Policy Forum for Wales

Transport policy in Wales - infrastructure priorities, bus and rail services, and promoting active travel

Morning, Wednesday, 4th September 2019

Jurys Inn Cardiff, 1 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3DN


This seminar will examine the next steps for transport policy in Wales.

It comes as the newly established National Infrastructure Commission for Wales - set up to provide advice to the Welsh Government on infrastructure needs - considers its priorities for transport.

It also follows the Welsh Government’s recent decision to cancel the proposed M4 relief road and launch an expert commission to look at alternative solutions to solving traffic problems on the M4 around Newport.

The conference looks at:

  • What next for access to Wales following the M4 relief road decision;
  • The future of the public transport network - including bus services and rail infrastructure;
  • Funding and delivering major transport projects; and
  • Promoting and developing Active Travel.

Those attending will discuss the next steps for tackling road congestion, particularly in the Newport area. Delegates will look at alternative options as the expert commission begins its work and as the Welsh Government implement a series of ‘fast tracked and targeted interventions’ to alleviate congestion in South Wales.

Delegates will discuss the future of the public transport network - including assessing:

  • the approach being taken by Transport for Wales to drive forward the Welsh Government’s vision for transport;
  • next steps in the delivery of an integrated transport and sustainable network that supports the Welsh Government’s Prosperity for All economic strategy; and
  • the funding and delivery of major infrastructure projects.

The conference is timed to discuss the Welsh Government’s response to its consultation on the Improving Public Transport White Paper which focused on improvements to bus services, including increasing local authority power to determine the most appropriate model for providing bus services in their area and run services.

Delegates will also look at whether the measures proposed by Welsh Government - such as the potential introduction of Joint Transport Authorities between a number of local authorities - will succeed in facilitating co-ordination between councils and with bus operators so as to provide services which fit community needs.

With the Welsh Government viewing the bus service network as key to fulfilling its ambition for an integrated transport system, and as it announces funding for responsive bus trials, those attending will discuss whether the proposals will address decreasing bus services and falling passenger numbers.

Delegates will also consider how to deliver a sustainable integrated transport network in order to drive a shift away from private car usage as well as examining the progress that has been made in delivering active travel infrastructure.

It follows the Welsh Government announcing £60m over the next three years to create new active travel arrangements across Wales and with more than £10m provided to local authorities to promote active travel.  

This follows concern from the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee in their review of progress since the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013, with falling numbers of people walking and cycling as a means of transport, and called for more effective strategic leadership and greater resources and capability in order to meet the ambitions expressed in legislation and the Active Travel plan.

There will also be discussion on the next steps for the rail network in Wales.

It follows the Welsh Government report outlining the case for investment in Wales’ railways while at the same time expressing concern over levels of investment and development from the UK Government following the cancellation of electrification of the Great Western mainline between Cardiff and Swansea.

Delegates will discuss progress and the next steps for projects to increase capacity on Network Rail’s Wales route such as the electrification of the mainline to Cardiff and resignalling. They will also examine the performance so far of Transport for Wales as a franchise provider.

Within this area we expect discussion on:

  • the rolling out of the South Wales Metro;
  • enhancement and electrification of the core Valley Lines;
  • progress toward the delivery of the new train fleet; and
  • introduction of smart ticketing.

Additionally, we expect attendees to consider the progress being made towards the delivery of the North Wales Metro.

The conference also presents a timely opportunity for delegates to consider how Wales should fund future major transport projects.

It comes as the National Infrastructure Commission begins its work and options such as the Mutual Investment Model (MIM) for delivering the A465 are considered. Delegates will look at whether MIM offers greater transparency and better value for money compared to previous iterations of public-private partnership.

Keynote Speakers

Stephen Gifford

Member, National Infrastructure Commission for Wales

Alexia Course

Director of Rail Operations, Transport for Wales

Keynote Speakers

Stephen Gifford

Member, National Infrastructure Commission for Wales

Alexia Course

Director of Rail Operations, Transport for Wales

Professor Mark Barry

Professor of Practice in Connectivity, Cardiff University


Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

Shadow Minister for Economy & Finance, Plaid Cymru, National Assembly for Wales

Councillor Aled Davies

Portfolio Holder, Finance, Countryside and Transport, Powys County Council


Professor Stuart Cole

Emeritus Professor, Transport, University of South Wales

Councillor Caro Wild

Cabinet Member, Strategic Planning & Transport, Cardiff Council

Dr Alasdair MacDonald

Regional Programme Manager, Wales & the Borders, Balfour Beatty Rail

Steve Brooks

Director, Sustrans Cymru

Peter Kingsbury

Chairman, Railfuture Wales

Ian Yeowart

Managing Director, Grand Union Trains

Christine Boston

Director for Wales, Community Transport Association

Philip Beer

Partner, Burges Salmon

Bill Kelly

Route Managing Director, Wales & Borders, Network Rail