What role for transport planners in today’s data revolution?

By Wedderburn News No Comments

A changing world of data collection

The transport planning profession has always been data-heavy. We rely on local data collection, quantitative evidence, benchmarking and behavioural research.

First-hand experience of data collection is invaluable for future transport planners. It teaches us to always check and question the data we use and its meaning. However, the world of transport data collection is rapidly evolving and, with it, our skill sets must also evolve to understand these new data sources.

The five highest valued companies in the world today are software companies. And we constantly hear of the relative value of technology companies compared to traditional manufacturing and service businesses.

Without actually owning and operating any hotels, AirBnB and Booking.com are both valued higher than any international hotel chain. And without operating any transport services (and without even making a profit), Uber’s valuation is higher than many of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers.

The business model of the tech intermediary passes the risk of actually operating services and producing goods to third parties. But that business model is also a race, which relies on rapid expansion to gain maximum market share as quickly as possible.

The reward for winning the race to market share is unrivalled insight into the behaviour of consumers – i.e. data – that forms a major part of the value of these companies.

Read more…

How to become a transport planner: Hard hats, hi-vis and houmous

By Wedderburn News

There are many transport planners who end up in the profession and wonder how they got there. But there are also transport planners who chose the profession deliberately.

What inspired me to become a transport planner?

I am one of the latter. And before you ask, I wasn’t obsessed with train sets as a child. I was never taken train-spotting or to a heritage bus rally, and I didn’t even have any family or friends working in transport. But I think I know the reason. I was a child in Scotland in the 1980s. I witnessed the decline of reliable public transport options, and the relatively quiet streets I could cycle on rapidly disappearing under the weight of rapid car growth.

Read more in Transport Times…

And please continue to support TPS in preparing for Transport Planning Day 2018.

Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets

By Wedderburn News

Centre for London, the think tank for London, has published its report from the Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets, looking at how the capital could tackle the conflicting pressures on its transport system. Martin Wedderburn has assisted the Commission in authoring the report as a Research Associate.

The independent Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets was convened by Centre for London and chaired by Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of NHS England. Its aim was to develop new thinking on what London could do to manage the conflicting pressures on the capital’s surface transport system and public realm.

The Commission’s final report calls on the Mayor to make more efficient use of London’s finite road network, by focusing his efforts on creating a transport system centred on public transport, walking and cycling, and making the most of new technology. The report comes as the Mayor finalises his Transport Strategy.

The Commission recommended an ambitious and innovative package of policy reforms, to help achieve this vision, including:

  • Introducing a London Movement Code to better guide the interaction between different road users.
  • Introducing a cashback scrappage scheme as part of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, benefiting motorists who pay ULEZ charges frequently.
  • Replacing the Congestion Charge with a pan-London, pre-pay smart road user pricing scheme.
  • Reviewing the Congestion Charge to remove the exemption from private hire vehicles and reduce the resident discount.
  • Encouraging households to give up their parking permits through incentives such as Oyster or car club credits.

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