If transport is to get funding, it needs to tell the right story – opinion

One of the architects of a major new reference document to guide local authorities in using technology to deliver service, has explained how it is vital authorities can clearly explain why such investment is so important.

Darren Capes from the Department for Transport has written a blog post promoting the Manual for Smart Streets which is officially launched by the Connected Places Catapult and Transport Technology Forum next Monday (21 March).

“If transport is going to get any kind of funding – if it’s going to get any kind of recognition at a local level and any kind of support from local councillors, those responsible for its delivery have to be able to tell the story of why technology is important to make cities and counties and regions better, and so we have to equip those people to be able to do that,” he writes.

In the blog post he explains that we do not have a level playing field, “Different Local Authorities have very different approaches to delivering traffic management. Some have a large amount of roadside technology, fully-staffed control rooms and a large amount of expertise. Most may only dream of this,” but that, “There are very good reasons for this. Different authorities have different political priorities and pressures that often focus more around high pressure areas like education, adult social care and children’s services than they do transport.”

He writes about the value of using technology to better manage traffic and gives a personal view, “Before moving to the Department for Transport four years ago, I had spent my entire career working in road construction, traffic and transport for Local Authorities, and I like to think this experiences gives me a slightly unique position in having sat on both sides of the fence. I understand that for many authorities, in fact for most authorities, transport isn’t top of the agenda in terms of what the public and elected members want but is in many ways the ‘oil’ that allows everything else to function effectively.”

Read the full blog post here. Sign up to the launch here.

(Picture – Connected Places Catapult)

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