UWE transport experts point to a sustainable future

Issue date: 01 February 2006

Train Professor Glenn Lyons, Director of the Centre for Transport & Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol, is one of the science experts who has contributed to a report published for the government's science think tank, Foresight launched by the Department for Trade and Industry last week.

Professor Lyons has contributed to a major study entitled 'Intelligent Infrastructures Futures' that looks 50 years ahead to see how science and technology could deliver transport solutions in a safe and sustainable way. In this future world our choices would be supported by infrastructure and our decisions would be economically and environmentally sustainable.

Referring to his speech delivered at the launch of the report, Glenn Lyons comments, “Technology itself is not intelligent. What it does is to present us with the opportunities to change how our society functions. I believe it is possible for society to continue to pursue economic growth while at the same time ensuring our social and environmental wellbeing. This may be achieved through a combination of improved efficiency of travel, pricing to curb unnecessary travel and virtual mobility as an alternative or addition to physical travel.”

Professor Glenn Lyons is the founder and Director of the Centre for Transport & Society (CTS) at the University of the West of England, Bristol. CTS began in September 2002 and now has a team of some 20 transport planners and social scientists all with a common interest in the study of travel behaviour in its social context. Having originally studied civil engineering and conducted his early research in the areas of artificial neural networks, driver behaviour and urban traffic management, the prevailing theme of Glenn's research today is transport and society. His aim, and that of CTS, is to improve and promote understanding of the inherent links between lifestyles and personal travel in the context of continuing social and technological change.

From 2000-2003 Glenn was the Director of the Transport Visions Network which brought together some 250 young professionals from universities, public authorities and consultancies. He was the 2002/2003 Chairman of the Transport Planning Society, an organisation that promotes and supports the continuing professional development of transport planners. Concluding in 2005, Glenn chaired Bristol City Council's Best Value Review of Integrated Transport. In January 2006 he became Chairman Elect of the UK Universities Transport Study Group. He also has a longstanding expertise concerning traveller information services and the role of the Internet and is an external advisor to the Department for Transport's Transport Direct Programme and chairs its research steering group. He is currently leading major research studies into Internet use and social participation, travel time use, homeworking and wayfinding in urban areas.

Professor Phil Goodwin (Bristol UWE) also contributed to the Foresight study and was invited to present at the launch event. Phil Goodwin has a longstanding and illustrious track record in travel behaviour and transport policy research and guidance to government. He joined CTS in 2005 having previously been at UCL in London. In addition Professor Angela Hull (Bristol UWE) has played a part as a member of the study's Advisory Group.


Editors notes:

1. The full Foresight report, Intelligent Infrastructure Futures, can be found at www.foresight.gov.uk. Electronic and hard copies are available from the DTI newsroom (020 7215 5965/6403). Future scenario images are also available from the DTI.
2. The Foresight programme looks beyond normal planning timescales to identify potential opportunities from new science and technologies. It produces challenging visions of the future to ensure effective strategies now. It brings together scientists, technologists, businesses and consumers to discuss the future.
3. The Foresight project produced an independent review of what the future science might deliver in the area of transport infrastructure, highlighting the opportunities and threats.
4. Based on the work of more than 300 science experts and key stakeholders the project produced 18 separate reviews of the state of science covering areas such as environment, information technology, economics and sociology.
5. Future scenarios were developed, based on this information, which consider how scientific advances might be used in the next 50 years. A number of methods were used to allow policy makers to explore the impact of changes on current regulation and consider the effects of changing approaches in relation to these possible futures.

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