9th & 10th February 2021

A Major Regional Conversation About Transport, brought to you by Swansea Environmental Forum and 4theRegion, sponsored by Natural Resources Wales and South West Wales Connected.

Hosted over two consecutive days via Zoom, the Regional Transport Conference brought together around 150 people to discuss the issues and opportunities relating to transport in South West Wales.  A detailed report of the Event Aims, the format of the event, and feedback from participants is available as a PDF here:  EVENT REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Regional transport thoughtleaders were invited to discuss their perspectives on key issues relating to transport, two weeks prior to the conference, in a roundtable discussion, recorded and released as part of our podcast and Youtube series, Build Back Better.



Capturing the key messages from this two-day co-production event, here are some of the recommendations and responsibilities for communities, businesses, organisations and individuals at every level.

What Local Authorities Can Do

  • Co-production – talk to communities about sustainable transport
  • Prioritise investment in active travel routes
  • Support active travel with street lights, secure bike parks…
  • Create bus lanes!
  • Lead the way by switching to EV fleet (as in Swansea)
  • Provide staff with access to pool cars, e-bikes and e-scooters
  • Re-establish the waterways – use local canals
  • 20mph zones to improve cycling safety and deter cars
  • The biggest deterrent to cycling is safety!

Planning Policy

  • The planning system needs to catch up with WBFGA goals
  • Town Centre First – no more out of town developments
  • Develop supplementary planning guidance
  • Insist on active travel and public transport strategies
  • Don’t permit new homes to be built that require car ownership
  • Encourage community car-share schemes and renewable EV charging
  • Insist on bike storage for every home
  • Secure bike storage for every business / destination
  • Stop allowing low density out-of-town developments
  • Offer workshops and support for developers to promote best practice
  • Promote the vision of the 5-minute town/city
  • Encourage resources back into communities to reduce need to travel
  • Stop building hospitals that can only be reached by car!
  • Revise Local Development Plans to reflect the WBFGA


  • Create mobility hubs with shared ebikes, e-scooters, bike storage
  • Crowdfund for EV charging and EV car share co-ops (
  • Set up a Bike Library, provide road cycle training in the community
  • Establish local groups (eg Living Streets) to create change locally
  • Keep it local: buy local and use local services
  • Promote and coordinate lift sharing (eg local Whatsapp groups)
  • Withdraw mileage reimbursements for local councillors/officers
  • Refund transport fares instead!
  • Make cycling or walking to school the norm – work with schools
  • Promote/support community transport options that already exist
  • Establish a community transport and taxi company
  • Recruit local volunteers as community drivers – provide shared vehicles
  • Help people become confident public transport travellers
  • Invite Transport for Wales to come and talk to your community
  • Encourage stories and visible representation in active travel

Bus and Train Operators

Treat service users as the experts!  We need to involve people who use public transport and those from seldom heard groups, at the start of transport design and ongoing. People who use the transport systems have got the answers, and sometimes these are cheap and simple things to implement.

  • We must enable bikes on buses and trains as a priority
  • Empower communities to design their own networks
  • Involve young people in designing campaigns to promote public transport
  • Involve disabled communities in designing support for accessible travel
  • Accessible timetables and information – colour coding can help.
  • Promote Traveline Cymru – collaborate to offer the best user experience!
  • Use technology to enable personalised travel plans
  • Collaborate and integrate with community transport organisations
  • Connect up transport modes – every bus should go to the train station!
  • Increase the number of bus stops around town
  • Plan a mix of express/direct and stopping / “round the houses” buses
  • More more space for wheelchairs on buses
  • Proactively address isolation, depression and health inequality
  • NPT, Swansea, LLanelli & Carmarthen are ideal regional hydrogen electric bus routes
  • Improve the profile and promotion of public transport
  • Make transport interchanges more welcoming and safer
  • Safe waiting rooms at all stations – safety concerns deter travel
  • Waiting rooms and toilets need to be open outside of ticket office hours
  • Recruit local volunteers to support people with additional needs
  • Involve communities around stations – eg community gardens, social enterprises
  • Promote discounts such as My Travel Pass –
  • Public transport needs to be cheaper.  Or free.



Employers & Businesses

  • Talk to staff about how they could reduce car use
  • Make reducing car use / decarbonisation a KPI
  • Choose office locations in town centres / public transport hubs
  • Ensure staff have other options – then charge for car parking
  • Promote, coordinate and incentivise car sharing for staff
  • Reward / incentivise active travel and public transport use
  • Provide showers and changing facilities to support active travel
  • Ditch the dress code – accept people in bike gear at work
  • Support staff to buy bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters (eg Wheels to Work)
  • Consider setting up a bike library
  • Be flexible about start/finish times to enable public transport use
  • Enable a mix of home working to reduce commuting
  • Provide staff buses to and from nearby communities (eg DVLA, Amazon)
  • Employers could collaborate and pool resources
  • Get support to install EV charging points
  • Set up an EV pool car scheme so staff access to cars only when needed
  • Stop reimbursing car mileage – pay for public transport fares instead
  • “40p per mile for cycling, not petrol!”
  • Meet clients at sustainable travel hubs eg train stations / town centre
  • Recommend sustainable travel options to clients and visitors
  • Make international travel a rare exception – meet online
  • Join the Swansea Bay Sustainable Travel Planning Forum (
  • Talk to local bus operators to make the case for new services

General Comments

  • Transport should be regarded as a universal basic service – like healthcare and education.  Plus decarbonising transport is a priority to avert climate disaster.  Lobby your politicians to make it so!  Demand that governments stop spending money on new roads, and put that money into public transport services instead.  Public transport needs to be cheaper.  Or free.

