The next step for transport in Wales

Think tank: Institute of Welsh Affairs

Author(s): Joe Rossiter

April 11, 2024

This report from UK think tank the Institute of Welsh Affairs recommends a deliberative approach to sustainable transport, developed in partnership with communities.

Wales needs a future-proof transport system to face up to the realities of climate change, but Welsh Government is faced with a complex set of challenges: encouraging take-up of electric vehicles (EV) and charging infrastructure, financing adequate public transport service provision and inducing behavioural change amidst a divided public opinion are some of the tasks awaiting decision-makers for the next decade.

To do this, Welsh Government must adopt an integrated approach to transport, that ties the benefits of a mixed transport system to public health and embeds decisions about transport in guiding the planning of communities. In a critical decade ahead for action to tackle the climate emergency, the decarbonisation of the transport system must be greatly accelerated. This requires a consistent commitment on incentivising sustainable transport modes and on aligning investment towards an ambitious net zero pathway.

This process will need to bring in a swathe of agents, from communities, to decision-makers and employers. It must consider the distinctions between urban and rural communities and involve Local Authorities and the emerging Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) in this effort.

In this paper, we discuss the merits of investment in sustainable public transport and decarbonising car usage to target Wales’ car-dependency and poor air quality. Transport can be the inhibitor or enabler of a more equal nation. Currently, a lack of access to sustainable transport locks communities out of opportunities and exacerbates regional inequalities.

By targeting investment into enabling communities with reliable, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport, the Welsh Government can bring economic benefits to communities and improve living standards.