Transport Planning Society charts course to inclusive transport   

The transport planning profession has identified key actions on the path to a more inclusive transport and places in the UK. 

At Transport Planning Day, industry experts called for in-depth, early engagement with a greater diversity of users to help co-design transport networks and address the disparities. 

Transport Planning Day is the flagship event run by the Transport Planning Society (TPS) to highlight the role of transport planning in improving everyday life. 

The fourth annual event brought together the public sector and industry leaders to celebrate achievements of transport planners in equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Emma Ward, Director General for Roads, Places and Environment at the Department for Transport, said: 

“An inclusive and accessible transport system is crucial to participation in everyday life. 

“It’s not just about physical infrastructure, it’s about every aspect of the transport system, from who’s in the room when decisions are being made, to how individuals experience their end-to-end journey."

Emma continued: 

“More data and evidence will be key for identifying opportunities to remove existing barriers.” 

Commenting on this year’s event, Mark Frost, Chair of the Transport Planning Society said: 

“The campaign this year has been a great success. It has been fantastic to see how colleagues across the profession have embraced this year’s theme of equality, diversity and inclusion within their own organisations.

“Never a day goes by when transport does not impact someone’s day and yet, far too often transport is designed without considering all users’ needs.

“There is a real opportunity here to break down these barriers and create a far more inclusive transport network; a system that works for everyone.” 

Speakers at the event discussed the importance of embedding inclusive culture within the industry as it not only helps in the design of transport systems but helps retain staff across the profession.    

Rachel Billington, Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at AECOM said:  

“You can’t recruit your way out of the situation. We need to build an inclusive culture to retain our diverse workforce."  

Nina Quarshie from Arup championed the role of flexible working in creating inclusive cultures, saying: 

“Employee productivity has been greatly improved as well as work life balance.” 

Victoria Heald, Transport Planner at WSP and TPS bursarian winner presented her work on Unconscious Bias within the profession, but felt more measures needed to be taken to tackle the issue: 

“We need to reconsider the delivery of unconscious bias training to ensure the information provided is not too generalised and effectively influences transport planners to reduce their biases.”  

Speakers also considered how our transport systems fail to account for intersectional needs and are focused on a certain type of user.   

Sherin Francis, Principal Transport Planner at Jacobs, when referring to how travel habits change throughout a lifetime said:  

“More often than not, the transport network caters to men’s needs rather than women. 

“This gender gap can be seen in children as young as 8 years old.”  

Katie Pearce, Senior Transport Planner at Jacobs, continued:  

“As transport planners, it is vital we consider demographically disaggregated data at every stage of the work we do and weave inclusion to all our projects.”  

Transport Planning Day was held as an online event on 15th November 2021.  

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