Many transport planners joined the profession because they wanted to make a positive change for society (or perhaps because they had an interesting obsession with trains, trams buses or bikes!).
For me, it was because I wanted to use my background in maths to deliver for the greater good.
But in reality, there are many challenges to doing the right things, and a lot of these are a result of barriers to collaboration.
For example, as a consultancy, I’ve found that the competition for work, a need to protect our approaches, and a focus on billable time can surpass the potential for true collaboration, debate and knowledge sharing.
By contrast, council officers have completely different challenges, and often lack the opportunities to share, debate and collaborate outside their local area.
Throw into this all the conspiracy theories that are out there (eg. communities being restricted to travel only 15-minutes away from their home); the circulation of misinformation (eg. about Oxford locking down its residents); and propaganda (eg. car companies have solved all our transport issues); plus now the recent politicisation of the decarbonisation of transport, and I would argue that we transport people need now more than ever to come together and reassess our priorities.
For example, with the new release of the latest LTP guidance hopefully imminent, we have a lot to discuss relating to some of the key additional deliverables on which we, no doubt like many others, are keen to share our learnings. This will be my third Local Transport Summit, and unlike other conferences, it is a true opportunity for engaging within our sector in a safe environment, asking ourselves “what do we do now” and “what do we do next”, challenging our trajectory and reassessing our level of impact.
This is not an event where you just sit and listen. It is a discussion, and ideas exchange. It provides the much-needed evidence-led debate between transport professionals and industry specialists. It is a chance to hear from local authorities to understand their barriers and what support, research and advice they need from the industry.
This is the foremost conference that we invite our local authority clients to. Why? Because the relationships formed here, and the focus on sharing experiences and solutions, are invaluable to us, them and the sector as a whole.
I am proud to be a part of the Local Transport Summit community and for City Science to be a sponsor.
We are actively developing QCR methods ahead of time, collaborating with three Strategic Transport Bodies, to support their Local Authorities, by feeding consistent QCR methodologies into their LTPs.
As a specialist consultancy, we pride ourselves on helping local authorities accelerate their decarbonisation goals through bespoke solutions delivered in close collaboration with our partners. For example, we have developed a QCR tool, to make it much easier for Local Authorities to produce evidence-based quantification of their LTP’s carbon impacts.
Perhaps most importantly, we have extensive volumes of accessible data, and I want to get this into the hands of transport planners and decision-makers.
Our Cadence 360 web-based data visualisation package (with over 80 pre-processed datasets) and our transport decarbonisation pathways tool have huge potential for helping local authorities with their transport planning.
The Summit is the perfect environment for us to share the tools and approaches we have designed for transport planners, and to get truly constructive feedback.
If you are interested in learning more, I will be leading a workshop session on evidence- led transport decarbonisation. My colleague Aoife Dudley (a TPS Young Professional of the Year finalist) will meanwhile be facilitating a session on the perspectives of young professionals. Come and join us!
Simon Lusby is Managing Director at City Science, responsible for their transport, sustainability and energy consultancy business.
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