The UK’s Intelligent Transport Society has recognised creative thinking amongst its early careers professionals, honouring an apprentice and a student member who have won the 2020 ITS (UK) Essay Competition.
The competition wanted candidates to imagine the speech they would give at their retirement ceremony. They were asked what impact and influence on the industry they would like to envisage, and the legacy they would like to leave behind.
At an event hosted by ITS (UK) President Steve Norris, Lynsey Michelle Turner of AECOM was awarded the prize in the Apprentice category while Ethan Boys from Newcastle University won amongst the students.
Lynsey’s essay imagined her retiring from a future where, due to more home working, there was a nationwide restructure of the existing transport network. “Being a transport planner during these trying times put me in the fortunate position of being able to be a part of several major projects,” she wrote, “The most memorable being the reclaiming of the several disused roads and highways for the benefit of natural habitats and the return of the once again popular walking school bus with a modern twist towards a greener country.”
Ethan not only suggested his career would involve dynamic wireless charging of electric vehicles, but also introducing electric monorail systems connecting cities to outlying commuter areas “which reduced vehicle usage, traffic congestion, travel times, environmental impact, and air pollution, whilst being quick and cost effective to construct in the new city of Futuretown in 2040”. Ethan wrote about travelling the world introducing and implementing this solution.
“All the essays were great,” said Steve Norris. “The topic was quite challenging. But what was interesting was how the subjects written about followed similar themes; climate change, autonomous vehicles, electric roads. There was a lot of concentration on safer roads, not just technology, and it was very interesting that a lot of entrants referred to the idea that cycling and walking would be a bigger part of our community life”
However, Mr Norris added some more advice to the contestants: “You write about a retirement speech, but my advice is – don’t retire. If you do, retire when you’re in your late 80s. You might as well enjoy the thrill of getting involved in what’s happening now, and not telling old stories of what happened long ago.”
“I am quite surprised to have won as writing is without a doubt my Achilles heel,” said Lynsey. “The current situation we find ourselves in due to the Covid pandemic, requiring us to stay as close to home as possible and question what is an essential trip, and a sarcastic comment from my Uncle, being one for the environment, together laid the foundations for my essay.” This is not the first time Lynsey has been honoured by the Society. She was highly commended in the Eric Sampson Award for Early Careers Professional at last autumn’s ITS (UK) Awards.
“I very much appreciate winning this ITS award,” said Ethan. “I am due to start an industrial placement with the AECOM Newcastle Highways team this year and was inspired to enter by their director, Becky Jackson. My intention was to be creative with my essay entry, putting myself in the shoes of someone who could look back on their career with pride and fulfilment from what they have achieved. I wanted to recognise the learning journey, fast-moving technology, and sustainable development initiatives that we are likely to see in the future. The win gives me confidence that I can develop myself into a respected highways engineer that can bring some of these future-proof solutions to light.”
ITS (UK) recognised the runners up – in the Apprentice category they were Lydia Jennings (Mott McDonald) and Michael Richardson (Tees Valley Combined Authority) while Kathy Wilson-Ellis (WSP), Danial Naqvi (UCL) and Jordan Marsh (University of Warwick) were nominated among student entries.
Read Lynsey’s essay here.
Read Ethan’s essay here.
The whole event will be live to watch on ITS (UK)’s YouTube channel shortly.
(Picture – Lynsey, left and Ethan – courtesy of ITS (UK))