Smart Transport

Britain needs 'world-class' public transport to meet decarbonisation target, says transport minister

Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland and transport minister

The three Cs of Covid-19, carbon and convenience are guiding government transport policy, with a commitment that the post-pandemic recovery will not be car led, according to Trudy Harrison MP (pictured), parliamentary under secretary for the Department for Transport.

Addressing delegates at the Smart Transport conference, she said the Government faced a stark choice - design a transport network that will meet the needs of passengers today and for decades to come; or revert to an out-dated transport model.

“We are choosing a transport system fit for the future – a future of world class public transport infrastructure, green travel, accessible to all and the ability to choose from a range of shared, clean green forms of travel,” said Harrison.

In the wake of COP26, she said the climate conference had kept alive the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, “but only just - more action is needed in this decisive decade.”

As a major carbon emitter, the transport sector has a major role to play in decarbonising as the country ‘builds back better’ from the pandemic, providing cleaner, cheaper travel than the congestion and pollution associated with car traffic, added Harrison.

She repeated the Transport Decarbonisation Plan’s goal that half of all journeys should be by active transport by 2030, and highlighted the Government’s pledge to invest £3 billion in bus transport over the course of this parliament, and £96 billion in the rail network.

The Government’s goal is to integrate these traditional modes of public transport with new on-demand and micro-mobility travel options to ensure that journey decisions do not automatically default to the private car.

“MaaS (Mobility as a Service) platforms will give people the choice of a range of carbon friendly, public and shared transport options, all access booked and paid for by a seamless user experience. It will bring the same modern-day experience of watching a film, ordering a takeaway or even finding a partner, to how we decide to travel,” said Harrison.

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