UK’s traffic technology experts say ITS industry needs bigger public profile

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According to a new study by ITS-UK, the majority of the country’s traffic technology experts think that the industry needs a bigger public profile and believe that more needs to be done to explain the benefits of intelligent transport systems (ITS) to the general public.

In a survey of ITS-UK members, 87% of those who answered said they thought raising awareness would help sell the case to decision makers to fund technology rather than infrastructure solutions, because, as one respondent put it, ‘the public will push the politicians’.

Others pointed out the value of understanding in regard to journey planning, and also in recruitment of future generations of the industry’s professionals. The ITS-UK research aimed to understand the public’s perception of the transportation industry from its membership, which comprises over 150 UK organizations, including government departments, local authorities, consultants, manufacturing, technology and service companies, and academic and research institutions.

The survey’s respondents were less united when it came to their views on the understanding of, and support for, ITS from national and local government, with 56% agreeing or strongly agreeing that ‘government is supporting transport technology’, while nearly 40% either disagreed or were undecided, and many thought that the main government focus was on future autonomous technologies and not solutions that are currently available.

When asked about the biggest change to ITS over the next 12 months, among the suggestions were: more Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions, including fare data in journey planning; the benefits of connected vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT); and a focus on the environmental benefits derived from transport technology.

“The industry has always been very committed to collaborating with each other and sharing best practice, but this survey suggests there is an expectation for us to provide information about ITS and their benefits to the wider public,” noted ITS-UK’s secretary general, Jennie Martin (right).

“We have started to deliver relevant messages to the traveling public about how ITS make a daily difference to their lives, but know that much more needs to be done, and we will work with our members to formulate our plan.”

As part of its promotional work, ITS-UK is preparing to distribute its 2018 Annual Review, which will be published in June and launched at the Traffex Seeing is Believing event. The ITS-UK Annual Review showcases the benefits of technology-based solutions in today’s world, celebrating UK expertise, current projects and innovation, while providing members with a solid promotional platform to highlight case studies and best practice.

The publication goes to key stakeholders currently active in the ITS industry and will be sent out to 2,500 key industry professionals, including ITS-UK member organizations and the wider transportation industry.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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