1.0 Foreword from Andrew Summers, Chief Executive

When I reflect on the past year, there’s no question that Transport East is now one of the East’s most prominent voices in advocating on the region’s priorities and supporting partners to deliver a thriving East for people and businesses.

As a team and partnership, we have continued to grow, develop positive outcomes for stakeholders and demonstrate why Sub-national Transport Bodies have a leading role in supporting the movement of people and goods.

One major milestone from the year was our Regional Transport Strategy receiving recognition from the Secretary of State for Transport. This means the government will need to consider the priorities within our Transport Strategy when developing new policies and allocating funding for the region.

With the strategy supported at both a local and national level, we continue to grow our partnership to ensure Transport East leads the region’s single voice advocating for investment in our transport networks.

Other notable moments from the year includes:

Advocating for investment in major schemes

The continued advocacy and partnership work to improve rail capacity at Ely and Haughley Junction paid off, with a commitment from Government to invest in this scheme with Network North funding.

The case for investing in our region’s major roads has also led to success, with funding allocated for major schemes across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Leading the way in rural mobility

We are a strong voice in making the case for improvements to rural transport.

Through our Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence we have identified the travel challenges experienced by millions nationally and shared good practice to deliver solutions to these, shaping government policies to better connect rural communities.

Delivering evidence and tools that make a difference

We published our EV:Ready study and tools to support local authority partners with the growing uptake of EV’s in the East, expanded our work into connectivity with our modelling tool BERTIE, and launched the East’s first regional travel behaviour survey. This extensive, localised insight will be valuable to drive evidence led decision-making.

As we build our impact on behalf of our partners, I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes our work produces to support people and businesses in the East.

Andrew Summers, Chief Executive

2.0 Year at a glance

2.1 Highlights
2.2 Key Stats

Published six reports


Launched two dashboard tools for partners


Led the East’s single voice at over 20 national events

  • STB Conference
  • Highways UK
  • Transport Practitioner’s Meeting
  • CIHT East Conference
  • Modeshift


Advocated for the East at over 20 political events and briefings

  • Keeping Trade on Track Parliamentary Launch
  • Roads Briefing to Transport Minister
  • Rural Connections Parliamentary Launch
  • 10 x meetings at Party Conferences


Represented the East at six Transport Select Committee and APPG engagement meetings

3.0 How we work

3.1 What is Transport East?

Transport East is one of the seven Sub-national Transport Bodies (STB) that together cover all of England outside London. STBs were established through the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act (2016) to provide a single voice for transport for their sub-national areas.

Across England, STBs bring leadership on strategic transport, recognising that local partners working together are best placed to identify regional priorities.

Transport East is an independent partnership comprising of local authorities, Chambers of Commerce and other partners across Essex, Norfolk, Southend, Suffolk and Thurrock. Our partnership is the single voice for transport investment in the Eastern region.

3.2 Our Vision

“A thriving Eastern region with safe, efficient and net-zero transport networks advancing a future of inclusive and sustainable growth for decades to come.”

3.3 Structure


We are governed by the Transport East Forum, our principal decision-making board. It agrees our core plans and strategies. It comprises of transport portfolio holders from the five transport authorities and three elected members representing the three county groups of district authorities.

Business interests are represented by the Chambers of Commerce. The Forum also includes observer partners who provide advice and support for our work, including the Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail, National Highways, the UK Innovation Corridor, neighbouring local authorities and STBs. All meeting dates, papers, agendas and minutes are available at www.transporteast.gov.uk/meetings


Transport East Senior Officers Group (TESOG) 

TESOG oversee our annual work programme. It comprises of officers from all transport authorities, district representatives, National Highways, Network Rail, East of England Local Government Association, UK Innovation Corridor and DfT.


Business Unit 

The strategic direction, work programme, and day-to-day management of Transport East is led by the Business Unit. Suffolk County Council hosts the Business Unit and is the accountable body for all grant funding from the DfT.

