The Way Forward

As we emerge from the health crisis, what sort of transport future do we want?

This is a critical moment for our transport system. Will we slip into a future of ever-rising car use? Or can we build a brighter transport future – one that is greener and fairer, that connects people rather than leaving them behind, that gives us clean air to breathe and a planet fit for the next generation?

The Way Forward campaign is calling on the Government to continue supporting public transport, to invest in making it better, and to encourage people back on board.

The pandemic hit public transport hard. Buses and trains continued ferrying keyworkers to care homes and hospitals, but those people who had a choice followed government advice and stayed off public transport. The number of rail passengers fell to its lowest level in 170 years. Bustling coach stations became echoing voids.

When we had essential journeys to make, most of us got in our cars. Traffic levels rose. By December 2020, air pollution exceeded pre-covid levels in many cities.

As we begin to come out of the crisis, there’s a risk that these habits will stick. The dangers are real: climate change, pollution and traffic-clogged streets; dwindling public transport leaving non-drivers stranded.

But there is a better way. By putting its weight behind public transport now, as well as walking and cycling, the Government can give us a brighter transport future.


Why is public transport the way forward?

  • Environment: Public transport is vital to tackling climate change and air pollution
  • Economy: Public transport can give us an economic recovery that is sustainable and fair
  • People: Public transport eases loneliness and makes lives better

We’re calling on the Government to continue its emergency funding of public transport. We also want it to invest in making public transport better,  restoring lost rail links and reconnecting communities to the network. And as travel opens up, we want the Government to encourage people back onto public transport in several ways, including bringing in tickets that suit new work patterns.

Let’s rebuild transport so that it works for everyone – and for the planet. For a brighter transport future, public transport is the way forward.

Read our May 2021 report, The way forward: Revitalising public transport use post-pandemic