Norris praises technology’s role in improving freight efficiency

The President of ITS (UK), Steve Norris, says technology has enabled a host of improvements to the freight and logistics industry, making the sector more efficient, cleaner and safer.

The former Transport Minister (pictured) is stepping down as Chair of the intelligent transport society’s Freight Forum after 15 years and made a passionate address at his final Forum meeting.

He talked about his time as a minister in John Major’s government in the 1990s saying that freight, “Was acknowledged, but frankly, never really talked about in the way that it clearly should have been.”  He remembered the 2003 London Transport plan giving freight movement “about a quarter of a page in a 150 page document”.

“20 years ago, you know, freight was [seen as] dirty, noisy, large and dangerous, but also absolutely essential to the way we run all our lives. We can’t live without a good freight operation… but it was a bit of a policy vacuum.”

He praised the fact that ITS (UK)’s first specific interest group was concentrating on freight and making sure that the technological advancements were promoted.  Over the years the Forum has given a first glimpse of technology that is now commonplace in the industry.  These include vehicle geofencing, HGV simulators, emissions reduction solutions, last mile technology and proximity detectors to keep cyclists, among other road users, safer.

This latest Forum meeting heard the latest on some of these solutions including tools to support decision making to decarbonise UK freight, micromobility, rapid rail logistics and how we can efficiently and successfully electrify the HGV fleet.

“As well as being an enthusiastic President of the Society, Steve has always been a leader when it comes to our freight interests,” commented ITS (UK) Secretary General Jennie Martin.  “I believe that his work, and that of all our Freight Forum members, has really advanced improvements in the sector and made everyone’s lives better through less congested and polluted roads all the way through to the modern miracle of fast, reliable doorstep deliveries.  Steve can be justly proud of the contribution he has made.”

Geoff Clarke of AECOM will take over the Chair’s role in the Forum.  Mr Norris will continue in his honorary role as ITS (UK) President, something he says he will do until he dies.

(Picture – ITS (UK))


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