Three new year resolutions for transport planners

Happy new year transport planners!

I hope you had a great break and managed to have some rest and quality time with family and friends over the holiday period.

As it’s the start of a new year, and a new decade for that matter, I wanted to share my thoughts on a few things to think about as you get back to work.

  • Focus on climate, climate, climate

It would have been hard to avoid talk of the climate emergency over the holidays, with the devastating fires in Australia, floods in Indonesia, and with Greta (Sharon?!) Thunberg being made Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019 for her climate campaigning.  And you are probably also aware that the transport sector is not doing very well at reducing emissions in the UK to date.

So we need to focus urgently on decarbonisation and reducing emissions in our transport planning work this year.  We need to be constantly challenging any projects or proposals that do not have this as a priority.  And we need to be helping the decision makers make the right choices.

The TPS has this as number one of our ‘six things the new government should do to improve transport planning’ (here) and we are planning to engage with the new government on this in early 2020.

  • Make time for your professional development

The world is changing rapidly and we transport planners cannot rely solely on the skills we learnt at university (many years ago for some of us…) or just doing things the same as we always have.  We need to ensure we are fully up to date with skills in areas such as decarbonisation (see above), data analytics, smart mobility, place-making, social equity, and so on.

And we have a range of ways to achieve this, whether at the beginning of your career undertaking an apprenticeship or the Professional Development Scheme or, if you have more experience, the Transport Planning Professional qualification which now has Chartered status!  You can check out our website here for more details on all of these.

  • Engage with people

Another great way to keep your skills up to date, find examples of successful projects, or just engage in stimulating debate with other professionals is to attend events held by your professionals institutions.  This is also a great way to meet people across the profession and in other sectors too.

At TPS we have been trying to broaden out our events so we involve people from sectors beyond just transport planning, so we can understand, learn from and challenge professionals from other sectors, such as government, consultancy, developers, architects, communities, and so on.  This was particularly evident at our Transport Planning Day events last year, and you’ll be pleased to hear we are planning to hold this campaign again in 2020.

So check out our events page here, and make sure you also look at other events held by our partner institutions, CIHT, RTPI, CILT and ICE, who we often work closely with to ensure you have a great range of activities on offer.

I hope that gives you some new year inspiration to get off to a great start with your work in 2020 – let’s make sure we focus on the key issues, let’s make sure we have all the skills we need to do this to the best of our ability, and let’s engage and collaborate more to make great things happen in transport in 2020!


Stephen Bennett photo

Stephen Bennett

Chair, Transport Planning Society


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