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Evidence for transport investment ‘not as strong’ – TPS

Transport infrastructure projects will not necessarily boost the economy, leading transport academics and planners have warned.

32 signatories, in association with the Transport Planning Society (TPS), have written an open letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, raising concerns about plans and investment for big transport projects.

The letter questions whether proposed investments will deliver the employment and economic growth they claim they will, highlights a need to recognise the value of integrated land-use and transport policy and calls for clarity over how transport investment is funded.

The signatories also suggest that the UK is already “comparatively well connected”, making some schemes’ employment gains “difficult to realise”.

The chair of TPS, Keith Buchan, said: “We want the letter to be seen as a friendly and constructive initiative to raise the level of debate and get these arguments out into the open. Our aim is to encourage the Secretary of State to recognise what smarter transport and land use planning could achieve if placed at the heart of policy. We do not want to see the UK slipping back into the dead end of trying to build our way out of congestion.”

The letter reads: “We are concerned that a perception of the economic imperative is leading to a series of important decisions on all of the major transport modes being taken in the absence of a coherent and integrated national policy framework for passengers and freight.

“There exists a range of views as to the importance of new transport infrastructure is stimulating economic growth. The evidence base is not as strong as you, or we, might wish it to be.”

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