Transport devolution in the UK
20 June 2016 • Author(s): Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Department for Transport, UK
Cities matter to the UK. Cities and their wider economic areas account for an astonishing 74% of our population and 78% of our jobs. They act as engines of growth and in recent years have been crucial in boosting the UK economy. As a government it is vital for us to promote growth in the places that people live and work, and transport has always played a critical role in this development. London, in particular, is a truly global city and a comprehensive, integrated public transport system has been a key factor in its success. To have a thriving, modern economy requires resilient and innovative transport systems and our cities are leading the way in developing unique solutions to the challenges they face.
To enable our cities to prosper, central government has embarked on an ambitious programme of devolution. These ‘Devolution Deals’ between central and local government have agreed significant changes to the way our cities will be governed. New elected mayors, with combined authorities working across administrative boundaries, will begin to take power across England from 2017, bringing them more into line with the London governance model. New powers and funding are being devolved as part of this process. This will give cities the chance to make decisions across transport and other policy areas to help overcome the challenges that affect their communities.
A fundamental aspect of transport devolution is enabling the new mayors and combined authorities to promote greater integration in their transport networks. Currently bus services outside London are provided in a de-regulated environment, but new legislation is being progressed that will change the way buses operate. This legislation will enable mayors to franchise bus services in their areas and develop more effective smart ticketing products. These changes are providing local areas with the transport powers they need to support their efforts to boost economic growth; providing better access to jobs and services, and facilitating new housing growth to cater for the growing city populations…