Skip to content
Infrastructure blog

How the Wales transport strategy will deliver for communities and climate

06 April 2023

Transport for Wales’ Geoff Ogden describes how the country’s transport strategy will facilitate a shift to healthy, sustainable travel.

How the Wales transport strategy will deliver for communities and climate
The strategy prioritises active travel and other sustainable means of transport. Image credit: Shutterstock

Transport for Wales is driving forward the Welsh government’s vision of a high-quality, safe, integrated, affordable, and accessible transport network that the people of Wales are proud of.

We work with the Welsh and UK governments, local authorities, and industry partners to set out the priorities for transport infrastructure investment in Wales.

Our integrated approach primarily follows the mode shift and carbon reduction targets in the Wales transport strategy and Net Zero Wales.

Did you know?

In the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have each developed national transport strategies. England, however, has not.

Last week, the ICE launched a green paper consultation to explore how England can best address gaps in strategic transport planning.

Learn more

2040 vision: the shift to sustainability

The Welsh government published its transport strategy, Llwybr Newydd, in March 2021.

The strategy aims to encourage people out of cars, with a target of 45% of journeys across Wales to be by sustainable means by 2040.

A sustainable transport hierarchy guides infrastructure investment decisions, prioritising walking and cycling, then public transport, then ultra-low emission vehicles, and finally, other private motor vehicles.

Lee Waters, the Welsh deputy minister for climate change, has described a threefold approach:

  1. Reducing the need to travel in the first place by bringing jobs, shops, services, and facilities close to where people live.
  2. Making the sustainable modes of walking, cycling, and public transport naturally attractive choices.
  3. Encouraging people to make those sustainable choices.

In February, the Welsh government published its 2022–27 national transport delivery plan, outlining the programmes, projects, and policies to deliver Llwybr Newydd in the coming years.

A new approach to project appraisal

In 2022, to account for the new strategy, the Welsh government also updated its transport appraisal guidance (WelTAG) and published a draft for consultation.

The proposals introduce a proportionate approach to transport appraisal through three levels of detail: WelTAG lite (for smaller projects), WelTAG standard, and WelTAG plus (for larger, more complex programmes).

The guidance advises that most projects in Wales, including most active travel projects, use WelTAG lite.

Well-being of future generations

Perhaps most interestingly—and in contrast with other parts of the UK—the updated guidance places less emphasis on benefit-cost ratios and more emphasis on well-being appraisal.

This is in line with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions.

This approach is apparent in plans to reduce speed limits on most restricted roads in Wales from 30mph to 20mph from September.

This could elicit benefits including a reduction in road collisions and more opportunities to walk and cycle in our communities. It will help to improve our health and wellbeing, make our streets safer, and safeguard the environment for future generations.

Next up: delivery

We need to meet the challenges of climate change head-on.

We also need to ensure equal access to economic growth and social mobility. The public transport network is a key driver of both.

Ultimately, we need to build a transport network that is easy to use, and that people want to use.

The policy stage is set, next up is delivery.

Does England need a national transport strategy?

Have your say in the ICE’s latest green paper consultation.

*The ICE welcomes guests to share their views about infrastructure policy issues on the Infrastructure Blog. These views are the views of the individual.

If you're interested in writing for the Infrastructure Blog, please email [email protected]. ICE reserves the right not to publish articles that have been submitted.

  • Geoff Ogden, director of planning, development and advisory services at Transport for Wales