Politically, 2018 has been one of the most tumultuous years in living memory, dominated by the UK’s fast approaching withdrawal from the European Union. For the Transport Knowledge Hub (TKH), 2018 was an exciting year, which has seen the TKH community grow and continue to facilitate an environment to encourage best practice and to reflect on the big issues facing the transport sector across the UK.
Highlights from 2018 included two successful series of regional events organised by the Hub in Spring and Autumn 2018. The events were a unique opportunity to bring together local government, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the wider transport community to discuss the most pressing issues facing the transport sector. Another significant milestone this year was the publication of research by KPMG, which crucially highlighted the important role that sustainable transport can play in unlocking the benefits of new homes.
The TKH Spring events focused on the theme of achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in the UK. High-profile events were held in Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Bristol, bringing together policy makers and facilitating debate around how we can work together to achieve our goals. We heard from excellent speakers including a keynote speech in Glasgow from the then Scottish Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf MSP. The events allowed for wide-ranging discussions on crucial issues within the sector including emerging technologies, improving rail journey times, bus patronage and devolution.
In May, the Transport Knowledge Hub published analysis by KPMG which demonstrated that planning and investment in sustainable transport will be key to unlocking the benefits of new housing. New developments in urban centres can stimulate 50% more economic growth than similar developments located at the fringe, but unless we provide more public transport options alongside new housing, we risk bringing local roads to a standstill.
The research was a timely and well-received intervention into the UK’s infrastructure challenge, in which it must deliver 300,000 new homes every year to abate the housing crisis. In the rush to build these new homes, it is vital that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past where all too often new developments increased car dependency. TKH has commissioned KPMG to undertake further research which will include recommendations for all those involved in the planning and delivery of new homes.
The Autumn events, held on the theme of sustainable transport and housing, were the perfect opportunity to bring together key policy makers across the transport sector to discuss the barriers which the KPMG research highlighted. The events also acted as a consultation exercise to identify solutions to break down the barriers that are preventing a more integrated approach between transport and housebuilding. Held across the UK – in Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol – the events heard from a range of excellent speakers and focused on a range of themes including achieving more joined-up thinking between policy makers, devolution and achieving greater social mobility.
After a fantastic 2018, the Transport Knowledge Hub is now looking ahead to 2019 with excitement. With a range of challenges and opportunities facing the transport sector, the Hub will bring together the key policy makers within the transport sector so that these challenges can be approached in an integrated fashion. We will officially launch the KPMG research at our South East event in City Hall on the 18 February, joined by a host of high profile speakers – and it promises to be a well-received intervention in the housing crisis. As the year progresses, the Hub hopes to continue its strong growth and help drive sustainable and inclusive local economic growth.
About the Author
This post was written by Claire Haigh. Claire is Executive Director of the Transport Knowledge Hub.