England’s STBs reunite at annual conference to demonstrate their valuable role to improve transport across the nation


On 28 February, we reunited with England’s six other sub-national transport bodies (STBs) at this year’s STB Conference in Manchester. Together, we demonstrated our value to improving transport and connections across the nation by sharing our expertise and celebrating our successes in enabling partners to meet the transport needs of people and businesses.  

Several key themes emerged throughout the day regarding the influence and resources STB’s provide to improve transport. Discussions included: 

  • ensuring rural communities are well connected to essential services,  
  • why we must continue to support the acceleration of the electric vehicle transition,  
  • understanding the opportunities and challenges for freight movements between and within our regions  
  • why working together provides the best results for the economy and social inclusion. 

Transport Minister Huw Merriman highlighted the successes STBs have achieved by working as a single voice, and he recognised Transport East’s work in rural mobility and our partnership with England’s Economic Heartland to drive forward the much needed Ely and Haughley rail upgrades.

As the lead STB and host of the Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence, we shared our recent work advocating for rural transport and supporting partners to improve connections for rural communities. Our forthcoming report on our call for evidence will help all STBs and rural local authorities better understand the current challenges rural communities face and the opportunities to improve connectivity. 

Sharon Payne, Transport East’s Rural Mobility Lead, shared how STBs work in partnership to share their expertise on rural mobility and provided an overview into our work as the Centre of Excellence for Rural Mobility. 

Andrew Summers, Transport East’s Chief Executive, joined the other STBs to showcase how collectively we’re supporting the delivery of infrastructure and highlighted how Transport East’s advice to Government on the priorities for road investment has helped secure funding for key schemes. He outlined how roads are essential in connecting a sparse region like the East and the process STB’s take to strengthen the case for essential investment. 

Closing the day the STBs demonstrated the importance of working together to share insight, tools and expertise to help all regions decarbonise transport, connect people to goods and services and improve the lives and opportunities for everyone.  

Throughout the day, we had many interesting and productive conversations with government officials, transport bodies, consultants and local authorities contacts to help us progress all aspects of our work.