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:
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James is an Economist working within the consultancy division of Oxford Economics.
James first joined Oxford Economics in July 2016 as part of his industrial training scheme, when he spent the year assisting the economic impact team with a wide range of projects. Following his industrial placement, James returned to Newcastle University to complete his BSc in Economics. For his dissertation, James was awarded the European Award for Aviation Economics by the German Aviation Research Society. He has re-joined the consultancy division working primarily with economic impact studies.
Associate Director, Economic Impact
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Associate Director, Economic Impact
London, United Kingdom
Stephen leads a team of economists who assess the economic impact of a variety of different firms and industries. Recent consultancy projects he has led include assessments for the World Travel and Tourism Council, Dubai Free Zones Council, the Aerospace Technology Institute, Funding Circle, Reckitt, and ASOS.
Stephen has also worked on Oxford’s Global Industry Service where he was responsible for forecasting the global transport sector, leading Oxford Economics’ industry research, and managing consultancy projects for industrial organisations.
Stephen joined Oxford Economics from the UK civil service, where he worked on a range of macroeconomic, fiscal, tax and welfare policy issues across HM Treasury, the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Department for Work and Pensions.
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