Regional Transport Bodies, or sub-national transport bodies as they are officially known, are relatively new bodies in the regions. The best known body is Transport for London (TfL) and to a lesser extent Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), both of which have been around for some time. However, TfL has greater independence and has a more stand alone role, whereas TfGM is a partner within Transport for the North which received its statutory status in 2018.
Outside of the north and London, Transport for the South East and England’s Economic Heartland are currently bidding to be formally recognised as statutory transport bodies, while Midlands Connect held a consultation on its powers last year but hasn’t published the results or taken its case further at present. With all the upheaval at a national level, it is unclear what the future holds for these bodies. Nevertheless there does seem to be support for greater devolution and the bodies themselves are continuing to make the case to become statutory bodies.
The other regions where plans are less advanced are the East of England, where Transport East was launched in March 2018, while in the South West, two bodies are in shadow form: Peninsula Transport and Western Gateway.
Recognising that regional bodies appear to be back in favour, it makes sense for transport groups and people or organisations with an interest in transport issues to get involved with these new bodies. Given that it can be difficult for an organisation covering a small geographical area to engage with a regional body, we are keen that where possible and where people want to do so, they work together to form a network (informally or formally) to help give the issues important to them a voice at a more strategic level. Otherwise, there is a danger the regional transport body will end up focusing on the big infrastructure road and rail projects to the exclusion of much else.
If you are working in a region and would like to hook up with others or would like some help setting something up, please get in touch.
Regional Round Up
See our summary of the regional transport bodies for more details on each of the regions, their status, the places covered and where they have got to with developing a transport strategy.