Chair's Message - April 2024Ben Plowden headshot

We move into Spring against the background of news that UK farmers expect crop yields to be down by as much as 20% due to the record levels of rainfall in recent months. A further reminder – if a reminder is needed – that the impacts of the Climate Emergency are becoming increasingly evident and of the urgent need to decarbonise the transport sector, now the largest source of carbon emissions. 

Meanwhile, local elections loom on May 2nd, ahead of a General Election later this year. It will be interesting to see whether and how transport (and transport decarbonisation) features in the election debate. 


TPS Board Update.

I’d like to welcome to Darren Kirkman and Roger Evans as our new Board members following the recent AGM. Great to have them on board.  

I contacted all the applicants for Board membership following the AGM and put them in touch with the relevant Board leads, so they can get involved in the TPS Board either as a Board member or via one of the programme groups.    

I am delighted that Mark Frost and Lisa Martin have agreed to jointly take on the Policy Lead and would like to thank Tom van Vuren for his sterling service as Policy Director over the past few years.   

We would welcome involvement in any of the TPS’s programmes from TPS members.  It’s a great way to make a contribution to the Society’s work.  

The main programmes (and leads) are: 

  • Skills (Keith Buchan);
  • Policy (Mark Frost and Lisa Martin);
  • Events (Ruby Frost);
  • Membership (Isabelle Milford and Tim Cuthbert);
  • Communications (Georgia Corr);
  • Regions and Nations (James Gleave).  

Please email me at if you would like to get involved. 

TPS Business Strategy   

We have set up a Business Strategy Steering Group following the Board Strategy Away Day in October 2023. We are reviewing the TPS’ priorities and identifying how to develop the Society’s impact, by making better use of our existing resources (e.g. leveraging different programmes in support of each other) and exploring the potential for raising additional revenue from existing and new sources.  

JFG have developed a new pilot TPS Programme Planner, which will show a 12-month “plan on a page” on a rolling basis. This will allow the Board to understand the full extent of what is planned and how to take advantage of the synergies between different activities (e.g. Events, Comms and Membership). We will review the Planner at the Board meetings and see whether/how it is proving valuable.  


Events and engagement   

Event planning

There is a great programme of events being put in place for 2024. I have continued to meet Mark Frost and Ruby Stringer in an events planning group. This provides oversight of the emerging events programme for the year and keeps track of event organisation, speakers etc.   

Transport Practitioners Meeting  

Mark Frost and I will be representing the TPS at this year’s TPM in July.    


TPS is again sponsoring the Interchange Conference in 2025 after a very successful second conference in February.  This does not involve any financial sponsorship.  

Transport Planning Day 2024  

We have agreed the theme for TPD24, which is “The Road Less Travelled – the Principles, Policies, Practicalities of reducing car travel in the UK”. I am also delighted to confirm that Buro Happold have confirmed they will be Platinum Sponsors; discussions are underway with a potential Gold Sponsor; Tracsis are a Silver Sponsor; Mayer Brown are a SME sponsor and Charge Surveys will be the badge sponsor. We are now in the process of agreeing the programme for the day and approaching speakers and panellists and developing the programme of supporting events. 


Policy Developments   

TPS Policy Group

Mark Frost and Lisa Martin are reviewing the TPS Policy Group to see how it could be developed to allow the TPS to increase its policy visibility and influence.    

Transport and Land Use Planning guidance

TPS is continuing to work with the CIHT and the RTPI to finalise the survey to the three organisations’ memberships on the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on Travel Plans, Transport Assessments and Statements. The results of the survey will be used to inform the DfT of how useful transport planners find the guidance, whether it needs updating or changing to align with new developments, such as the forthcoming National Development Management Policies.  

Labour Party rail proposals

The TPS responded to the Labour Party’s proposals to modernise and improve the UK rail network, which were published on May 25th.   


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