Chair's Message - May 2024Ben Plowden headshot

General Election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has fired the starting gun for a general election to be held on 4 July. With the main party manifestos still to be published, we have yet to see whether or how transport will feature in the election campaign. So it was very useful to have a chance to discuss “The Mood of the Nation – Transport Insights from Ipsos” at a fantastic TPS webinar on 29 May. Lizzie Copp from leading polling company Ipsos shared some fascinating insights about public attitudes on the economy, public services and the key issues confronting an incoming government – including transport. Our panellists Becca Massey-Chase from the IPPR and Tom Cohen from the University of Westminster added great depth to Lizzie’s insights. 

Ipsos’ data shows that overall, the public are feeling pretty pessimistic about the economy, the parlous state of public services and the ability of an incoming government to fix these problems – at least in the short term. The data on transport were a mixed bag. 40% of respondents say railway services are poor and 37% think they are going to get worse, with over half supporting Labour’s plans to renationalise passenger rail services. Nearly half of UK adults think that transport services in their area are “poor” and over half think there is too much traffic congestion in their area. Meanwhile, over two-thirds believe their current lifestyle means they need a car. Traffic congestion remains a problem caused by other people. TPS members could be forgiven for feeling a bit disillusioned by the data showing “improving public transport” ranked 13th out of 14 short-term priorities for an incoming Keir Starmer government, rising to 10th for longer-term priorities. But creating a truly sustainable transport system will be fundamental to delivering the higher-ranked priorities of UK voters, including tackling inequality, building more homes, dealing with the cost of living and tackling climate change. 

So the challenge for the TPS is to continue to make the case for a truly integrated, accessible, affordable and decarbonised transport system as a critical enabler for wider social, economic and environmental development. We have sought to do this in the TPS Transport Manifesto, based on our recent member survey. I would encourage you to share the manifesto with your local electoral candidates.

You can see the recording of the webinar here.



The TPS events programme for 2024 is shaping up nicely. You can see the full calendar of events here. Please sign up and encourage others to do so.

TPS has signed up as a sponsor for the Campaign for Better Transport’s “Better Transport Week”, which runs from 17 to 23 June. You can find more information here

Planning for Transport Planning Day on 11 November continues apace, on the theme of “the principles, policies, practicalities and politics of reducing car travel in the UK”. We are lining up a fantastic roster of speakers and panellists. So make sure you book the date in your diary. 


Board activities

Meanwhile, the TPS Board – supported by JFG and the ICE – continue to do fantastic work around the full spectrum of the TPS’ activities, including policy, skills, membership, events, regions and nations and comms. There are plenty of opportunities for TPS members to get involved with the work of the Board. If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, please drop me an email at


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