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ICE submission to the Transport Committee on strategic transport objectives

22 September 2023

This response examines how the UK government sets its strategic transport objectives and how a national transport strategy could strengthen decision-making to align transport outcomes with wider national economic, environmental and social objectives.

It makes the following key points:

  • There is no overarching strategic vision for transport that ensures transport planning and investment are aligned with the UK’s wider social, economic and environmental goals. This risks decision-making that's incoherent, contradictory and counter to the UK’s wider goals and the needs of transport users.
  • A national transport strategy for England should be developed to set out the overarching vision for a sustainable, equitable transport network.
  • A strategy for England would be a pragmatic first step to align England with Scotland and Wales – but there's a strong case for developing a UK-wide transport strategy as well.
  • A national transport would allow national, subnational and modal transport bodies to plan and invest in transport infrastructure and services according to wider national objectives. It could also be a basis for furthering devolution in a more strategic way.
  • It would help accelerate the shift in decision-making towards giving more weight to the whole-life economic, environmental and social benefits of projects.
  • Setting out a clear strategic rationale for important national transport infrastructure projects can help accelerate delivery by reducing the risk of delays caused by political uncertainty.
  • Public behaviour change and enabling people to choose more sustainable travel options needs to be more central to transport policymaking.

The response was informed by the ICE’s consultation and policy position statement on a national transport strategy for England.

ICE submission to the Transport Committee on strategic transport objectives

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 22/09/2023

Author: ICE policy team

  • David McNaught, policy manager at ICE