3.4 How we're funded

The core running costs of Transport East, including staffing, communications, programme management and advocacy are funded by subscription fees from our five transport authorities and 24 district authorities.

In 2023/24, we secured grant funding from the DfT of £762,000. Click here for a breakdown of spending for 2023-24.

4.0 Why the East matters

  • The East is a rapidly growing region with a vibrant economy. We are crucial to a sustainable and outward-looking future for the UK.
  • 3.5m residents
  • 1.67m jobs from 140,000 jobs from enterprises
  • £73.5bn GVA to UK economy

Key economic sectors

  • Manufacturing, Distribution, ICT, Agri-tech, Biosciences, Green Energy production, Financial Industries and the visitor economy

An International Gateway

  • The region welcomed 19% of the UK’s freight tonnage in 2017 including over 50% of UK container traffic.
  • Within the region there are; 3 Airports, 5 major ports, 6 regional ports and 2 freeports.

Powering a nation

  • Home to 1,000 wind turbines generating 60% of UK’s offshore wind energy
  • 19,000 people directly employed in the East’s energy sector
  • First two Electric Vehicle forecourts in the UK

A large agricultural hub

  • £727m agriculture economy
  • 15% of farmed land in England is in the Eastern Region

5.0 Our Strategy

The Transport Strategy is our blueprint for transport investment across the region until 2050. It sets the long-term vision and priorities for transport in the region and informs not only our work, but local transport plans, and priorities of national bodies including National Highways and Network Rail.

During autumn 2022, our Transport Strategy was endorsed by all our Local Transport Authorities and in 2023, it was recognised by the Secretary of State for Transport who will now give it ‘due regard’ in funding and policy decisions that affect the region.

With endorsement from government, it puts the East in a much stronger position to secure investment. We will continue to work with our members and partners to identify investment priorities through an updated Strategic Investment Programme and embed the Strategy through Local Transport Plans.

We also provide a regional Centre of Excellence for strategic transport planning. By providing evidence, insight and tools, our partners can develop and make the case for investment that meets the Strategy goals and the region’s wider objectives.

Guiding our strategy are four priorities. These are:

  • Decarbonising transport: 42% of the region's carbon emissions come from transport - the largest sector. If we are to tackle our contribution to climate change and reach net zero emissions we need to act quickly.
  • Connecting growing places: Better links between our fastest growing places and business clusters. This helps the area function as a coherent economy and improves productivity.
  • Energised Coastal and rural Communities: A reinvented, sustainable coast for the 21st century which powers the UK through energy generation. Supporting our productive rural communities and attracting visitors all year round.
  • Global Gateways: Better connected ports and airports to help UK businesses thrive. Boosting the nation’s economy through greater access to international markets and Foreign Direct Investment.
5.1 Delivering the strategy through our Business Plan

Each year we set out how we will work to meet the Transport Strategy goals and the region’s wider objectives through our Business Plan and review how we’ve achieved those in our Annual Report.

The following section shows the progress Transport East has made over the last 12 months against our three-year corporate plan, adding value for our partners.

6.0 Regional Successes

Speaking as a single voice

We’ve continued raising our profile and priorities at national and regional events.

We engaged with Ministers, parliamentarians, councillors, business and transport groups to understand their current views on transport and how our partnerships can collaborate more effectively for outcomes.

Ely and Haughley rail capacity upgrades 

On rail we’ve worked closely with our neighbour STB, England's Economic Heartland (EEH), and many other partners across the East and the UK to promote the essential upgrades of Ely and Haughley junctions.

Our Keeping Trade on Track report with EEH demonstrated the strong case and support for the schemes.

Huge economic benefits can be unlocked along with reducing the region’s carbon emissions. We presented our report to Ministers who clearly saw the merits of investment.

In September, a funding commitment was made to finally deliver these upgrades. We will continue to work with partners to keep the pressure on to maintain momentum.

Investment in the region’s roads 

We also advocated to Ministers the need to increase the levels of investment in the region’s roads.

