Transport is often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Expensive, stressful and unreliable commutes negatively impact employee wellbeing and productivity. But the UK has the opportunity to carve out a new future for commuting: one in which commuting is better for people – and better for the planet.
That’s why we’re asking the government to accelerate the delivery of critical commuting infrastructure across the country. We’re also asking business to consider using flexible working options to ease the burden of the commute on their employees.
The government must build houses, transport and digital infrastructure on time and on budget – including projects like HS2, Crossrail and Digital X
The government needs to provide devolved decision-making power to cities, enabling them to improve their own urban infrastructure
Business must provide flexible working arrangements to allow people to work when and where they want to
Because of the hours they lose, commuters have lower levels of life satisfaction and happiness on average than non-commuters. Productivity suffers not only because of when and where people work – but how they get there. To combat this, commutes need to waste less time, be more affordable, and feature technology that makes it easier to work or relax en route.
Plus, a lower-carbon commute will improve air quality – and quality of life – for all.
Businesses must introduce flexible working policies, enabling people to work when and where they want; alleviating the burden on roads and public transport at peak times. Fewer hours would be lost as a result of congestion, and business will gain access to a bigger pool of talent.
The government must invest in the infrastructure needed to create this commute of the future. The National Infrastructure Pipeline sets out record levels of public investment in transport, but more needs to be done to ensure projects – whether tech, transport or low-carbon – are delivered on time and on budget.
"As we head into a new decade, commuters will be anxious to see what the government’s spending commitments will mean for them. Encountering delay and disruption far too often, employees up and down the UK want a cheaper, greener and more reliable commute. This will only be achieved by business and the government working together to invest and deliver the right infrastructure, and make better use of existing capacity on our networks – from a plan for a more accountable rail system to expanding smart ticketing and promoting flexible working."Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, CBI
The commute is in desperate need of an overhaul. There is a significant cost to business, alongside a staggering personal cost to wellbeing, of disrupted or inefficient journeys to work.
UK drivers lost an average of 178 hours a year due to traffic in 2018, at a cost of £7.9bn — an average of £1,317 per driver.
An average of 20% (am) and 14% (pm) of passengers have to stand on peak time train services.
Regions where flexible working is more popular, such as the South East (where 32% of workers have the option), generally see the highest levels of productivity in the UK.
The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.
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Join the CBI
Our members are our mandate, and the reason we're the most influential business organisation in the UK.
Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to ensure the UK implements a fresh new approach to commuting that benefits both firms and people.
Have your say
We want to hear your business’ views on the four core areas related to the commute: productivity, affordability, decarbonisation, and the future of mobility. If you have thoughts on how business and government can work together to solve these issues, please get involved and help drive real change.Get Involved
Make a difference
This campaign is led by the CBI's Infrastructure and Energy team.
Contact Liz Crowhurst, Head of Infrastructure, to find out about the change UK business urgently needs and how you can support it.