The spread of coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on how and where we work, accelerating changes that were already underway on commuter networks. As businesses plan for a future return to the office, commuters now want more flexible greener travel options, with greater interoperability across services.
Whilst pledges of increased investment in transport infrastructure have been welcome, if government is to truly level-up connectivity across the country, it will need to update its approach to investment. As the CBI’s new report, in partnership with KPMG, ‘Connecting Communities’ lays out, this must start by government supporting regional decision makers to take a significantly more strategic approach to planning for, assessing, and delivering key infrastructure investments.
What does the report recommend?
Businesses see the upcoming Spending Review as a golden opportunity for the government to embed these changes and ensure that the next five years see a step-change in commuter connectivity across the country.
Responding to business’ concerns, the ‘Connecting Communities’ report in our campaign to transform the commute for all, outlines a series of recommendations to government on how to rethink the way it invests in the nation’s commuter networks, including:
- Ten-year funding settlements for regional infrastructure, to enable strategic planning, as well as improved infrastructure maintenance
- Changes to the Green Book approach to project appraisal – focusing on whole programmes of work that can promote local growth and environmental sustainability in areas that need it most, rather than just the most prosperous
- A focus on driving delivery as well as increasing investment through improving planning capacity and capability within local authorities.
Looking ahead the CBI will continue to explore what steps are required to build commuter networks fit for the future, including exploring how we can decarbonise journeys and use investment in technology to build services around customers’ needs.
If you would like to discuss our work on commuting or other infrastructure projects, please contact Freddie Hopkinson.