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Vision and priorities

Vision

Our vision is for a transport system that is an engine for economic growth but one that is also greener and safer and improves quality of life in our communities. By improving the links that help to move goods and people around, and by targeting investment in new projects that promote green growth, we can help to build the balanced, dynamic and low-carbon economy that is essential for our future prosperity.

Our most ambitious project is the delivery of a new high speed rail network that could transform the way Britain works as profoundly as the coming of the original railways. Such a network has the potential to make rail increasingly the mode of choice for inter-city journeys within the UK, and for many beyond, as well as to radically reshape our economic geography, connect our great cities and international gateways, and help to bridge the North-South divide that has for too long limited growth outside London and the South East.

We will make big changes at the local level too, because we know how crucial good transport is to people's quality of life. So we will free local authorities from central government control, letting them decide their own local transport priorities and solutions. And we will put more power into the hands of transport users by giving them the information they need to hold government and transport providers to account.

We also want our roads to become safer, less congested and less polluted. So we will support the introduction of the latest technologies, encouraging the use of electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles, to make transport cleaner and greener. And we will use insights from behavioural science to improve road safety and encourage lower carbon forms of travel. Our railways must also play their part in building a more modern and effective transport system - it is right that we demand greater efficiency from our network, and from rail franchise operators.

The department's business plan sets out how we will deliver this vision over the next four years.

Priorities

Deliver the Coalition's commitments on high speed rail

Carry out the preparation needed to start work on a high speed rail line early in the next Parliament connecting London with Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, as the first step towards a national high speed rail network for the whole of Britain.

Secure our railways for the future

Secure the sustainability of the railway and create capacity for improvement of services, by addressing the high cost of the UK railway compared with other railways and comparable industries; continue to invest in Crossrail and Tube upgrades in the capital.

Encourage sustainable local travel

Encourage sustainable local travel and economic growth by making public transport (including light rail) and cycling and walking more attractive and effective, promoting lower carbon transport and tackling local road congestion.

Tackle carbon and congestion on our roads

Support the early market for electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles, promote the more effective use of strategic roads by addressing the causes of congestion, and continue to improve road safety.

Promote sustainable aviation

Create a sustainable framework for aviation in the UK, improve passenger experience at airports and maintain high standards of safety and security for passengers and freight.