Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) managing director Laura Shoaf is the new chair of the Urban Transport Group (UTG).
Ms Shoaf, who was previously vice-chair, is the first female chair of the organisation.
Her appointment follows the end of the two-year term of outgoing chair Stephen Edwards, executive director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
She has over 20 years’ experience leading in urban transport planning in the UK and USA, and was recently shortlisted in the Everywoman awards for transport and logistics as a leader in her field.
Under her leadership, TfWM has won Transport Authority of the Year at the National Transport Awards three times (in 2016, 2018 and 2019).
Ms Shoaf said: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to chair the Urban Transport Group and to work with colleagues from across the city regions to meet both the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing transformation of urban transport networks.
‘During the pandemic, the Urban Transport Group is proving its worth more than ever with intensive daily liaison on the multiple operational and financial challenges that all its members face. It has been, and continues to be, invaluable to collaborate on these problems and to be able to make common representations to government to secure the funding and policy support we need.’
In her role at TfWM, Ms Shoaf is overseeing more than £4bn investment in the region’s infrastructure through the HS2 Connectivity Package and the Strategic Transport Plan.
She also has been leading the region’s transport response to the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring that services have been kept running for key workers throughout.
The UTG is the UK’s network of major city region transport authorities. Its board is made up of one director from each of its seven full members.