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Here’s tae us; Wha’s like us?

Here’s tae us; Wha’s like us?

Scotland’s railway has become a symbol of the nation’s ambition and bigger thinking – it’s time that bus policy caught up   Electrification is not dead in Scotland   Someone senior in the transport sector in Scotland told me recently that they didn’t think that Scotland care that much about whether England is aware of...
Just the ticket - but this won’t be easy

Just the ticket – but this won’t be easy

I welcome the Rail Delivery Group’s root and branch review of ticketing – but a splash of healthy realism needs to be delivered   Buying tickets the old fashioned way – at the ticket office – can be more expensive   The initiative by the Rail Delivery Group, representing all the train operating companies, to...
We can’t afford to ignore bus stops

We can’t afford to ignore bus stops

It takes hard work and dedication to attract new customers on to buses. So why do we so often fail at the first hurdle, the bus stop?   Some bus operators see the value of bus stops and take responsibility for them – others don’t   If you had a shop and the council came...
Government must face up to congestion

Government must face up to congestion

Ministers and their shadows pretend not to notice a problem that is choking off buses, because they’re afraid of upsetting motorists   One bus can replace well over 70 cars. There is no downside   The latest figures show a continuing and concerning decline in the number of bus passenger journeys. And the standard responses...
West Midlands reaps the devolution dividend

West Midlands reaps the devolution dividend

A new ‘metro mayor’, growing commuter rail use, light rail expansion projects, HS2… this is a region that’s going places   A visualisation of the Midland Metro terminius at Edgbaston   I was born in Coventry and although my parents moved back to Yorkshire shortly afterwards, they still talk about how, in the early sixties,...
Is it time to embrace our inner hipster?

Is it time to embrace our inner hipster?

Should urban transport policy begin to reflect the ‘new economy’, with interesting places accessible by active travel and mass transit?   The rise of the ‘Flat White economy’ has implications for transport   Something is happening to our bland, branded up High Streets in the same way that something fundamental is happening to our urban...
How should cities respond to CAVs?

How should cities respond to CAVs?

Five things I learnt during a visit to the UK’s Cape Canaveral for autonomous vehicle research, at the University of Warwick   How do we join up the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles agenda with the healthy streets/better places agenda?   Money is no object for research and development on one form of urban transport right...
Cold water on the driverless car hype

Cold water on the driverless car hype

In a new book Christian Wolmar argues that issues are being glossed over and full automation may never be possible     We do not agree about everything, Christian Wolmar and I, but on driverless cars we do. Myself, I have long been a driverless cars sceptic and have earned many patronising putdowns from people...
Small town blues and sponge cities

Small town blues and sponge cities

What can transport do to help the towns that orbit our big cities? And what will making cities ‘spongier’ mean for public transport?   Deansgate Castlefield tram stop Manchester. The wall on the stairway access has been planted creating a living wall   Big cities are cool these days – but smaller cities and towns...
Getting back to what we knew worked

Getting back to what we knew worked

  A feeling of déjà vu descends when reading the government’s new strategic vision for rail. Have some key lessons finally been learnt? The ScotRail Alliance. Could this be a model for others? “Connecting People” is the strapline for the government’s recently published strategic vision for rail. It’s a clever title. At one level it’s...
Taxis - a bridge to the future

Taxis – a bridge to the future

Taxis are the bridgehead for the TNCs in their mission to reshape global transport – how should urban transport authorites respond?   A man hails a taxi at a busy intersection in Manhattan, but many are using their smartphone to hail a ride   Taxis are the bridge between how urban transport is now and...
The Scandi approach to public transport

The Scandi approach to public transport

Devolution, franchising and innovation are getting results for the ‘nearly perfect people’ of Scandinavia. What lessons can we learn?     Scandinavia has some of the richest, most successful societies on Earth, with exceptionally high levels of education, health care, and safety. The world goes to Scandinavia to see what countries that think big on...