New report identifies the challenges and opportunities facing local authority-led transport schemes.

As the Government looks to shift funding away from large, strategic transport projects to local schemes, a new report from Copper Consultancy has found that 35% of the public are dissatisfied with their local road infrastructure, with 12% saying they are very dissatisfied.

In contrast to public perceptions of opposition to transport projects, the vast majority of people (75%) even said they would support road improvement schemes if they were proposed near them. Only 4% would oppose them.

In line with the Government’s Transport decarbonisation plan and the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Net Zero Transport report, the next three most popular types of transport improvement project are: 

·       Public transport (71% support, 4% oppose) 

·       Pedestrian routes (69% support, 4% oppose) 

·       Cycle paths (57% support, 11% oppose) 

However, the public is not knowledgeable about the transport sector, with more than 1 in 3 people (34%) saying they have “very little knowledge” about what’s going on in UK transport. A further 6% said they “don’t know anything” about it but would like to learn more, highlighting the need for developers to produce engaging content for a wide range of audiences.

To bridge this gap, they could engage with the 14% of people who said they are knowledgeable about the sector and spend time reading news about it.

In addition, around 1 in 3 people (33%) said improving journey times would make them most likely to support a scheme. 30% said creating local jobs, skills and supply chain opportunities is the priority, aligning with the Government’s commitment to bring economic opportunities to regions across the UK.

The research also shows that 35% of the public believes a lack of understanding of the travel needs of the local community is one of the main challenges facing local authorities, highlighting the need to address this perception.

Tom Bennett, Associate Director of Highways at Copper Consultancy, commented: “This research shows the public wants to see tangible improvements to transport infrastructure in their area. 

“However, people have become accustomed to national developers’ complex stakeholder and customer engagement campaigns, and many will expect local authorities to follow suit. But most lack the resources required to deliver this.

“Local authorities will need effective engagement strategies to deliver schemes that are both responsive to local needs and future-proof, on time and budget.” 

This research ties in with Copper Consultancy’s sustainable travel series, which looks into linking travel networks to support active travel and public transport. 

Copper will be holding their next webinar on local transport schemes from 3.00pm to 4.00pm on Wednesday 9th November 2022. Register here: Preparing to shift gears: Accelerating the delivery of local transport schemes


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