An investment plan for public transport across England and Wales to meet net zero targets could create high-quality jobs in transport and manufacturing and boost the UK economy by £52 billion by 2030.
That’s according to TUC which suggests the investment plan fills a “significant gap” in the UK government‘s recently published net zero strategy, which failed to explain how it would achieve the “modal shift” away from cars, necessary to reduce carbon emissions.
The TUC’s investment plan is designed to meet the UK’s target to cut emissions by 68% by 2030 (from 1990 levels).
It emphasises that a transition to electric cars alone will not be sufficient to reach the 2030 emissions target and a reduction in total car mileage of at least 20% is needed.
The report sets out how this reduction can be achieved in England and Wales through a combination of measures, such as car-sharing, remote technologies, working from home, better planning and land use, which would result in a 10% car mileage reduction.
Additionally, a modal shift to public transport would lead to another 10% car mileage reduction, while bus and tram mileage would increase by 120% and rail mileage by 80%.
The investment plan would require an average of £9.9 billion in annual capital expenditure up to 2035 and the additional operating costs for expanded bus, tram and rail services would reach £18.8 billion annually by 2030.
The TUC investment plan is estimated to create 140,000 new jobs in bus, tram, and rail operation, and a further 830,000 jobs in manufacturing construction and infrastructure for buses and trams up to 2035.
The rail investment could support up to 1.8 million jobs indirectly, benefiting the wider economy, the report suggests.
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak argues that investing in public transport will help the UK meet its net zero targets and reduce the threat of “catastrophic climate change”.