Portrait of Robert Catherall

Robert Catherall : Principal

Rob is part of Oxera’s senior Transport team and specialises in public policy, impact assessment, economic regulation and commercial strategy. He joined Oxera in September 2022, following 15 years in the UK Civil Service, including eight years in the Government Economic Service. Rob has held a number of senior roles at the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), working in rail, buses, aviation and roads. He has also worked at the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions and the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government.

For his work at the DfT during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob was nominated by Sir Peter Hendy (Chair of Network Rail and the Secretary of State’s COVID-19 Travel Tsar) and his team for the Civil Service Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Robert speaks English.

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7776 6647

Robert's specialisms include:

professional experience

  • Managing a £10bn portfolio of c. 200 projects and funding to Local Authorities for local roads and public transport (2019–22)

  • Leading the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund for the DfT and working with HM Treasury and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to design and run the competition (2021–22)

  • Advising Birmingham City Council on the DfT’s requirements for the re-procurement of the Birmingham Highways Maintenance PFI (2021–22)

  • Securing agreement in the Levelling Up White Paper to a new approach to funding local transport (2021–22)

  • Leading the DfT’s Spending Review 2021 negotiations with HM Treasury for local and regional transport, delivering 24 business cases and securing a £4.2bn per annum investment over three years—a 42% increase on Spending Review 2015 (2021)

  • Leading the DfT’s COVID-19 response for buses, trams, taxis, local roads, cycling and walking, including negotiating with HM Treasury for over £1bn of emergency bus and tram grants and securing agreement from Number 10 to a £2bn cycling and walking programme (2020–21)


  • BA (Hons) Economics, University of Leeds, UK

  • MSc Economics, University College London, UK

Latest Insights:  Robert Catherall

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Transport policy in the UK is at a critical juncture. The UK’s commitment to decarbonise transport will require adopting new technologies and changing behaviours, including a rapid uptake of electric…
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On 4 October 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that Phase 2 of High Speed Two (HS2) would not go ahead.1 Was this the right call? How do we make…
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The GB rail industry is facing considerable challenges. Low passenger numbers mean that a massive increase in state subsidy has been necessary to keep services running, which is unsustainable. To…
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Arguably, the UK has gone through a golden age of transport infrastructure planning and delivery in recent years. Since the turn of the millennium, transport capital budgets have grown and…

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