During an East of England All-Party Parliamentary Group event in the Houses of Parliament, we demonstrated the importance of the East’s roads and how future investment in planned schemes is essential for the UK and regional economy by enabling goods and people to be better connected through private and public transport.

Following our briefing we welcomed the news of funding commitments to improve roads across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and will continue to use our single voice to accelerate their delivery.

Regional Centre of Excellence

A core role for STBs is to help our partners add capacity and capability to develop and deliver transport strategies and plans. We achieve this through enhanced tools, evidence and insight.

We are building our evidence to generate better decisions at all levels and strengthen the case for investment.

Last year we provided resources through by developing and delivering:

  • Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) demand tool
  • Regional people movement model BERTIE (BEhaviouR & Transport: Impact & Equity)

We also initiated work on our connectivity studies, commissioned regional mobile phone data and launched the first regional Travel Behaviour Survey.

The nation's experts in Rural Mobility

With a third of our residents living in a rural area, we understand the challenges millions of people across the country face to access the services they need, which is why we’ve created the Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence, along with being the English STB lead for rural mobility.

We’ve supported other STBs and Local Authorities with improved evidence to understand the challenges and opportunities in rural mobility and have advocated the importance of rural inclusivity in transport policies and strategies.

We’ve already seen positive results. The Department for Transport pledged to work with us on innovative transport opportunities within their ‘Future of Transport: Rural Strategy’, and by providing funding pots focused more directly on rural transport innovation.

Last year, our Regional Strategy Hub demonstrated the power of partnership working.

With the support of a panel of independent expert Commissioners we coordinated a Rural Mobility Call for Evidence. This provided us with evidence on how people and businesses in the East feel about rural mobility, what challenges currently exist and where improvements to transport should be investigated.

The Regional Strategy Hub produced the ‘Rural Connections’ report, which we launched with the Local Transport Minister. It provides a set of recommendations from the call for evidence and discussions with experts across the East.

The report analyses the challenges and opportunities rural communities face and sets out clear actions directed at national and local government, Sub-national Transport Bodies and wider partners, to improve rural connectivity.

Supporting the East’s uptake of EVs

We launched our regional EV study – which provides our 29 local authorities with mapped insight on the forecast demand for publicly available EV charging infrastructure.

We understand many people across the region have restricted access to public transport, with private transport being essential to get to work, education and other essential services.

These tools and reports highlight regional gaps for publicly availably charging points and the projected levels of EV ownership up to 2040, with recommendations on how to accelerate the number of public EV chargers and support the reduction of carbon emissions.

Local authorities are now using this tool to plan and prioritise EV charging infrastructure and the tool received national recognition being shortlisted in the 2023 CiTTi awards.

Deep understanding of how people travel across the region

In the previous year we introduced BERTIE, our innovative people movement model. This powerful modelling tool provides valuable data across multiple transport modes which is guiding our connectivity studies.

Through these connectivity studies, we will combine data to further understand how people are moving across our region, including testing future scenarios. This will help our partners create business cases for the next generation of transport schemes required in the East.

Understanding the region's views on travel and transport

In March, our travel and behaviour survey went live, enabling people across the region to share their views and behaviour on how they make journeys in the East. The outputs from this will help us and partners shape future strategies and plans

Funding benefiting the East*

• £15.4m Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP+) funding for region**

• £180m Road funding from Network North, including A12 upgrades, Army and Navy junction and the Norwich Western Link road

• £25m road resurface funding

• Commitment to fund Ely and Haughley rail capacity upgrade from Network North

• £24.3m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding committed until 2025
• Extension of the £2 bus fare cap

• £1.2m for the region from the Active Travel England capability fund

• £1.5m for Suffolk County Council to trial health workers prescribing walking and cycling to patients


*Notable funding, not comprehensive.

