A review of the wider benefits that UK rail delivers for passengers, commuters, job-seekers, and the environment.
The Economic, Environmental, and Social Opportunities that Rail Brings to the UK report shows how UK rail has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits to passengers, commuters, job-seekers, and the environment. This complements our 2021 report The Economic Contribution of UK Rail.
The report, commissioned by RIA, shows that increased use of rail generates benefits for the UK economy by improving productivity and labour market outcomes:
- Time savings – public transport generates around £1.4 billion in time saving benefits every year for commuters in six of the UK’s largest cities from reduced congestion
- Higher wages – reducing journey times between Manchester and Leeds by 20 minutes could increase wages by approximately £600 per worker per year.
- Job opportunities – a 10% reduction in regional journey times could support from 1,950- 12,600 jobs dependent on the area. 5,900 jobs could be supported in Scotland, for example.
Rail also has a lower environmental impact than other modes of transport, and new technology will only reduce this:
- Low-carbon travel – by 2050 electric trains will produce 14 times fewer emissions than conventionally fuelled trains.
Finally, access to the rail system supports social mobility and improves public health:
- Public health – £115 million per year in healthcare cost savings could be generated by improving public transport in six of the UK’s largest cities.
- Access to services – in addition to the economic benefits from accessibility, those with better public transport links are more likely to have access to services and participate socially.
About the team
Our Economic Consulting team are world leaders in quantitative economic analysis, working with clients around the globe and across sectors to build models, forecast markets and evaluate interventions using state-of-the art techniques. Lead consultants on this project were:
Senior Economist, Economic Impact
Associate Director, Economic Impact
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