercialisation, priorities for legal, regulatory and insurance frameworks, incentives for micromobility, and the widening use of e-cargo bikes and drones for business

A scan of relevant developments:

  • Budget 2021 - with a specific focus on urban transport, including:
    • funding and project details for intra-city transport settlements across English regions, with £4.2bn earmarked for 2022-2023
    • guidance on submitting bids for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, and its role for local transport and infrastructure projects
    • investment for specific measures to improve transport links between regions
  • the Future of Transport Programme - aiming to support innovation and market development for a modernised and world-leading UK transport system as part of the Industrial Strategy, alongside:
    • the Future of mobility: urban strategy - including measures to decarbonise city transport networks, take advantage of new urban mobility technologies, and prepare for larger city populations
    • the Future of Transport regulatory review - aimed at supporting new technologies in urban environments, business models, and aiding the transport sector’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19
    • the Future of Transport: rural strategy - exploring methods for enabling transport technology and system design to improve urban and city connectivity for rural communities
  • Bus Back Better - the new national bus strategy for England, backed with an initial £3bn to support:
    • expanded bus services in urban environments
    • innovation in ticketing
    • rolling out emission-free busses across city regions
    • an initial £120m made available through the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, part of the new bus strategy, giving local authorities the opportunity to bid for zero-emission buses in England
  • the Transport Decarbonisation Plan - including low-carbon rail, metro and active travel options for city transport
  • the National Infrastructure Strategy - with funding allocated for rail, road and regional development, greater urban and city connectivity, and £4.2bn intra-city transport settlements outside London
  • the £2bn walking and cycling fund - providing support for emergency bike lanes, bike rental schemes, and guidance on urban infrastructure repurposing
  • first UK-wide bus strategy and funding settlement - £220m for supporting the development of new superbus networks, intermodal connection to the spinal railway network, and restoring urban services connecting to rural and city-centre locations
  • the First of a Kind competition - launched by the Rail Minister, with a £9m fund for ideas that will improve passenger experience and work towards decarbonisation of the network
  • 2020 transport-technology research and innovation grant (T-TRIG) winners announced - the latest winners of transport innovation grant funding, awarded to ideas and projects that prioritise safer and greener travel
  • Funding to fix equivalent of 10 million potholes allocated to local authorities - the next £500m instalment of the £2.5bn Potholes Fund, has been distributed to local authorities, as part of a five year plan to address and fix potholes across local and suburban roads
  • 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme - the Government have initiated a series of trials of 5G across the UK, including looking at how 5G could be used to manage traffic in urban areas

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords and officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; the Department for Transport; the Joint Air Quality Unit; the National Audit Office; the National Infrastructure Commission and the Welsh Government.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from LAPV and RAIL.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from stakeholders from transport planners and leaders of local government, representatives from infrastructure, engineering, and construction firms, transport operators and manufacturers, local enterprise partnerships, investment firms, legal and consultancy voices, passenger groups, academics, think tanks, environmental organisations, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Simon Warburton

Transport Strategy Director, Transport for Greater Manchester

Keynote Speakers

Philipp Rode

Executive Director, LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dave Widger

Regional Director, Economic Development, AECOM

Alex Hornby

Chief Executive Officer, Transdev Blazefield

Simon Warburton

Transport Strategy Director, Transport for Greater Manchester


Lord Bradshaw

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rail and Treasurer; and Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Bus and Coach Industry

Peter Dowd MP

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Transport Across the North


Clive Memmott

Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Claire Haigh

Chief Executive Officer, Greener Transport Solutions and Executive Director, Transport Knowledge Hub

Catherine Bowen

Senior Policy Adviser, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association

Nicholas Evans

Partner, BDB Pitmans

Councillor Jackie Taylor

Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Sandwell Council

Alison Edwards

Head of Policy, Confederation of Passenger Transport

Jason Torrance

Policy Director, UK100

Scott Witchalls

Director, Transport and Infrastructure, Stantec