**Excludes Norfolk County Council, who received BSIP funding in 2022/23

The above amounts are in addition to core Local Transport Authority funding and maintenance allocations

Major Schemes

The following list of projects have been identified in our Strategic Investment Programme as bringing huge benefits to the region and their
local areas.

During the year, they have received a commitment of investment to progress their delivery:

  • Ely and Haughley Rail Capacity Upgrades
  • Norwich Western Link
  • Army and Navy Road Upgrade, Chelmsford
  • A12 Widening J19 – J25, Essex
  • A12 Upgrade, East Suffolk

The below projects, also identified in our Strategic Investment Programme, are currently being, or have been, delivered:

  • Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing. Opened 1 February 2024.
  • Gull Wing Crossing, Lowestoft. Expected to open 2024.
  • Beaulieu Park Rail Station, Chelmsford. Expected to open 2025.

7.0 Strategic Plan: up to 2025

7.1 Overview

In 2022 we set out our three-year corporate plan following engagement with our partners, the Transport East Forum, and the Department for Transport (DfT), informed by our multi-year indicative settlement from the DfT.

The plan sets a direction to guide our annual Business Plan and our annual reporting will track our progress against this three-year corporate plan. Over the last three years we have made a step-change in the East’s capacity and capability.

However, to continue this accelerated progress we must keep up the pace. The following section the progress Transport East has made over the last 12 months against our three-year corporate plan, adding value for our partners.


By 2025, we will:

1. Be a transport Centre of Excellence for the region

    • Enhanced capacity & capability  for partners
    • Established ‘Next Generation’ strategic analytical capability
    • Lead the Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence

2. Plan the next generation of transport projects

    • Completed Strategic Connectivity studies
    • Planned the next generation of transport investment
    • Led transport policy changes in the East

3. Accelerated delivery of our transport projects in the East

    • An investment pipeline for the East
    • Reviewed and enhanced funding mechanisms
    • Enhanced evidence for Business Case development

4. A Single Voice – put the East’s transport priorities on the UK map

    • Formal partnerships with national bodies to steer investment
    • Regional Task Forces for our transport priorities
    • A communications and engagement programme amplifying our single voice
7.2 Progress of plan in 2023-24
  • New evidence
  • More capacity
  • Enhanced capability
  • Increased influence

Our Transport Strategy evidence base has been enhanced with work on Electric Vehicle infrastructure, a new transport model for people movement, rural mobility, buses, rail and decarbonisation.

We’ve built stronger relationships with partners including our local authorities, Department for Transport, National Highways, Network Rail, Great British Railways Transition Team and Parliamentarians.

7.3 Be a transport Centre of Excellence for the region

What we delivered in 2023-24

Delivered our Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence to draw together regional and national insight. Enhancing evidence and understanding of rural transport challenges and opportunities to maximise the case for rural transport improvements.

Brought together partners, supporters and experts through our Summit, Forum, Senior Officer Group, thematic officer groups, single issue workshops and webinars – to share knowledge and good practice, horizon scan and underpin our Single Voice for transport in the East.

Worked to enhance the capacity and capability of our local authority partners by developing tools, data, analysis and evidence.

7.4 Plan the next generation of transport projects 

What we delivered in 2023-24

  • Transport Strategy endorsement from our Local Transport Authorities and recognition from the Secretary of State on behalf of the Government, providing a robust, strategic direction for future transport in the East.
  • Launched BERTIE, our Agent-Based Model of transport in the region, based on the transport choices people realistically have. This will provide us with localised insight in the journeys made and will influence decisions for future investment
  • Published ‘Rural Connections’, highlighting the opportunities and challenges rural transport users face and making policy recommendations to national and local government, and wider stakeholders.
7.5 Accelerated delivery of our transport projects in the East

What we delivered in 2023-24

  • Published EV study and dashboard tool to support partners with identifying the best locations for public charging infrastructure. Providing increased evidence for EV plans, funding bids and commercial negotiations.
  • Enhanced evidence through regional travel behaviour study and regional mobile phone data.
  • Embedded regional priorities into National Highways and Network Rail’s strategic planning documents.
7.6 A Single Voice – our priorities on the UK map 

