House of Commons Library

Transport policy in 2011: a new direction?

Published Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This paper outlines the changes made to transport policy by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and looks at some of the long term transport challenges the government is likely to face over the course of this Parliament.

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The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government took office in May 2010. It inherited from the previous Labour Government a transport system still dominated by road transport and, compared with 1997, has higher passenger usage across nearly all modes. It is a system which has seen large real terms increases in expenditure and investment; growth in rail expenditure and investment has been particularly large.

The Coalition Government has pledged to make transport more efficient and better value for money. This will be vital if service levels are to be maintained in a climate of public spending restraint. It also promised a decentralisation of power, enabling local government to initiate and fund transport projects and their day-to-day transport needs free of ring-fencing and ‘diktat from Whitehall’. This spirit of decentralisation appears likely to encompass devolution of further transport powers to London, Scotland and Wales, yet the role of the European Union in forming transport policy is almost certain to grow over coming years.

Commons Briefing papers RP11-22

Authors: Louise Butcher; Matthew Keep

Topics: Aviation, Railways, Roads

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