Host, Steve Norris, surprised by lifetime achievement award at ITS (UK) Awards

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The President of the UK’s Intelligent Transport Society, ITS (UK), had a surprise during the 2020 awards ceremony, when he was named winner of the organisation’s highest accolade, the Rees Hills Award for outstanding personal contribution by a UK ITS professional.

Steve Norris was hosting the online event sponsored by Cubic, SRL, Jenoptik and Videalert, and expecting it to be coming to a close when former Chair Eric Sampson announced he had been given the accolade this year. Sampson, himself a former Rees Hills winner, explained how the former Transport Minister had pushed for greater use of technology when he was in government in the 1990s and how he is an active advocate for urban mobility, MaaS and Next City technology solutions.

“This is truly very, very unexpected,” said Norris. “I’m very touched. ITS goes on being as important now as it ever, ever was. I am very grateful indeed for the award. Normally you get this award when someone says “you can retire now” – my predecessor as President died in office and I have every intention of doing the same!”

“Steve has always been such a valuable supporter of ITS (UK),” added Secretary General Jennie Martin (left). “He is always generous with his time, and never accepts a penny from us for doing so. But this award isn’t for his work with the Society itself, but for a much wider commitment to the use of technology in transport, shown by his influence in bringing average speed camera technology, cellular floating vehicle data and public transport payment solutions to the mainstream.”

Steve Norris was one of five winners at the event.

The Eric Sampson Award for Early Careers Professional of the Year went to Steph Barton of WSP for her work on developing Highways England’s Digital Roads concept. In her nominatioin, Ian Patey, Project Director and immediate past Chair of ITS (UK), said, “Make a note of her name – as she continues to inspire, impress and make a difference”. The judges also gave a Highly Commended award to AECOM’s Lynsey Michelle Turner, who, due to a medical condition, left school at 14 with no qualifications but restarted education at 25 and is now an established modeller and looking to take a transport planning degree as an advanced apprentice.

The ITS (UK) Project of the Year was won by the Transport Technology Forum delivered by Arup with the DfT and White Willow Consulting. As part of the response to COVID-19, its Understanding Transport Patterns project helped analyse how the lockdown had impacted traffic across England, as well as being able to continue monitoring traffic movement when restrictions were relaxed or imposed. This judges felt the project demonstrated how the industry can come together to coordinate a collaborative front with Local Authorities and commercial data suppliers to collect, process and visualise over 16 million travel movements during the lockdown period and beyond.

The Inclusive Mobility Award went to Bryan Matthews of the University of Leeds for his work on transport access and social exclusion. The Innovative Use of Technology Award was won by Transport for Greater Manchester with Vivacity and Immense Solutions for its programme to use AI to optimise traffic networks and improve journey quality for all road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians.

Full list of winners

Rees Hills Award for outstanding personal contribution by a UK ITS professional:
Steve Norris

Eric Sampson Award for Early Careers Professional of the Year:
Winner: Steph Barton, WSP
Highly Commended: Lynsey Michelle Turner, AECOM

ITS Project of the Year:
Winner: Transport Technology Forum delivered by Arup with the DfT and White Willow Consulting for Understanding Travel Patterns during Covid-19
Runners Up: Atkins, BT and Transport for the North with the Transport for the North Major Road Monitoring Project and Highways England and i3P for the Connected Autonomous Plant Roadmap

Innovative Use of Technology:
Winner: Transport for Greater Manchester with Vivacity and Immense Simulations for the Smart Junctions initiative
Runners Up: Aimsun with Siemens Mobility, Oxford County Council and EarthSense for Network Emissions/Vehicle Flow Management Adjustment project and Transport for West Midlands for Connected and Automated Mobility Service

Inclusive Mobility Award:
Winner: Bryan Matthews from the University of Leeds
Runner Up: GRID Smarter Cities for the Adapt product

The entire event will be available to watch on the ITS (UK) website.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).