All posts by Paul Hutton

ITS (UK) appoints Carbon Ambassador

In the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, and the requirement for transport to dramatically reduce its emissions, ITS (UK) has appointed environment expert Keith McCabe to be its first Carbon Ambassador.

The Intelligent Transport Systems Industry Body is keen to underline how technology is already being used to improve air quality through a range of solutions that make travelling more efficient, from improved traffic management through navigation and modelling to enforcement of clean air zones and reduction in electricity use thanks to solar road studs or renewably-powered roadside units.

Keith McCabe is CEO of both Simplifai Systems and KAM Futures and is a leader in new thinking around distributed energy systems involving virtual power stations, smart grids and electric vehicles.

“It is an honour to be chosen to take on this important role,” said Keith McCabe. “My plan is to first reflect on what has already been achieved technically such as help with resilience and carbon reduction, work with other ITS (UK) Forums to create a carbon-focus across the groups, champion ITS solutions that will help deliver the Department for Transport’s decarbonisation plan and look to work with local authorities focusing on resilience.”

This appointment follows a commitment from ITS (UK) Chair, Ryan Hood for the organisation to double-down on its commitment to decarbonisation, calling on the industry to ensure the full value of transport technology is unlocked to support the environmental effort as we approach the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November. The Society is also hosting an Early Careers prize essay competition sponsored by Simplifai Systems looking for ideas around the innovative application of ITS solutions to achieve decarbonisation goals.

“ITS (UK) has always been a pioneer of using technology for improving the environment,” added Secretary General Jennie Martin. “We launched our Smart Environment Forum over 20 years ago, pretty much before anyone else gave a thought to the pollution caused by our transport systems, and our industry has delivered so many innovative solutions in the last two decades. The appointment of Keith to both publicise the importance of the issue to our members, and simultaneously the brilliance of our members’ solutions to the wider climate industry is a logical next step.”

(Picture courtesy of Keith McCabe)

Gaist signs up to ITS (UK)’s Executive tier of membership

The international roadscape and highways technology company Gaist has signalled its commitment to the UK’s transport technology industry by joining the Intelligent Transport Systems trade association ITS (UK).

As an Executive Member, Gaist will sit on the ITS (UK) Council and help steer the overall strategy and profile building of the ITS industry working alongside leading government departments, consultants, contractors and suppliers.

Gaist uses digital processes to provide deep insights into roads and the roadscape and has the biggest ever data bank of highly detailed images of highway network to provide customers with intelligence and analysis.  This includes high level asset information, mapping and location identification, surface materials analysis, deterioration modelling and HD site location imagery.

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ITS (UK), Estonia and Finland meet to build relationships

The UK’s trade body for Intelligent Transport Systems, ITS (UK) is opening doors for its members to work with companies from Finland and Estonia.

The organisation took part in a three-way online trade delegation meeting which involved it meeting with transport technology-related companies from the two countries to begin the process of introducing them to potential British partners.

Some 40 companies took part in the event which also included ministerial addresses from the three countries’ governments and a debate.

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ITS (UK) hails a year of online content provision

The country’s trade body for the Intelligent Transport Systems industry is marking a year of providing online Forum meetings by promising to continue to stream content once the country gets back to face-to-face meetings.

The Young Professionals Forum meeting, the first of its kind to be streamed by ITS (UK) on Zoom, was uploaded to YouTube on 27 April 2020.  A handful of Coronavirus-themed pre-recorded discussion programmes had already been provided to members.

“One of the key services of ITS (UK) is its Forum meetings where we share best practice, lead discussions and network,” explained the society’s Secretary General Jennie Martin.  “When travel was prohibited last year, we quickly changed how we served our members by switching to streamed meetings. Although we haven’t been able to replace the networking aspect of meetings, we have seen some real advantages of having more online participants and being able to record and edit the content so it’s available for posterity.”

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ITS (UK) launches new education campaign around transport technology

The UK’s Intelligent Transport Systems trade association, ITS (UK) is drawing up a series of case studies, fact sheets and blog posts explaining the benefits of using technology to deliver safer, greener and more efficient mobility.

The campaign follows a series of criticisms of some aspects of technology use, often around smart motorways, which it is feared are beginning to undermine the whole value proposition for ITS, which is the use of computers, communications, positioning and automation technologies to improve the safety, management and efficiency of transport.

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PACTS asks ITS (UK) for approvals feedback

The UK’s enforcement technology industry is being urged to give feedback on aspects of legislation and approvals that it feels could be improved.

At a meeting of the ITS (UK) Enforcement Forum, David Davies, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety suggested that there may be shortcomings in the Home Office Type Approval process.  “While it ensures high standards and evidence that will stand up in court, we are increasingly concerned that the system is just not delivering,” he said.  “Opportunities to exploit new technologies which do deliver significant safety benefits are being missed and even existing systems are at risk. We are not the experts on this – we need information from people who are directly involved, about what’s going on, problems arising or solutions – so please let us know.”

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ITS (UK) launches membership drive

The UK’s Intelligent Transport Society is beginning a campaign to boost the number of organisations involved, as it looks to attract “new mobility” companies to complement the vast existing membership across all forms of ITS.

ITS (UK) is the world’s oldest national ITS Association, boasting 150 members from across Government, consultancies, transport technology manufacturing and academia.

New providers delivering emerging solutions as diverse as electric vehicle innovations, smart parking, driver assistance systems and micromobility are also welcome, with ITS (UK) keen for them to become part of the membership.

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ITS (UK) urges prompt payment for SMEs

The UK’s Intelligent Transport Society, ITS (UK), is issuing a call for all major companies to honour the payment terms with their SME suppliers.

The plea follows comments from a number of ITS (UK)’s smaller members who have described how they have had to wait more than four times the agreed 30 days to receive payments totalling many thousands of pounds.  This delay in payment is putting a huge amount of strain on cashflow, which ITS (UK) says at best blocks innovative SMEs from participating in projects with long supply chains and at worst puts businesses at risk of bankruptcy.

The Highways England Fair Payment Charter commits to the organisation paying invoices within 30 days or receipt, and HE expects its contractors to do the same.  However, it has emerged some contractors are adding in a number of extra steps which delay payment, including an “Application for Payment” which can take several weeks to process before a “Payment Certificate” is issued.  Only then can an SME send an invoice and after that it may face the contractor’s payment terms of up to 60 days.

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ITS (UK) honours Student and Apprentice Essay Award winners

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.

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