What the Manifestos told us about the future of transport policy

Eduardo Pitts
Public Affairs & PR Executive

With the general election a few short weeks away, most of the political parties have published their manifestos outlining their plans and policy pledges for the next 5 years, should they enter Government.

ITS UK has monitored each manifesto closely, analysing policies to understand what each of the party’s approaches will be to transport technology in the next Parliament.

Here we look at each of manifestos from the main three national parties in turn.

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrat manifesto boasts one of the more detailed transport plans. A trend we’ve spotted across all three manifesto’s is that EVs are still very much on the agenda. The Lib Dems plan to revert the ban on new internal combustion engines back to 2030, continue rolling out charging points, and cut VAT on public charging to 5%. 

Transport integration is also a topic mentioned, with the Lib Dem manifesto outlining plans to simplify ticketing and to and integrate bus, rail and light rail ticketing systems with the objective of introducing a daily fare cap.

Rail would also see significant reform under the Lib Dem’s with a new rail governing body seeming to be a must across all parties, Lib Dems included. The Lib Dems would also see investment in electrifying the British rail network over the next 10 years and investing in zero-carbon tech i.e. batteries. Interestingly, the Lib Dem manifesto, is also the only manifesto to mention ‘on-demand’ bus services as an alternative for less well-connected areas, alongside programmes to empower local authorities to switch to electric buses.


The Conservative manifesto puts drivers very much at the centre of its transport policy, setting out to invest much of the money not spent on HS2 towards roads. This would include £8.3 billion on filling potholes and resurfacing, and £8.54 billion for cities to spend on local priorities whilst removing the ban for Mayors to invest in strategic roads. 

Their plans to back drivers also include ruling out road pricing and any pay-per-mile tax, as well as reversing the ULEZ expansion in London. However, its positive to see the Conservative manifesto also mention the roll out of the National Parking Platform, looking to simplify and integrate parking payment systems onto one platform.

EVs and electrification remain on the agenda with plans to continue to rolling out charging infrastructure and to electrify the North Wales Main Line with a £1 billion investment. The railways would also see the introduction of a new governing body under a Conservative government, promising to simplify ticketing and support the expansion of open-access services.


Labour’s manifesto includes mentions of speeding-up infrastructure delivery and it continues to set the precedent for EVs as a priority moving forward, with plans to restore the 2030 phase out of combustion engines in new cars, accelerate the rollout of charge points, and standardise information on the condition of batteries in second-hand EVs. Labour’s manifesto also continues a focus we see across other party manifestos on local authorities and the devolution of powers. The Labour manifesto details that Mayors will have the power to integrate transport systems within their localities, and promote active travel networks to a greater extent.

While the specifics of transport technology applications will remain to be seen, the manifesto points to a push in R&D and innovation. A new industrial strategy would aim to support the development of AI and remove planning barriers to new data centres. This strategy also plans to create a National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and create more ‘data-driven’ public services. Under a Labour Government, R&D institutions would receive 10-year budgets in favour of current shorter funding cycles, and we would witness the creation of a Regulatory Innovation Office, seeking to help regulators keep up to date with new technologies. 

Our Key Asks

Two weeks before the Party manifesto were launched, ITS UK published our Manifesto for the Future of Transport, setting out ten recommendations to revolutionise our transport system through technology. 

It’s good to see all parties reflect elements from the ITS UK manifesto, including concensus around the need for greater integration, improving safety and the need to provide a better customer service for all.

The launch of the manifestos is only the start. Both before and after 4 July, we will be engaging with all policymakers – from all parties – to make the case for a vibrant and successful intelligent transport sector.