Rail: Is it finally ‘on the up’?


The Independent Transport Commission released a study earlier in the month on the growth in demand for rail travel. Its findings may have come as a surprise given the press over recent years about declining passenger numbers and customer dissatisfaction.

In the main, it put this increase down to changes in working and living patterns since the 1990s, and private sector involvement.

With more of the population now using trains to travel due to ‘major economic and spatial changes’, there has been a 58% increase in the number of passengers travelling by train to work. The report found that shifts in housing/living locations and the jobs’ market fuelled an increase in commuter usage. Increases were also due to a 15% rise in population and the number of rail journeys doubling since the 1990s.

Changes in the job market also played a part. As more people work in offices than ever before, these are the type of person who tends to commute by train.  As the largest increases in job growth during the period surveyed were in the South East, this region also saw the biggest increase in commuter rail travel.

With Brexit fast approaching however, many believe that Teresa May’s developing industrial strategy, coupled with a chronic housing shortage, means transport, economic, and planning policy, is more joined up.

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