Local transport


55% of car journeys are under 5 miles - many of these trips could be walked, or made by bike or public transport. Making these ways of travel more attractive encourages people to leave the car at home. This reduces their carbon footprint and helps the UK reach its climate change goals.



The government gives funding to local transport authorities in England to help them develop their local transport services. To improve and maintain the infrastructure of local public transport, we are giving funding in a number of ways, from using formulas that calculate how much local councils need to deliver specific services, to grants that are paid to successful bidders in a competition.

Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme

To help local authorities plan and manage the road networks, the government has set up the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme.


To make bus services more punctual, inter-connected, green and accessible we are:

Taxis and private hire vehicles

To make sure that taxi and private hire vehicle operators are properly regulated the government is publishing guidance for companies and local authorities:


To encourage more people to cycle more safely and more often, the government is:

  • funding local authorities through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to encourage cycling
  • providing funding to make cycling easier and safer in 8 cities and 4 National Parks
  • providing guidance on infrastructure design (PDF, 3.3MB)
  • encouraging employers to sign up to businesscycle
  • promoting the National Standard for Cycle Training through the Bikeability award scheme
  • providing funding for extra cycle parking at stations and for cycle hire and repair facilities

Door to door journeys

To make it easier and more convenient for people to use public transport, walk or cycle, we have published a Door to door strategy that will help to improve the whole journey. Through ensuring that we have a joined-up, sustainable transport system we can help to ease congestion whilst cutting carbon and creating growth.

Smart ticketing

To make local transport more customer-friendly and to encourage people to use it, we are:

  • providing an extra £15 million to help increase investment in smart ticketing equipment particularly among small and medium-sized bus companies
  • providing £45 million to extend smart, flexible ticketing across London and the south east through the south east flexible ticketing (SEFT) programme


We announced our intention to promote sustainable travel initiatives as part of the coalition agreement.

Following the government’s comprehensive spending review in October 2010 we announced the introduction of a sustainable local transport fund, funding for highways maintenance and funding for small transport improvement schemes.

In 2011 we released full details of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in a white paper called Creating growth, cutting carbon.

To shape this policy, we used economic and statistical analysis, appraisal, evaluation, modelling and research.

Who we’ve consulted

The government is currently consulting on its plans for bus subsidy reform. These include devolving subsidy decisions to local authorities.

Consultation: Bus Subsidy Reform

In 2010 the government ran a consultation to encourage debate on the future transport needs of our cities and urban communities, and invited comments on the plans for a new Urban Challenge Fund.

Consultation: new Urban Challenge Fund

Bills and legislation

Transport Act 2000

The Transport Act 2000 made a number of reforms to local transport planning and delivery, including the requirement for all local transport authorities in England, outside of London, to produce a local transport plan. It also granted new powers for local authorities to enter into quality partnerships with bus operators and to introduce road user charging schemes and workplace parking levies.

Local Transport Act 2008

The Local Transport Act 2008 gives local authorities the power to take steps to meet local transport needs in the light of local circumstances.

The Local Transport Act:

  • gives local authorities the right mix of powers to improve the quality of local bus services, as proposed in ‘Putting passengers first’
  • allows for the creation of an influential new bus passenger champion to represent the interests of bus passengers
  • gives local authorities the power to review and propose their own arrangements for local transport governance to support more coherent planning and delivery of local transport
  • updates existing legal powers to give local authorities the freedom and flexibility to develop proposals for local road pricing schemes in a way that best meets local needs – while ensuring schemes are consistent and interoperable

Concessionary bus travel legislation and reports

These documents show the research and subsequent decisions on the government’s strategy for concessionary bus travel: