The UK has a large backlog of missing transport capacity to catch up with. Labour cut the roads programme heavily on assuming office in 1997, and cut the total capital investment programme more in response to the 2008 banking crash. The Coalition made slow progress in reinstating the capital cuts.
The last government did concentrate on several very large schemes. It largely completed Crossrail in London, which had been planned under its Labour predecessor. It backed HS2, an expensive project to install a new London to the north route. It made early moves in favour of Crossrail 2. It was almost ready to make up its mind on new airport capacity, but the politics of the Mayoral election in London followed by the referendum vote dealt a body blow to good intentions to make a decision. It delivered the Olympics projects, continued with various public sector led schemes in the North, and began the conversion of hard shoulders into running lanes on busy motorways.
So what should the new government do? It needs to up the pace and scale of its response to the chronic lack of commuter rail capacity and main road space. It needs to review road junctions and railway crossing points, to improve safety and cut congestion.
Commuter capacity into and out of the main cities should be a railway priority. Removing bottlenecks on tracks, providing more track bypasses to allow more fast trains to intersperse the rush hour stoppers, taking out level crossings and other hazards, extending train lengths and platforms, improving braking and cutting train weight to improve acceleration and stopping times could all add substantially in total to commuter capacity.
So should more freight train activity be a priority. That requires more single waggon marshalling and more branch lines and sidings in modern industrial parks. It also needs more track capacity. Improved signalling throughput the network can assist in providing more freight and commuter capacity.
On the existing A and B road network the government needs to work with Councils and provide more money for improved junctions. More segregation of right turning traffic and of cycles can improve safety and speeds through junctions. Switching more traffic lights to roundabouts can also assist flows.