IET and ITS UK launch new transport technology guide for local authorities


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and ITS UK have released new guidance designed to help local authorities understand the opportunities and challenges they will face in the coming years as a result of rapidly accelerating advances in transport technology.

In 2014, the IET and ITS UK produced their first Local Authority Guide to Emerging Transport Technology, which was aimed at helping councils to navigate their way through the new intelligent transport technologies available. The Guide helped to share knowledge, and offered advice to local authorities trying to procure better technologies and services. However, with technology changing at speed, the IET and ITS UK decided it was time for some updates to the Guide, resulting in the second version that is bigger and more comprehensive. The updated guide is targeted at local government officers, elected members and their consultants, and explains how technology can aid delivery of a range of policy objectives, from reducing emissions to assisting smooth traffic flows.

The new Guide demonstrates how transport technology can be used to meet local authority objectives, and shares knowledge through case studies of the use of transport technologies in new and innovative ways. It also contains advice on procurement, specifying technology needs, making the most of what authorities already have, and doing more with less. The IET and ITS UK say that the Guide is not intended as a detailed study of current transport technology as there are many others able to do this, but what it does do is look at how the wider world of technology may influence the development of local transport. It includes case studies that highlight real-world examples of the use of new and innovative technology solutions in local transport. It also offers guidance on procurement, producing briefs and specifications, and security issues, while maintaining its focus on the challenges that face local government – cost efficiency, and ensuring best value in procurement and whole life costs.

“It is important that as new technologies emerge, local authorities are aware of the latest developments and are supported in obtaining the right information on whether such technology is the right option for them,” explained IET president Jeremy Watson. “By exploring new procurement models and encouraging local authorities to specify technology in a more informed way, the report aims to help local authorities do more for less.”

ITS UK president Steven Norris added his comments to the guide: “There is no doubt that emerging transport technologies have the potential to provide local transport authorities with important tools to deliver their policy objectives. But cuts to staffing budgets and competition for competent ITS specialists make it difficult for those authorities to be ‘intelligent clients’. Organizations such as ITS UK and the IET can and should help.”

UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones added, “This guidance document shines a light on the great things going on around the country. It will be a practical and valuable tool for all of us working hard to deliver better transport.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier 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).