15 Jul 2021
by Teodora Kaneva

Response - Transport Decarbonisation Plan

techUK's response to the Transport Decarbonisation Plan

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan was launched on 14 July 2021.

The Plan has been a long-awaited strategy for the most polluting sector to develop a long-standing sustainable strategy to decarbonise.

There are a lot of commitments in the plan, and very aspirational once at that.

The priorities for the sector cover:

  • Priority 1: Accelerating modal shift to public and active transport
  • Priority 2: Decarbonisation of road vehicles
  • Priority 3: Decarbonising how we get our goods
  • Priority 4: Place-based solutions
  • Priority 5: UK as a hub for green transport, technology, and innovation
  • Priority 6: Reducing carbon in a global economy

As stated in the document “decarbonisation requires a rethink of how we invest in transport, technology, and skills”. Our transport system must be redefined to achieve such optimistic targets. There is a need for concrete measures to deliver on those plans. It is very positive to see that the government is also intending to review the roads policy.

The plan seems to be fully embracing digital technology as a conduit to a lot of its commitments. 

Data is set to remain a key enabler. The document addresses providing better data and information for example to commuters means they can make better decisions about their regular journeys. Truly embracing digital technology throughout will keep businesses competitive, the sector resilient and empower users.

We strongly believe that the unique expertise of the UK technology community can provide world-leading solutions.

“Technology is already driving radical changes in transport, with profound implications for users and businesses from digital connectivity, artificial intelligence, automation, and data innovation.”


  1. Supporting the development of battery and hydrogen trains and will deploy them on the network as we decarbonise. We will also use technology to clean up diesel trains until they can be removed altogether.
  • It is great to see an ambition of diversification. Through investment channels and appropriate R&D commitments, the technology advances in innovation, and the hope is that the networks will accelerate the adoption rather than using only proven technology in the future.
  1. To ensure the UK’s charging infrastructure network meets the demands of its users.
  • The EV revolution is here. We must ensure that we support a fully digitally integrated system, which will facilitate the delivery of fully net-zero vehicles.
  1. Modernising fares ticketing and retail to encourage a shift to rail and cleaner and greener transport journeys.
  • The Williams-Schapps review certainly focused its attention on making fare tickets a lot more flexible and affordable to the consumer. Data analytics, AI, and machine learning algorithms play a key role in the delivery of digital ticketing. Providing a fully digital and integrating system could improve the customer journey experienced utilising digital technology.
  1. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) - A new Code of Practice will signal the UK’s intent for MaaS to shape the transport outcomes we want. To help consumers choose lower carbon journeys, this guidance will look to encourage the inclusion of carbon data for each route offered.
  • We must ensure that the business models work and are reviewed in a technology agnostic manner, so the sector could still benefit from full innovation.
  1. Commitment to reducing barriers to data sharing across the transport sector.
  • It is really encouraging to see that DfT and OZEV are working together to define ways to open up data as well as industry. The proper guidelines and standards must be in place for the sector to support this end-to-end journey.

Overall the Transport Decarbonisation Plan touches upon major improvements and a lot of ambition within the Transport Network.  The hope certainly is that the sector must identify the concrete measures to reach all of its aspirations. The transport sector also must work a lot closer together with the Energy, Communication Infrastructure, and the technology community to deliver on its digital ambitions.

Susanne Baker, Associate Director Climate, Environment, and Sustainability at techUK said:

The government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan is hugely welcome. A global race is underway to decarbonise mobility in all its forms, and the UK has an opportunity to adopt a leadership position.

techUK in particular welcomes the Government’s recognition that innovation and data-driven policy making provides us with a key opportunity: taking proven digital technologies and applying them thoughtfully will help us keep costs down, and we particularly welcome the commitment to introduce new legislation for smart charging. Not only will this help keep people’s bills down, but it will help support the resilience of the network.

But we should not be under any illusion of the urgency to begin work now to realise the vision set out in the Plan. We need to double down to set out the detailed delivery plans and enabling policies to realise the government’s vision for decarbonised mobility.


techUK will continue to monitor the government’s actions and provide expertise from the technology community in the relevant sectors. We are hoping to see the first consultations coming through this summer and continuing to work together with industry to help the sector achieve its goals.


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Teodora Kaneva

Teodora Kaneva

Programme Manager Smart Energy and Utilities