The ‘Transport Fit for Future Generations Report’ published by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe shows how Wales could transform its transport system by investing in public transport, active travel and ensuring delivery of all phases of the South Wales Metro with the £1.4bn currently earmarked for the M4 Black Route.

Transport Fit for Future Generations’ written in partnership with the Centre for Transport and Society (CTS), University of the West of England, Sustrans and New Economics Foundation illustrates, with practical examples, how a sustainable transport system could be designed for any part of Wales.

The report highlights that despite the large and consistent body of evidence, successive governments, and the bodies that advise them, have repeatedly found it convenient to forget or deny that new roads generate more traffic independently of changes arising from growth in population or the economy.

If we are choosing to spend such a vast amount of public money on a project we need to be certain that the money we are borrowing will positively contribute to the social, environmental, economic and cultural well-being of our future generations.

The findings of this report clearly justify a reasonable cause for a review and re-appraisal of Welsh Government’s M4 Black Route proposal.”

Overview of findings and recommendations:

  • There are limitations to modelling undertaken by the Welsh Government
  • The Black Route would exacerbate many of the societal and environmental challenges facing Wales
  • The Black Route is weak on the criteria set out in the Well-being of Future Generations Act


  • Building the Black Route will result in an emission of 500,000+ tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents which will not be removed from the atmosphere until at least 2072
  • 24% of households in Wales did not own a car in 2011/12
  • Expanding the investment programme in Active Travel out to the whole Cardiff Capital Region would cost approx. £290 million but would result in economic benefits of £2.5bn over 20 years, delivering a 19% and 82% increase in walking and cycling trips respectively
  • A similar level of increase could be delivered across the whole of Wales with an investment of £600m, delivering £5bn of benefits over 20 years