Autumn Statement transport investments ‘positive’, but ‘real prize is not addressed’
While welcoming chancellor of the exchequer Phillip Hammond’s transport announcements in the 2016 Autumn Statement, KPMG analysts have criticised the focus on increasing capacity, rather than “making more from the capacity” the UK has already.
James Stamp, head of transport at KPMG UK, said: “Today the Chancellor announced funding for more road and rail capacity. Specific improvements, such as alleviating road network pinch-points, and the Midlands Rail Hub, are welcome, as is the positive sentiment about Crossrail 2.
“However, even with investment in specific schemes, a stark fact remains: demand for transportation will always be ahead of our ability to pour more concrete. Making more from the capacity we have is – and will stay – key. Without this, congestion will remain a limiting factor on productivity.
“It is therefore vital that investment in transport innovation tackles not only the specific issues of today, but also fundamentally how and why people will travel in the future. Smart ticketing, autonomous vehicles, and smart infrastructure all individually promise incremental benefits, and investment in this area is therefore encouraging. But the exponential change that could be unleashed by combining these initiatives (along with better use of data for providing information and choice to passengers) together is the real prize. Translating the potential of Mobility-as-a-Service, enabled by digital technology, to reality will require collaboration between policy makers, private operators, and transport authorities. It must be a key aim for the Government.”