Transport Knowledge Hub has kicked off our March 2018 events programme with a lively discussion in the Midlands. We brought together local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local transport decision-makers to discuss the opportunities for the Midlands in a time of fast-paced change.
A major focus of the discussion was how new technologies are beginning to influence how people move around the Midlands. We heard a case study of the new West Midlands Mobility as a Service (MaaS) which is transforming how passengers are engaging with transport operators. This disruptive technology has the potential to make a huge difference in Birmingham city centre, and we discussed how the concept of MaaS could extend to rural areas too.
National Express told us that new technologies are giving a lot of choice to passengers. Smart ticketing and contactless payment have been massive leaps forward and cut down journey times. Adding tech to buses also makes journeys safer. Updating steering and driving systems improves driving while CCTV improves safety and protects drivers.
Another theme from our event was the importance of the Midlands working together as one region to make change for passengers. Organisations like Transport for West Midlands with political leadership from the directly-elected mayor are taking on major projects such as seeking £8 billion of transport investment over the next 30 years and developing a growth strategy to get the very best opportunities from HS2 making sure the West Midlands enables wider labour markets and provides access to skills training which will also help to support regeneration.
By contrast, it was felt that too often the East Midlands gets left behind and organisations like Midlands Connect have a very important job to do to bring the Midlands region together. The Transport Knowledge Hub can help too, by providing a forum for sharing experiences and providing inspiration so others can learn from best practice elsewhere. If we work collaboratively, we can all help the Midlands can go forward together.
About the Author
This post was written by Claire Haigh. Founder & CEO of Greener Vision & Executive Director of the Transport Knowledge Hub. Claire was previously CEO of Greener Transport Solutions (2021-2022) and CEO of Greener Journeys (2009-2020).