What we delivered in 2023-24

  • Consistent programme of engagement with government, Parliament, national delivery bodies and operators.
  • Strengthened our understanding of the region’s priorities through meetings with transport and planning authorities, business and industry stakeholders.
  • Brought together our Forum at two fantastic new pieces of major infrastructure under construction - Herring Bridge and Beaulieu Park station.
  • Launched a new quarterly webinar for local authority partners and our monthly newsletter.
  • Shared our expertise and promoted the region’s excellent work at over 20 speaking events.
  • Expanded our social media reach by 100%.

8.0  Funding and Resources

Transport East is funded from two main sources, local contributions from our members and an annually agreed funding allocation from the Department for Transport (DfT) for our technical programme.

8.1 Local contributions

The local contributions, established in 2019 and set out in the Terms of Reference, contribute to the Transport East team, non-technical work, operations and communications activities.

It is important to maintain local funding to ensure the ongoing growth of Transport East, maintain a level of independence from government, and continue to leverage increased grant funding from the DfT.

This financial year local contributions totalled £260,718.

We will continue to review the scope of funding members, considering the changing role and remit of Transport East and the external operating environment.

8.2 DfT Contributions

Since 2020/21, and in response to the demonstrable financial and political commitment from local partners, Transport East has also received funding from the DfT to support the delivery of our technical work programme. In 2023/24 this amounted to £762,000 of funding for technical work, including joint work with other STBs.

Transport East has an annual indicative funding settlement from the DfT up to 2024/25. Release of this funding requires an annually agreed business plan.

8.3 Summary

Income: £1,192,166​

Actual & committed: £1,192,166

Reserves & redundancy allocation: £215,049​

Balance carried into 2023/24: £0.00​

8.4 Income 2023/24

Local Authority Subscriptions: £260,718

DfT Grant: £762,000​

Under-spend from 2022/23: £ 99,448

Additional in-year funding: £70,000 (Contributions from Local Authorities towards Mobile Phone Data​)

Total Funding: £1,192,166

8.5 Expenditure* 2023/24

Businesses Unit

Staff: £585,173 (Full staff costs ​including people working on technical programme)

Operational Costs: £67,844 (Governance, major events and conferences, HR and business management)

Technical Programme

DfT core funding: £369,701​ (Technical Programme)

Additional funding: £70,000 (​Local authority contributions for mobile phone data)

Under-spend from 2022-23 grant: £99,448 (Incorporated into technical programme​)

Total Spend: £1,192,166


*Expenditure includes work we are committed to delivering in 2024/25

9.0 Our Thanks

We cannot undertake the work of Transport East without the ongoing support of our partners. Our thanks this year go to:

  • The Transport East team members: for their hard work, dedication and commitment to making transport in the East better.
  • People in the East: for giving us your views and choosing to use sustainable transport when you can.
  • The Transport Forum: for their ongoing commitment and guidance.
  • The Senior Officers Group: for their deep knowledge and expertise, and many, many valuable conversations.
  • Our local authority partners: for their involvement, engagement and insight.
  • Our parliamentarians and politicians: For helping us advocate for investment and policy changes that benefit the East.
  • Our regular officer contacts: at National Highways, Network Rail, GBRTT and the region’s Chambers of Commerce: for their continuing positive engagement.
  • Our home team at the DfT: for championing our work in the department and across government.
  • Our wider community: for your views, input, engagement and challenge.
  • The other 6 STBs: for your collaborative, innovative approaches and your commitment to sustainable transport.

And a special thank you to our previous Chair, Cllr Kevin Bentley, who has led Transport East since we launched in 2018.

His commitment, guidance and passion for the East has strengthened our position as the regional transport body, enabling us to deliver a vast number of transport initiatives in support of a thriving and sustainable Eastern region.

We wish him all the best for the future and welcome Will Quince as our new Chair.