Election call: The UK needs world-class transportation infrastructure and services

The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) believes the UK needs world-class transportation infrastructure and services to improve productivity and enable economic growth. To support this vision, CIHT have outlined some key calls for political parties to consider when planning their transport and infrastructure policies.

Sue Percy, Chief Executive, CIHT said:

“CIHT calls for any new government to invest in transport infrastructure and to recognise its importance to the economic development of all parts of the UK. Certainty of funding and investment is fundamental, so the on-going development of industrial and housing strategies remains key. Any future investment must include the whole-life maintenance of this transport infrastructure.”

“Brexit provides an opportunity for the UK to use transportation infrastructure investment to ensure that it has the economy and resources to improve its productivity and competitiveness in global markets.”

“Transportation professionals play an important role in the development of the economy and we must ensure the UK has the required skills to deliver on any infrastructure investment.”

CIHT, as the leading transportation professional body calls for a number of key actions:

1.    Transport recognised as a fundamental part of the creation of better places to live and work

Transport is about creating better places not just the moving of people and freight. Understanding people’s needs and requirements (for example in investing in sustainable transport and through creating accessible and inclusive environments) should be used when planning, designing and providing transport infrastructure and services.  

2.    The introduction of a UK National Transport Strategy

A UK Transport Strategy would provide the basis for an effective and coordinated programme of infrastructure investment that enables economic growth and gives business confidence to invest in the UK.

3.    The adoption of infrastructure delivery plans at the sub-national Level

Planning must address the delivery of transport infrastructure to meet the needs for development in the right place at the right time. To achieve this, the UK needs to change the way we deliver and integrate new developments with the required supporting transport infrastructure.  

4.    Certainty of funding for all transport infrastructure

The UK must look for opportunities to enable growth across the whole country and investment in connectivity, both physically and digitally, at a sub-national level is essential. Creating and delivering a pipeline of infrastructure investment would encourage business to invest in the resources needed to deliver future requirements.

5.    Government to introduce a total expenditure approach to transport infrastructure investment

CIHT believe there must be recognition of the important role played by our existing transport infrastructure and services. The whole life cost of transport infrastructure including on-going maintenance, needs to be resourced appropriately. To help address shortfalls in maintenance spending, which tends to operate on annualised budgets, we recommend that all sectors should adopt a total expenditure (TOTEX) method.

6.    Government to invest in skills development and the sector to become more representative of the society it serves

Brexit will provide additional challenges for the industry and the UK must make sure that negotiations allow for flexibility in the labour market and continued access to the right skills.  CIHT believes that creating a more diverse workforce and taking action to engage, retain and develop the people that work with us is vital to the capacity, capability and future sustainability of the sector.

7.    Enable the highways and transportation industry to embrace innovation and become less risk-averse

The highways and transportation sector can play a key role in unlocking productivity benefits for the UK as a whole. CIHT calls on the Government to show leadership and ensure that public, private and academic sectors work together to develop and implement solutions to current and future problems.

Brexit provides an opportunity to review the UK’s procurement legislative framework to enable/encourage innovation. This could encourage a change in attitude to the balance of risk between the public and private sectors.  

World-class transportation infrastructure and services

To improve the UK’s productivity and competitiveness requires an efficient transport system as it supports economic growth and social development. The performance of this system, including its reliability and resilience is fundamental to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the UK.

CIHT is in a unique position to work with key stakeholders to highlight the need and benefits of ensuring the UK has world-class transportation infrastructure and services. A full version of these calls is available here.