Why local partnerships matter

Last week, the Transport Knowledge Hub held an event in the South West to explore how the latest transport technology and innovation can help the region make more sustainable and inclusive transport investments.

One of themes that developed was the importance of partnerships between all the key players: national bodies such as Highways England and National Rail, combined authorities, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and transport operators.

We heard from First Group that bus patronage in Bristol, and in the wider West of England and North Somerset, has been growing for four years continuously with a 30 per cent increase in bus usage. This has been achieved through local stakeholders prioritising the bus as an effective mode of local transport and key partners having the confidence to invest in buses. Schemes like the Bristol MetroBus, which is better linking the north and south of the city, has the potential to be transformational in moving people between where they can live and where they can work.

We heard from Highways England how RIS2 funding (the road investment strategy post-2020) can create economic growth in local communities. Strategic economic growth is part of the evidence for RIS2 funding, as well as changes in technologies, both in vehicles and the wider construction. The government are now in the lead on RIS2, with Highways England examining all the potential schemes that might benefit from new investment. We also heard how important it is for Highways England and Network Rail to work together to unlock economic growth, particularly in the South West.

We also heard about the power of the new combined authorities, in this case the West of England Combined Authority whose mayor, Tim Bowles, is working closely with local authorities and partners to unlock transport investment near county borders that will enable people to move around the South West more efficiently.

Image: Bristol Metrobus

About the Author

This post was written by Claire Haigh. Claire is Chief Executive of Greener Journeys

Claire Haigh

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With LEPs now responsible for significant amounts of local transport funding decisions, the Transport Knowledge Hub is a timely new tool for local decision makers. At the LEP Network, we know the huge value of giving LEPs a forum to share best practice and engage with other stakeholders, so we are delighted to be involved with a transport-specific project which supports spending decisions that make a genuine difference.

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