Power of collaboration to transform regional transport was key theme of the annual STB conference

Transport East stand at the STB Conference

On 5 June 2023, we joined England’s other six other sub-national transport bodies at the STB Conference in Birmingham to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented when providing people and businesses with the connections they need.

Several key themes emerged throughout the day regarding the role STB’s play in, such as the urgent need to decarbonise our regions’ transport and how choices of transport options are needed to benefit different types of communities, such as urban and rural.

Integration of different transport modes is also key to provide people with more choice in how they travel and an easier journey overall. The power of partnership is also important, especially between STB’s local authorities, transport operators and cross-party working from members from different political groups.  

“The STBs all showcased the excellent work you’re doing, brought out a clear theme of collaboration among all the STBs, and showed that you’re both realistic about – and well prepared for – the challenges and uncertainties that might lie ahead.” – DfT official  

In the Minister for Roads and Local Transport, Richard Holden MP’s keynote speech he clearly supported these themes. He also expressed the importance of STBs’ work and communicated the value government and national bodies were gaining from the STBs’ work.  

Transport East were asked to take part in sessions throughout the day. Our CEO Andrew Summers discussed the importance of partnership working with national bodies and was joined by National Highways to showcase how increased partnership working both supports STBs’ strategies and can smooth the delivery of future road improvements.

You can catch up on the session below:

As the STB lead in rural mobility, we shared our knowledge and insight, along with colleagues from Englands Economic Heartland, Western Gateway and Peninsula Transport on rural mobility. 

Within our region, 1/3 of the population live in a rural area which demonstrates the importance of finding solutions that work for everyone in the region. We shared our recent rural work during the session, including our work as a Centre of Excellence of for Rural Mobility.

We joined Midlands Connect and Western Gateway in a discussion on alternative fuels. We shared our recent EV work including evidence on the projected EV uptake scenarios and how charging infrastructure must keep up to meet demand. We’ll soon be uploading the work from our recent EV uptake study for the East. 

Suzanne Buck, Transport East’s Technical Lead, highlights our work in the below video (from 14m:36s).

Great British Rail Transition Team highlighted the importance of meeting customer needs, supporting the UK’s economy growth and being sustainable, and mentioned the importance of STBs’ work, with a direct reference to our State of Rail report. We also heard from Stansted Airport and Bristol Port on their roles as international gateways and how reliable transport improves their connectivity and sustainability. 

The STB leads rounded up the day with strong endorsements of the work STBs are doing within their regions and cross-borders, once again demonstrating the importance of working together to decarbonise transport, connect people to goods and services and improve the lives and opportunities for everyone.  

Andrew Summers shares his views at 3m:57s, 10m:42s and 20m34s.

Beyond the main agenda, 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.