The people making a real difference to transport across the UK were recognised at the prestigious National Transport Awards at the Westminster Park Plaza in London last night. Hosted by former Labour Communications Director Alastair Campbell the awards attracted over 600 senior transport professionals to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the event including Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP who gave the keynote address.

Essex County Council took the prestigious Transport Local Authority of the Year award. Whilst facing a huge budget challenges cuts to services and increasing demands on resources, the council has embraced change and behaved differently, introducing new ways of working across Essex. Through partnership working they managed to deliver a range of road safety, major infrastructure and maintenance projects. Their highways and Transportation service has grown from strength to strength, since its inception in April 2012. It has been further enhanced by their Essex Strategic Highways Group. Overall, their partnership is the largest single transportation contract in the country.

For the second year running, Transport for West Midlands was named City-Region Transport Authority of the Year, sponsored by National Express. High-quality transport initiatives have continued to be developed, patronage has increased and bus-related crime reduced. A new 2km bus lane into Solihull town centre was opened, saving bus passengers up to 8 minutes each way on peak journeys.

The Bus operator of the Year category was awarded to Brighton & Hove Buses, an operator which has improved in several areas including ticketing, greener fleet and quality bus partnerships. Over the last year, Brighton & Hove Buses story has been all about growth. They've continued to buck the national trend and seen a healthy two per cent passenger growth year on year with consistently strong customer satisfaction levels. They've also seen their digital M-ticket sales rocket to possibly the highest levels in the country.

The much coveted Rail Operator of the Year, went to Great Western Railway who scored their highest ever NRPS customer satisfaction figures in 2016. The Great Western network is in the middle of an infrastructure and rolling stock upgrade. This includes operating the first ever electric rolling stock and managing the closure of major stations. Enhanced park and ride has been provided and they have exciting plans for the future.

Ferry Operator of the Year went to Thames Clippers for the second consecutive year. In the eighteen years since launch, numbers have risen to over 4 million, more than any other operator on the Thames. Contactless payment was introduced last year with 54% of passengers now using contactless or oyster card as the method of payment.

There was joint winners in the Transport Supplier of the Year category. Kier were awarded for their significant role in the delivery of a major maintenance project – that of the A38 Gravelly Hill Collaborative Project Delivery Community (more commonly known as 'Spaghetti Junction'). Vix Technology were also recognised for their contactless EMV solution has given Stagecoach on-board ticket machines that enable the purchase of paper and smart products. London Gatwick took the honours in the Airport of the Year category. London Gatwick is currently in the middle of a considerable £2.5 billion investment programme to develop and improve passenger facilities across the airport. During a 72-hour period in January three of the biggest airlines switched terminals in a project that included a complete redesign of the North Terminal, improvements to security and passenger gates.

This year's Frontline Employee of the Year award went to Greater Anglia train driver, Stuart Connell. Stuart put his passengers safety and wellbeing before his own when his train collided with a tractor at a level crossing. He pulled an emergency brake and headed back to warn passengers of the impending danger. He also quickly sounded the horn to warn the tractor driver. Even after sustaining an injury in the crash he continued to work and helped passengers on the train, reassuring as many as possible.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP who gave the keynote address said: 

"The National Transport Awards is one of the most important and eagerly awaited events in the transport calendar. It's also a rare opportunity to celebrate the most innovative companies, teams and individuals working across the whole transport industry. So I am delighted to support this year's awards and to be giving the pre-dinner address for the second year in a row."

The full list of award winners and those who were highly commended is as follows:

Transport Local Authority of the Year Winner: Essex County Council
Highly Commend: Glasgow City Council's Transport Vision

City-Region Authority of the Year Winner: Transport for West Midlands

Improvements to Bus Services Winner: Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester's Bus Priority Package

Excellence in Cycling and Walking Winner: Salford City Council, Salford's Traffic-free Routes
Highly Commend: Transport for London, Pedestrian Guard Rail (PGR) Programme

Road Safety, Traffic Management & Enforcement Winner: Wirral Council, Mind Your Business
Highly Commend: City of London, City of London Road Safety, Innovation, Walking and Cycling
Highly Commend: London Borough Bromley, The Evolution of Road Safety

Rail Operator of the Year Winner: First Great Western, Great Western Railway

Bus Operator of the Year Winner: Brighton & Hove Buses
Highly Commend: LibertyBus - Measuring impact, growing ridership and thinking differently
Highly Commend: Plymouth Citybus 

Ferry Operator of the Year Winner: MBNA Thames Clippers

Airport of the Year Winner: London Gatwick Airport
Highly Commend: Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Rail Station of the Year Winner: Abellio Greater Anglia, Cambridge
Highly Commend: South Eastern Railway, Snodland Station

Transport Supplier of the Year Joint Winner: Kier, A38 Gravelly Hill Collaborative Project Delivery Community
Joint Winner: Vix Technology, Delivering contactless EMV payments to Stagecoach's fleet
Highly Commend: WheelRight Ltd, Drive-over tyre management technology to increase fleet safety and efficiency

Construction and Engineering Project of the Year Winner: Transport for Greater Manchester, Second City Crossing
Highly Commend: Costain Ltd, Dover Sea Wall Project
Highly Commend: Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Coach Station

Contribution to Sustainable Transport Winner: First Bus drives a more sustainable future

Most Innovative Transport Project Winner: Transport for London, Plug and Play

Excellence in Technology Winner: Transport for London, Differential Bus Priority

Transport Team/Partnership of the Year Winner: Merseytravel – The Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance
Highly Commend: Swansea University and First Cymru and Swansea Students Union – A Sustainable Dual- Campus Bus Service/Swansea University Late Night Bus

Excellence in Travel Information & Marketing Winner: Lothian Buses, East Coast Buses
Highly Commend: Transport for London, Report it to stop it: tackling unwanted sexual behavior on public transport

Apprentice Champion of the Year Winner: Network Rail Apprenticeship Programme
Highly Commend: DVLA Apprentice Strategy
Highly Commend: Siemens - Blazing a Trail for Apprentices

Frontline Employee of the Year Winner: Stuart Connell, Train Driver, Abellio Greater Anglia
Highly Commend: Lynne Barber, Welcome Team Member, Edinburgh Airport
Highly Commend: Stuart Barrett, Assistant Station Manager, Southport, Merseyrail
Highly Commend: Dave Flowers & Mike Worsfold, Highway Operatives, Kier
Highly Commend: Claire Grant, Staff Manager, First Southampton
Highly Commend: Phil Hadley, Bus Driver, Brighton & Hove Buses
Highly Commend: PC Jay Jackson, Police Officer, Brighton & Hove Buses
Highly Commend: Raj Kalyan, Train Operator, London Underground
Highly Commend: Ayesha Sheikh, Customer Sales Experience Assistant, MTR Crossrail

Outstanding Contribution to Transport Winner: Giles Fearnley, Managing Director – UK Bus, First Group
Transport Journalist of the Year Winner: Graeme Paton, The Times
Lifetime Contribution to Transport Winner: Louise Ellman MP

Notes to editors: Judges include:- • Chair: Professor David Begg, Chair of the Judging Panel and Chief Executive of Transport Times • Graham Pendlebury, Director of Local Transport Policy, Department for Transport • Stephen Joseph OBE, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport • Louise Ellman MP, MP for Liverpool Riverside • Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Transport Focus • Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys

For further information contact: Contact Kirsty Walton Tel: 0207 828 3804 Email: [email protected] Photographs from the evening can be purchased at