Transport technology is becoming ever more important. The sector has a crucial role in supporting the UK, its transport system and economy. It does so by:
The sector is conservatively valued at £1.5bn and generates £15bn a year for the UK economy. It also supports highly skilled job opportunities across the country and is a burgeoning export, with UK expertise valued across the world. With the right policy environment, the ITS sector can do even more to deliver economic growth and investment.
The intelligent transport sector will be vital in decarbonising the road, rail and wider transport network and incentivising the travelling public to low carbon forms of transport. By making best use of our infrastructure assets, the intelligent transport industry is supporting the UK Government’s aim of reaching Net Zero by 2050, whilst also improving air quality.
Intelligent transport has a key role in optimising the usage of our transport network, by making best use of current infrastructure assets, incentivising behaviour change and through the predictive maintenance of infrastructure. Ultimately, this ensures the best possible usage of our limited road and rail network and can provide cost effective increases in capacity.
To achieve these goals, the industry would like to see:
1. Creating the right regulatory environment
A new Transport Bill that sets the right environment for innovation to flourish, whether in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, remote driving, e-scooters or in the use of drones, for example.
Without a new Act of Parliament, the UK will be left behind when it comes to the use of transport technology.
2. A shift to Mobility Pricing
Technology can allow for greater alignment between usage and cost.
Government should support the development of a national road pricing scheme that supports ‘pay per usage’, replacing road taxes.
Similarly, there needs to be progress on fares reform on rail and bus to offer more flexible, smart and pay-as-you-go ticketing.
3. Opening up of data
Government to take a lead role in the opening up of data services, such as from connected vehicles or train services.
This should build upon services such as the Bus Open Data Service and National Parking Platform, and progress on the digitalisation of Traffic Regulation Orders.
4. Further integrating transport
Transport users are less and less looking at mode, and more at the journey. The industry needs to adapt to reflect this.
There should be continued support for Future Transport Zones, with long term funding provided for Mobility as a Service schemes across the country. This means a shift from trials to the roll out of permanent schemes.
Greater funding is required for local authorities to support the integration of transport services and demand responsive transport schemes.
5. The transport sector to be treated as a priority tech industry
Transport is about getting people and goods around. But behind that system is a highly innovative growth industry of importance to UK plc in its own right.
Government should back transport as a high potential growth sector. There should be the creation of a cross-governmental ‘Intelligent Transport Council’, similar to the Jet Zero and Clean Maritime Councils, to drive this agenda forward.
A great focus within the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology on transport technology should be taken.