1.1 Transport and the economy:

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Growth-led investment decisions start with a vision for an economic future that is aligned to national and regional economic strategies. In turn, economic strategies are supported by a programme of investment in economic and social infrastructure.

Better transport connectivity and accessibility can improve access to jobs, increase the number of customers that businesses can reach, and reduces barriers to trade and competition. This creates efficiencies that can lead to improvements in productivity, competitiveness and output across different industry sectors.

Transport and transport-related infrastructure investment is vital to the creation and maintenance of networks between people, enabling society to function effectively. The investment can improve economic performance, increase social capital and help to rebalance the economy.

In this part of the Guidance Tool we describe the relationship between transport and the economy to help build a narrative to support investment.

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Key takeaways

Investing in new transport connectivity across modes can generate a wide range of economic benefits, as well as environmental and social benefits.

Before making investment decisions, local decision-makers need to understand the nexus between transport and the economy so that they can make the right choices. For example:

  • How important to local economic growth is investing in better transport links relative to investing in ICT, housing or skills?
  • Is it better to improve transport links within urban areas or between urban areas and with international gateways?

The relationship between transport and the economy is complex and context specific, with some industry sectors relying more than others on good transport links.

A recent review commissioned by the Department for Transport provides an important discussion of the issues and evidence on the relationship between transport investment and economic performance.

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1.2 The relationship between transport and the economy