The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) held its 2019 South West Regional conference at Reed Hall, University of Exeter. The topic for the annual CPD event; ‘Driving a Sustainable and Smart Future’ was sponsored by Jacobs.
Steve Keen (Chair CIHT SW) said: “I have really enjoyed being chair of CIHT(SW) and the annual conference was the ultimate highlight of my year in this role. The team worked extremely hard to make it the success that it was, and I am very grateful to the eminent speakers, each an expert in their own field, for taking the time to be part of the day’s full packed and informative programme.”
The keynote address was given by CIHT President Matthew Lugg OBE who grew up in the West Country. Head of Profession, local Government at WSP in the UK, he has over 35 years’ experience working in county councils. He said: “As a charity we are extremely fortunate to have dedicated members who volunteer their time to deliver an amazing programme of events, up and down the country to all our 14,000 members and regional conferences help continue their ongoing professional development.”
Over 60 delegates and exhibitors interacted with leading industry experts from across the region. The emphasis of the presentation by Rob McDonald, director of Smart Infrastructure, Peter Brett Associates, was on curving pollution to combat the alarming rate of climate change. He shared an encouraging statistic on the UK cutting emissions by 42% since 1990 – faster than any other G7 nation. Speaker Giles Perkins, Head of Future Mobility at WSP UK highlighted economic fundamentals needed to make a far-reaching and progressive change to the way transport is used.
A compelling presentation given by Laurence Oakes-Ash, CEO of Exeter-based technology company CityScience, focused on ‘Roads for the Future’. His theme centred around dedicated driverless spaces, exploring the feasibility, typologies and possibilities of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV’s), through the use of data analytics.
The audience were fascinated to hear from George Lunt, Technical Director of Aecom, that the first driverless vehicle was proposed 80 years ago with Futurama, an automated guided car exhibit and ride by Norman Bel Geddes sponsored by the General Motors Corporation at New York’s World Fair in 1939.
Post-lunch Zsolt Schiller spoke on the important role of active travel in the future. An enthusiastic freelance transport planning professional currently working on projects for both Exeter City Council (ECC) and Devon County Council (DCC), Zsolt was the lead on Exeter’s Cycling Demonstration project.
Kate Carpenter from Jacobs, a chartered civil engineer with 30 years’ experience in road and bridge design is a fellow of CIHT and the Society of Road Safety Auditors. She shared the fact that over 90% of vehicles in the UK are not owned by the drivers and shared a unique disposition on autonomous vehicles by introducing ‘real-world’ human factor challenges.
In the evening 160 guests from the construction industry attended a black-tie awards dinner with four award categories: