In the last issue, we advised that LTT would be taking a summer break, and we will be reviewing the future way in which we will be providing the unique information and discussion service for UK transport professionals that we began over 30 years ago.
To that end a Friends of LTT Review working group had been established under the chairmanship of Arman Farahmand- Razavi. Arman and I would like to thank all the readers of LTT who have contacted us with thoughts and feedback.
The overwhelming message we have received is one of support; no-one wants to see the disappearance of LTT or believes that its role is no longer relevant. But virtually everyone seems to recognise that the digital information era means that change is inevitable; and that new multiple ways of providing our service are now available and must be embraced.
There is also a general consensus that LTT has been about far more than the delivery of ‘industry news’; and indeed plays a role that goes beyond just being a ‘publication’. It has a special place in the transport profession in the UK, and has given a platform and a voice of authority to the sector and its participants, and sets an agenda for what issues are important and what are the big professional challenges for practitioners. Its preservation and further evolution going forward is, therefore, indisputably seen as being in the profession’s best interest.
Two types of feedback have been particularly important to us and are informing our approach to the way forward. One is from those who want to preserve the reading experience on a paper-based publication; the other is from those who have already experienced the digital delivery of LTT in some way, accept that approach, but are yet to be fully satisfied by it. Indeed, there are clearly some flaws in our digital model that deserve critical examination.
The perspective of the first group highlights the convenience of a paper publication, and the fact that it can be read, enjoyed and preserved independently of an electronic screen. Consumption of a printed LTT, on the move, on a bus or train - or even in bed! – is very popular.
But there is also an acknowledgement that embracing a move to a digitally-supplied version is not second nature for everyone, and requires the effort to familiarise oneself with the new channel(s). And indeed, to pick and use the right channel for a range of situations - from an office environment at a desk, to home-working, and when out and about. Important feedback about the convenience of how LTT is consumed concerns the issues of accessibility, and how people with disabilities of various kinds (including visual impairments) use digital channels. Accessibility is certainly a priority issue for us going forward.
Feedback from the second group, with specific criticisms of the digital versions of LTT, is more nuanced and detailed, but certainly valuable. It has stiffened our resolve to do better as we strategically review LTT’s online presence and e-delivery.
There’s a lot to absorb, and choices to make about the best ways forward. So we’ll be busy over the next few weeks coming up with a new set of deliverables. Rest assured we’ll be back in September with some things familiar, and others reshaped.
Our mission remains to secure a sustainable future for the LTT service over the coming years commensurate with the expectations of our very special audience.
Peter Stonham publisher and editorial director LTT and chairman Landor Group
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