  • Investment in rail is welcomed, but buses carry more people and reach more communities, so we will get much more ‘bang for the buck’ by investing in bus services.  If governments are going to bail out transport operators in hard times, and subsidise their operations (ie socialising the losses), it should be possible to make greater demands and re-regulate the transport industry to provide universal access to decent services.

  • We need much more infrastructure for electric vehicle charging across the region, but private EV cars are not the answer and won’t address the climate crisis or transport inequality.  EV Car Share projects should be supported in communities and by employers – so that people can have access to a car without needing to own one.

  • In towns and cities where sustainable travel options exist, and once governments have invested significantly in those options, we should support new legislation that makes car users pay the true cost of car use (eg congestion charging, parking charges, tolls).  In rural areas, those same policies would be unfair and would worsen travel inequality.

  • Planning policy is a key lever.  We must stop allowing low density out-of-town development which makes people car-dependent, and embrace a “town centre first” approach for residential, commercial, leisure and health developments.  Locating jobs, services and facilities in local communities will help make sustainable places where people don’t need to own a car.

  • Fair pay and conditions for delivery drivers and cyclists – which is a growing sector thanks to the growth of online ordering.  Van delivery drivers are paid per parcel thereby incentivising drivers to drive fast and unsafely.  We need a real living wage paid to all workers.



Capturing the wisdom and insights shared during the 8 hours of discussion over the two days of the conference, we made extensive notes and recordings, which were later analysed and summarised into a concise list of recommendations.  These recommendations not just for politicians and council executives, but for businesses, employers, transport operators, communities and individuals – because we all have a part to play in creating a more environmentally sustainable, and more equal and accessible, regional transport system.  The recommendations that were co-produced by 150 conference participants have now been published as a clear and easy-to-read Regional Transport Manifesto. 

Click through the slides below, or view the PDF here:  SWWCo Regional Transport Manifesto 2021.


What did you like about the event?”

  • Ability to have a say
  • Opportunity for everyone to share concerns and put forward ideas – a good mix of people from different places and, organisations and interests
  • The breakout sessions were full of interesting information and ideas
  • Wealth of ideas, appreciated and facilitated by the organisers
  • The cross section of professions/perspectives represented at the forum
  • Good level of discussion via break out rooms
  • Plenty of positive interaction
  • It was virtual and didn’t involve lots of people driving to the venue
  • The efficiency of break-out rooms, discussion and back into the main room was seamless
  • That participants were able to contribute freely and there were lots of good ideas.
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas with a wide range of individuals and organisations
  • Lots of different representatives….. not just the usual suspects! Also very well run.
  • Very well organised, with a good structure over the 2 days. 
  • I would like to be involved in helping with a car share group.
  • Everyone was encouraged to contribute. Breakout rooms efficiently handled. 
  • Great atmosphere.
  • Positive conversation amongst a wide range of people. Space for creativity.

The chart shows the mix of sectors that conference participants represented, which was an unusually good mix of public, private and community perspectives.  The event was intended to be an inclusive online event for car users, transport users, cyclists and pedestrians, even those who had never been involved in conversations about transport before.

Overall, how would you rate the event?”

To capture the wisdom and insights shared during the 8 hours of discussion over the two days of the conference, we made extensive notes and recordings, which were later analysed and summarised into a concise list of recommendations, which we have published as a Regional Manifesto. 

SWWCo Regional Transport Manifesto 2021

A key point to note is that our manifesto includes recommendations for all of us – not just for the politicians and council executives, but for businesses, employers, transport operators, communities and individuals. Everyone has a part to play in the transition to a greener, healthier, more equal, more integrated, more accessible and more affordable transport system for South West Wales.



Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend and contribute to the wide ranging discussion.  This regional transport conference was the biggest and most inclusive conversation about travel and transport that South West Wales has ever seen, and tapped into the huge desire people have to discuss the issues and get their voices heard.

This is just the start of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation leading to real change for good. There was a consensus that we should keep this conversation going, with a regular regional community-led transport forum through which people can engage meaningfully with decision-makers, transport operators and each other.

If you are a regional organisation that recognises the need to involve communities more in your service design, strategy or policy development, or if we can support your upcoming consultations or community engagement objectives, please get in touch. We welcome the support of regional partners and look forward to hearing how you intend to address the recommendations of this conference.

And if you are someone who would like to stay involved with conversations and activities relating to travel and transport in our region, one way you can do this is to reach out to us (email and ask to join the Community Rail Partnership.  We will also be emailing all conference attendees with future events that we think you will be interested in – and we invite you to keep us posted about your transport related projects and initiatives so that we can share, connect and support!