New report calls for ‘Total Transport’ approach to breaking down policy divides

Family walking past train station and bus stop
  • Report highlights vital role of transport in achieving health, social care and employment goals

A new report published today by pteg - ‘Total Transport: Working across sectors to achieve better outcomes’ – highlights the essential role of public transport, walking and cycling in achieving key health, social care and employment policy goals. However, it also warns that this contribution could be put at risk unless there is more focus on collaborative, cross-sector funding and delivery of transport interventions. Already, there is evidence to suggest that transport schemes with a track record in supporting core policy objectives across sectors are having to close or reduce in scope due to funding pressures.

The report sets out eleven practical steps towards a ‘Total Transport’ approach which would see partners across policy divides come together to determine the best and most cost effective ways of delivering desired policy outcomes and to identify where better outcomes could be delivered more cost effectively through the pooling of resources and expertise.

Amongst the report's key findings are:

  • The next phase of the Government’s community budgets programme (which pools funding streams into a single pot to enable agencies to work together on tackling local issues) should focus on the prevention of obesity or supporting older people. Both are areas where transport can play a vital role.
  • The new Health and Wellbeing Boards, proposed as part of the Government’s health reforms, should include a seat at the table for PTEs and transport representatives in recognition of transport’s important influence on public health as well as to encourage closer working between the two sectors.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions should consult on the merits of providing various types of transport support to jobseekers and evaluate current services, passing on the evidence of ‘what works’ to Jobcentre Plus offices and Work Programme providers.

The report highlights just some of the ways that PTE initiatives already support other sectors in reducing their costs and meeting their core policy objectives:

  • For employment, tackling worklessness by breaking down transport barriers to work. In one PTE-led scheme providing personalised journey planning and help with transport costs, 80 per cent of jobseekers said they would have struggled to reach opportunities without it.
  • For the health sector, ensuring that people without access to a car are able to reach medical appointments. One PTE partnership bus service connecting disadvantaged communities to a health centre reduced missed appointments by 60 per cent. Missed outpatient appointments alone cost hospitals £600m a year.
  • For social care, enabling older and disabled people to retain their independence for longer, preventing or delaying care costs and improving wellbeing. Just one PTE Ring and Ride bus service saved the health sector at least £13.4m.

Chair of pteg, Geoff Inskip said:

‘Breaking down long established divides between different policy areas to foster a more collaborative approach to the delivery and funding of transport interventions is by no means a straightforward task. However, as this report highlights, there are many examples of good practice that demonstrate efficiency gains that can be achieved when we look at transport ‘in the round’ across sectors, for example, by pooling vehicle fleets and budgets for mainstream, school, social services and patient transport to maximise the use of available assets.’

‘The Government has set about removing barriers to cross-sector working, through initiatives such as community budgets, the de-ringfencing of local authority funding streams and pledges to remove obstacles to collaboration. Total Transport is very much in line with this agenda and we hope with this report to provide some practical steps towards making it a reality as well as to provide a starting point for further debate.’


Notes to editors

‘Total Transport: Working across sectors to achieve better outcomes’ is available to download below.

For more information contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445