In his first blog as Campaign for Better Transport's new Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy explains what he sees as the challenges ahead.
I have joined Campaign for Better Transport during unprecedented times for the world and for transport. The effect of Covid-19 on our transport network has been huge. Some of the effects have been welcome, like the rise in cycling and walking levels, with many people dusting off neglected bikes or leaving their cars at home to make short trips on foot instead. But other effects have been not so welcome, including the drop in bus and train journeys which has caused the near collapse of some networks and called for emergency Government funding. We have also seen congestion return to UK roads as cars begin to reclaim their former hold.
The good news is that out of adversity comes opportunity. One of the first of Campaign for Better Transport’s many reports I read this week was its Covid-19 Recovery: Renewing the transport system, which highlighted that the current health crisis has presented us with a unique opportunity to rebuild our transport network back better: to make it cleaner, more affordable, more reliable, more integrated and better able to serve the communities who rely on it.
With the Chancellor set to lay out his spending plans for the next year soon, we’re urging him to ensure sustainable transport is not only protected during the coming months, but that it is supported in the years to come. We asked our supporters what they’d like to say to the Chancellor about transport spending and hundreds of them replied. We heard from people who don’t drive and rely on public transport every day to get to work, to see friends and family, to get to university or to simply take part in community life. We also heard from people who share our concerns about the negative effects of transport on the environment and our health.
No one knows what the next six months have in store, but what I do know is that we’ll continue to work hard to ensure sustainable transport is high on the Government’s recovery agenda.
You can follow Paul on twitter @PaulTuohy