On 11 October, Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy, delivered a keynote at the TfSE Conference setting out the CBI’s vision for the future of transport. Looking ahead, he identified three key areas of importance for the business community:
- Businesses recognise the importance of more effective transport networks to their global success
Effective transport networks will be the difference between growth and stagnation for British businesses in the years up to 2050. For future growth, UK companies need access to a highly mobile workforce, with quick access to global and national markets. Without coordinated investment in transport connections from the public and private sectors, British businesses will lose out to foreign competitors.
- Transport infrastructure is critical for future national economic growth
Across the UK, every region has an important role to play in being a gateway to the wider world. For example, the Southeast is home to Europe’s busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port at Dover, the Port of Southampton, Getlink (formerly the Eurotunnel) and a strategic network of shipping hubs that connect our economy to the continent. Moreover, the region is home to the UK’s second busiest international airport in terms of passenger traffic, Gatwick airport, and has Heathrow Airport on its periphery.
As a result of these expanding links, the success of regional transport infrastructure is not simply a concern for the local economy but businesses nationwide who can also benefit from the regions access to global markets.
- The UK’s infrastructure network needs to be ready for the digital revolution
In the last few years alone, trials of autonomous vehicles, blockchain in shipping, and intelligent railway networks have already raised some important questions about how we plan to build our transport infrastructure in the future. Looking to 2050, there will be increased demand from businesses for an interoperable transport system that meets the requirements of rapid technological developments in the mobility of both people and goods.
However, whilst changes in technology stand to revolutionise transport infrastructure, business recognise that benefits will only be realised if they are truly integrated with wider infrastructure across all regions of the UK.
Over the course of 2020/21, the CBI is partnering with KPMG on a campaign to consider what steps government and business should take to transform the UK’s transport infrastructure to make commuting better for all.
To find out more about this campaign, please contact Freddie Hopkinson and Tania Kumar.