As well as having major environmental impacts, transport systems play a critical role in our lives – shaping communities, facilitating economies, and affecting individuals’ health and wellbeing. With ambitions to develop a sustainable and accessible transport system, Welsh Government has a clear vision for the future of transport in Wales that benefits the country’s people, places, and economy.
Transport for Wales (TfW), a not-for-profit organisation, is driving forward this transport vision. Since its inception in 2015, the remit of TfW has expanded and evolved, from initial oversight of Wales and Borders rail services to now taking responsibility for planning, commissioning, and managing an integrated transport network. As a rapidly growing organisation, TfW faced challenges managing significant organisational change while developing projects to transform Wales’ transport system.
Arup brought together experts from a range of disciplines – including strategy, transport planning, project management, organisational change, economics, user-led design and IT systems – to provide strategic advice and drive positive change within TfW. The breadth of our skills and experience meant that we could help support the organisation's development and manage risks while advising on ways to maximise the transformational benefits of transport projects.
A business case for integrated transport
Segregated transport systems characterised by increased journey times, multiple transfers and long delays between connecting rail and bus services present a barrier to public transport use. Recognising the need to create an integrated delivery body for all transport, including bus, roads, aviation and active travel, Welsh Government established TfW, which required the management of activities related to the transport network to be transferred to the new organisation.
We worked with TfW to support this transition, developing robust organisational structures, consistent project management processes and a clear plan to manage its expanding remit successfully. Working closely with the Welsh Government, TfW and other stakeholders, we developed a strategic business case for the transfer of transport activities. After building an understanding of people, processes and assets – including the funding required – for each activity, we established which management functions to transfer, and who should be the recipient body.
Using our Operational Readiness, Activation and Transition (ORAT) framework, we supported the transfer of functions to TfW, which included business change, training and due diligence, and gave stakeholders confidence in the process.
A customer-centric transport system
Creating a transport system focused on customer experience is central to achieving the Welsh Government goal to increase public transport and active travel use in Wales. We worked with TfW to develop a customer-centric service design informed by data and insights gained from real customers through interviews and observations. The process, first used in the design of on-board rail catering services, gave TfW a toolkit to put customers at the heart of its newly designed services. The methodology was intentionally repeatable and has since been adopted across other customer-facing services such as fares, retail and ticketing.
TfW has developed a positive, effective and two-way relationship with Arup. They are willing to bring challenge, and be challenged, to support our ambitions as an organisation. ” Geoff Ogden Consultancy and Corporate Services Director, Transport for Wales
Unlocking wider economic and social value from rail improvements
In 2020, TfW assumed ownership of the Core Valleys Lines – the railway network radiating from Cardiff into the Welsh valleys. With the network due to be modernised and electrified, we are helping maximise value creation from its lines, stations and land assets. Our advisory and placemaking teams worked with TfW to move beyond transportation considerations to pursue joined-up thinking around the environment, sustainability, job creation, and placemaking. Using this integrated approach, we can deliver enhanced value that will address wider challenges and deliver greater impact in the long term.
Resilient rail operations and infrastructure
When TfW took over rail operations for the Wales and Borders service from the private sector, the project involved many complexities; from people and staff transfers, technology and IT systems, to rolling stock and safety, there was little margin for error. Failure would mean trains not running on day one, resulting in significant reputational and financial penalties. Our multidisciplinary team’s knowledge and experience from previous, similar projects, coupled with a deep understanding of TfW’s people and systems, meant that we could work collaboratively with other consultants to support TfW and the Welsh Government through a successful transition.
An organisation fit to deliver Wales' transport ambitions
With transport accounting for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Wales, the need to decarbonise transport is evident. Reducing private vehicle use and encouraging public and active travel can improve air quality and reduce air pollution while offering significant health benefits. The carefully considered and evidence-based decisions made throughout TfW’s organisational evolution to date have laid strong foundations to support the successful delivery of a sustainable, integrated and customer-focused transport network that maximises social, economic and environmental benefits for Wales.