What should I research? Our organising committee give their thoughts

For anyone thinking of taking part in the Future Transport Visions Group (FTVG), finding the right topic to research could seem quite daunting. Here, our organising committee give their thoughts on what their ideal research topic might be.

Ed Downer, FTVG coordinator and principal transport planner at Mott MacDonald said;

“At this stage, I’d want to keep my research topic quite broad and see if it would gain traction with other people interested in similar aspects. I’ve always been drawn to public realm improvements so I’d be keen to explore how effective recent walking and cycling schemes have been since social distancing measures have been introduced”

Future mobility is an expanding area of academic research that the committee felt would be interesting to explore. Dan McCool, senior transport planner at Arup said;

“I would like to undertake further research into the future of public transport, how it will be impacted by emerging forms of mobility such as autonomous vehicles and micro-mobility, and how it should evolve to provide a better offer for passengers.”

Similarly, Laura Menendez Gonzalez, senior engineer at WSP commented;

“I live in a rural area and looking into mobility for people without a car in the countryside is something that really interests me. It can be looked at from so many points of view; including elderly people who take public transport, young people who are increasingly car-free and school children who may walk or cycle.”

Rahul Modhvadia, engineer at Jacobs believes that the future of transport lies in technology;

“I believe we are now living in a period where technology is moving at a fast pace and our chance as an industry to innovate and integrate these technologies is now. We are seeing car manufacturers make leaps and bounds with autonomous cars and I think as an industry we are playing “catch up”. We need to come together now to think and act on how these will impact the future use of our transport networks and innovate new solutions.”

The FTVG initiative is intended to bring together professionals from across the transport sector to collaborate on projects that will benefit the industry as a whole. Thinking about some of the civil engineering challenges this entails, Shakir Mahboob, senior engineer turns his attention to materials and construction methods used in public realm schemes;

“Most industry expenditure takes place during the construction phase and the pandemic is already having an impact on our infrastructure budgets. I would aim to produce a user-friendly document that allows industry professionals to gain insights into a variety of construction methods and materials that can help them make more efficient, cost effective and sustainable decisions during scheme delivery.”

In addressing some of these challenges, the committee hopes that FTVG can give young professionals the chance to engage with the wider industry. Laura said;

“I think young professionals are in a uniquely privileged position. They do not have the pre-conceptions that other people may have and they have the opportunity to reflect on future scenarios and look for ways to improve them”

Rahul also commented on the fresh approach young professionals can bring;

“Our industry has a tendency to stay away from the potential risk in trialling new innovative solutions. The future of transport is in the hands of young professionals; we have the power to disrupt this and bring new ideas to the plate.”

Dan hoped that by bringing young professionals into the debate, FTVG could make a real difference;

“Young professionals have never had a better opportunity to shape the fundamental change required to our transport system. Long-term thinking is required, and I hope that bringing young professionals from all areas of transport and related disciplines together in this forum can help us break down silos and think about innovative solutions.”

To take part in FTVG, simply complete an Expression of Interest form by October 25th 2020.


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