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Leading industry figures reveal how the UK’s transportation challenge can be met

At the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Annual Conference (2 March 2017), over 200 delegates, including Ken Dudley as Lead of the Ridge and Partners LLP Traffic and Transportation team, heard how leading organisations are responding to the challenges and opportunities facing the highways and transportation industry.

The ‘ Breakfast Briefing’ was delivered by Melanie Clark – Operations Customer Service Director at Highways England who emphasised how much value is based upon engagement with road user clients in providing improved services and information for the road user customers.

The main conference was then opened with a welcome from Steve Rowell President of CIHT.

Beginning with a ‘Conference Interview’ interview undertaken by Sue Percy CIHT Chief Executive discussing how the major organisations in the sector are doing at the moment with Peter Antolik – Highways Director ORR who monitor the processes and approach of Highways England, and Linda McCourt – Senior Stakeholder Manager for Transport Focus who spoke about the approach to gathering data and the value of communication with customers Sue Percy said that historically user needs have not necessarily been high on the agenda within highways and she welcomed a recent cultural shift within Highways England towards a more customer focused approach.

Key note presentations in the morning Plenary Panel –‘The UK Today’, were given by Garrett Emmerson – Chief Operating Officer, Surface Transport, Transport for London commenting that TFL have worked hard to reduce hold ups, through managing their transport network more efficiently. Garrett announced that the mayors new transport strategy will focus on encouraging modal shift – to improve air quality and promote a healthy streets agenda; Hugh Gillies – Director of Trunk Roads and Bus Operations for Transport Scotland who emphasised the particular pressures on managing infrastructure in Scotland; Mark Corbin, Key Route Manager – Transport for West Midlands highlighted an area of concern about the negative impact on life expectancy along some of the West Midlands transport corridors. Mark said that through using genuine collaboration they were planning to adopt a more holistic approach to transport infrastructure in their area and identify the governance models needed to deliver on growth in a UK and even global context: Martin Tugwell – Programme Director England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance emphasised the strength that an alliance can bring in bringing forward delivery of infrastructure and economic development; Peter Molyneux- Director Strategic Road Network – Transport for the North outlined that TfN would be releasing their 30 year transport plan later this year that aimed to give improved certainty and direction for the North; The afternoon Plenary Panel – ‘The UK Tomorrow’ regarding what companies across the transport sector are thinking and doing in relation to technology, legislative and procurement measures including the growing importance and availability of open source data and the rapidly changing face of technology. Presentations were given by Rick Robinson Director of Technology (Amey), Nic Cary Head of Data Policy (DfT) and Anna Marie Friel partner at Pinsent Masons.
Additionally, Ken attended two breakout workshop sessions which were particularly relevant to the development field. Firstly, presented by Wayne Duerden (DfT), Phil Jones and Andy Cameron (document authors) looking at the successes and any failures during ‘Ten years of Manual for Streets (MfS)’. Much of the discussion related to the reduced visibility standards advised in that document, as supplemented by the research set out in MfS 2, and also the use of ‘none standard’ materials to enhance the street scene. With further debate relating to how the adoption of the new approach varied amongst the local highway authorities. Secondly, a discussion over the ‘Planning of Sustainable Developments’ lead by Julia Gregory Director of Projects for Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Richard Higgins – Head of Surface Access Strategy for Gatwick Airport and John Sandford infrastructure Lead – Planning, Enabling and Development for the HCA.

The conference closed with a Keynote Summary by Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport. Welcomed the fact that transport professionals are looking beyond the physical building of assets as this is only part of the challenge. Finally highlighting the advances in securing better services and skills with business and industry forming a bond and helping to deliver key projects and infrastructure.

*Image reference: CIHT 



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