Today thirty two UK transport Professors, working with the Transport Planning Society, the body which represents transport planners in the UK, are publishing an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Right Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, raising a number of concerns about the current state of transport policy and investment in the UK.

In particular four areas of concern are raised:

    Whether currently proposed infrastructure investments will deliver the employment and economic growth that they claim
    A need to recognise the value of integrated land-use and transport policy and the dangers of a rush to develop quickly rather than well
    The lack of understanding  of how investment in cities and the new range of smart growth policies can deliver economic and environmental benefits
    A lack of clarity over big questions such as how we fund transport.

The letter has been co-ordinated by the Transport Planning Society (TPS), which represents transport planners in the UK and is also supported by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The Chair of TPS, Keith Buchan, said, “We want the letter to be seen as a friendly and constructive initiative to raise the level of debate and get these arguments out into the open.  Our aim is to encourage the Secretary of State to recognise what smarter transport and land use planning could achieve if placed at the heart of policy.  We do not want to see the UK slipping back into the dead end of trying to build our way out of congestion.”

Professor Greg Marsden, who has taken a leading role in co-ordinating the Professor’s response, said, “The number of signatories shows a strength of feeling that better policies are out there to help meet the economic imperative and create the cities, streets and countryside we want for the future.”

During the course of this year, there will be a series of TPS-coordinated meetings in London and elsewhere in the UK, working with the Professors and with other institutions, which will debate the key issue of whether or not transport planning is critical to achieving economic and environmental objectives, and if it is, how to maximise its contribution.

The Secretary of State and/or his officials will be invited to the event in London.

The letter is available by clicking here.


The original “professors’ letter”, co-ordinated by TPS, was published in July 2002.

The current TPS Chair Keith Buchan has been responsible for coordinating this expression of view by many of the most senior academics specialising in transport, working closely with Professor Greg Marsden, Director of the Institute of Transport Studies in Leeds, Professor Glenn Lyons, Founder and former Director of the Centre for Transport & Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and Professor Phil Goodwin, former Director of the ESRC Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, and now Emeritus Professor of Transport Policy at University College London and at the University of the West of England.

TPS are co-ordinating initial enquiries and Keith Buchan can be contacted on
Office  0208 994 0900, or 07788724827 (mobile).

Greg Marsden can be contacted on Office 0113 3435358 or 07930964184 (mobile).

Glenn Lyons can be contacted on Office 0117 32 83129 or 07748768404 (mobile).

Phil Goodwin can be contacted on:  0207 684 6998.

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