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Transport Policy in the UK Essay


The transport sector plays a critical role in the development of a sustainable economy of the United Kingdom.

Policy stakeholders have argued that while it is critical for the sector to draw significant benefits to the growth of the economy, sector policy reforms must address the overall frameworks for total reduction in emissions of carbon (Department of Transport 9-11).

In addition, policy formulators have suggested that a well-functioning transport sector must assure the country of a sustainable environment and quality life that complements the growth of the economy.

This paper explores the recent policy framework that seeks to reengineer the road transport mode in the United Kingdom using The Future of Transport: a network for 2030″ White Paper as the core of the policy.


Research indicates that carbon emissions in the UK have been on increase with the road segment accounting for over 60% of the total emissions.

A survey of the United Kingdom’s transport sector reforms indicates that policy frameworks have shifted from demand responsive approach toward a managerial approach that meets the current road capacity (Department of Transport 9-11).

The introduction of these new policy directions have altered measures underpinning the implementation of emission-free environmental condition (Transport Issues n. p).

Analyses suggest that these measures have included support for vehicle fuel economy, cleaner fuels, and efforts to cut down traffic on roads, encouraging public transport, and cycling.

While the primary objection has targeted a reduction of the congestion, improved accessibility, reduction of negative impacts, and social inclusion, evidence indicates that these policy measures have a cumulative influence on UK’s future economic growth.

These intentions were first advanced by the Conservative administration provisions of 1995. These changes were later succeeded by the labor administration policies pursued in 1998 Transport white Paper (Transport Issues n. p).

Although policy adjustments have attempted to reduce pollution due to car emissions, the reduction of high car use remains unabated.

According to Professor Sir Nick Stern, a policy formulation cannot be an either or choice, but rather must remain succinct and clear to address the key issues underlying the nation’s problems.

Studies show that these recent policy adjustments have been linked with the skyrocketing fuel and oil prices since the early 2000 (Department of Transport 9-11).

The UK’s transport department argues that UK needs to get the pricing policies right to cover the degradation of the environment and congestion costs, to encourage technological innovation, and facilitate behavior change among citizens.

The goal of the recent frameworks has been to address the overwhelming need for a reduced emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

According to this policy, the UK identifies three basic elements for minimization of costs of advancing toward a low-carbon economy and maintaining achievable levels of emissions (Potter and Parkhurst 171-178).

These elements include investment in low-carbon technology, reducing barriers to action, and establishing a carbon-priced tax system that seeks to scale down carbon emissions through reduced usage.

The policy approaches spell out the social costs that people must pay or forego on their actions. This will make individuals to make substantive decisions on the how to use the available energy sources.

The development of innovative carbon-free technologies has, and continues to be an essential and urgent component, which is why the private sector has stepped up its efforts to boost research and development and technology.

However, government regulations through policies and controls will be necessary tools to force the pace of a shift toward the right direction (Transport Issues n. p).

The trend of rapid growth in the road transport sub-sector between 1950’s and the mid 1990’s was characterized by a rapid growth in the overall demand that saw a decline in the demand and use of alternative better options, including bus, cycle, and rail (Department of Transport 9-11).

However, many observers contend that since late 1990 are eminent changes have taken place to attain potentially helpful levels of managing carbon emissions.

Although it is notable that road transport continues to grow, evidence shows that this inherent growth has since slowed down after the adoption of the said policy frameworks.

The growth in the transport sector has been slow relative to the gross domestic product (Transport Issues n. p). The efficient transport systems representing the shift as a result o policy changes has had a considerable effect on the GDP (Potter and Parkhurst 171-178).

Research shows that marginal improvement in the movement of goods and services has had a positive influence on UK’s gross domestic product. Changes in these policies indicate a rapid shift in the future of transport sector in UK.

For instance, after the introduction of a white paper on “The Road to Prosperity,” the rail transport has grown substantially compared to road transport since the mid-1990s.

Though rail transport is a minority mode of transport, analysts forecast that the future of UK’s economy driven by a carbon-free transport lies in the rail transport (Transport Issues n. p).

There is an anticipated shift in the mode of common usage by the public by the end of 2015. While UK envisages a low-carbon technology that will see the country achieve its millennium environmental conservation goals, it is expected that a dramatic shift in the technology will amount to an overhaul of the UK’s economy.

These improvements will expand the labor market catchments, facilitate job matching and support business to business interactions (B2B interactions).

An efficient and cost effective transport system hosts such benefits as reduced business timings that seek to fill the gap created by congestions and traffic problems (Noland 15).

The recent literature finds a strong correlation between new road capacity and stimulation of travels. The response of policy changes is an indication of the economic signals generated from the part of travelers to try and avoid increased cost of movement brought about by costly road transportation mode.

The policy directive to maintain the current road capacity other than expanding the capacity to respond to the increased demand causes a shift in the frequency of usage of an individual mode relative to the other (Potter and Parkhurst 171-178).

This indicator points at the irreversible trend that will make rail mode as the sustainable solution (Noland 15).


The future of transport and subsequent change in patterns depend on the manner and scope of current provisions of the transport policies.

The changes that have introduced tradable tax and carbon taxes to achieve a reduced carbon economy spell a lot of economic implication than it is expected.

The assessment of the policy suggests that the while the policy promotes road pricing where taxes are levied on the length of travel has a significant role on reducing the overall carbon emissions, the policy has far-reaching effect on the economy (Potter and Parkhurst 171-178).

A shift toward a carbon-free transport economy that supports pedestrian transport and cycling may see the government lose on the huge tax returns emanating from increased taxation (Potter and Parkhurst 171-178).

Contrary to the general feeling that the shift in transport modes from the road sector will help minimize the environmental and congestion costs, considerable evidence suggest that the opportunity cost of using alternative transport modes on roads is less compared to when the status qou is maintained (Noland 20).

That is, the marginal tax returns on additional carbon usage are significant to the economy compared to the cost avoided in an fuel-alternative mode of transport.

Works Cited

Department of Transport. “Towards a Sustainable Transport System: Supporting Economic Growth in a Low Carbon World.” (2007). Print.

Noland, Robert B. “Transport Policy and Assessment Procedures in the United Kingdom: Lessons for the Federal District of Mexico City.” (2004). Print.

Potter, Stephen and Parkhurst, Graham. Transport policy and transport tax reform. Money and Management, 25.3 (2005): 171–178. Print.

Transport Issues. History of UK Transport Policy, 21Dec. 2007. Web. <>

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Transport Policy in the UK." December 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/transport-policy-in-the-uk/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Transport Policy in the UK'. 9 December.

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