The Urban Transport Group has appointed Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), as chair.
Shoaf was previously vice-chair of the organisation and is its first female chair.
Her appointment follows the end of the two-year term of outgoing chair Stephen Edwards, the executive director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
Shoaf has made than 20 years’ experience leading in urban transport planning in the UK and USA, and is a long standing supporter of the organisation’s goals to bring funding and powers to city regions where they can be managed and implemented with local knowledge.
In her managing director role at TfWM, Shoaf is responsible for key initiatives across the West Midlands metropolitan area and is overseeing more than £4 billion investment in the region’s infrastructure through the HS2 Connectivity Package and the Strategic Transport Plan.
She has been leading the region’s transport response to the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “During the pandemic, the Urban Transport Group is proving its worth more than ever with intensive daily liaison on the multiple operational and financial challenges that all its members face.
"It has been, and continues to be, invaluable to collaborate on these problems and to be able to make common representations to Government to secure the funding and policy support we need.
“Alongside our response to Covid-19, we, as a network, are also delivering on the strong consensus on the need for high quality, integrated urban public transport networks that can support the greener, healthier and more prosperous city regions that we want to see.
"Our members are at the heart of delivering programmes to achieve this, including extensive investment in better rail and bus services, as well as in making active travel easier and more attractive."