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blog: 60 seconds with Royal HaskoningDHV

Author: Kirsty Whittaker

After joining forces with Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) earlier this year, we thought we'd take 60 seconds to find out a bit more about three of our UK Transport Planning colleagues and learn what makes them tick...

60 Second Blog Rhdhv

What are RHDHV's core values, and how do they influence the work you do?

Sarah: Our tagline of Enhancing Society Together is real! Having spent my formative childhood years living on the Dutch/German border I was already a bit biased towards any Dutch company, but I was delighted to learn, pretty much from day one, that this phrase is an authentic expressive of our approach. I have particularly enjoyed being able to make a direct contribution towards this, for example in developing our social value offer to public sector clients. 

Dean: Having previously integrated into RHDHV from a smaller company merger, I can honestly say the Dutch influence runs through company in terms of the values and ethics it puts towards staff. The Trust-owned element allows the company to work differently to comparable and larger consultancies - with staff, core values, innovation being able placed more to the fore. 

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What type of work does RHDHV’s UK team do, and how many of you are there? 

Sarah: We have a rich mix of skills. We work in development planning, transport economics, transport planning for NSIPs (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects) and provide niche specialist advice for cycling schemes. We have a thriving road safety team who carry out nearly 100 road safety audits a year, provide advice to support land option agreements and due diligence, and several of us provide expert witness for inquiries and hearings.   

Dean: In addition to the type of work Sarah has mentioned, we also cover transport, civil and drainage design from the concept/strategy stage through to detailed construction design. We have a team of 40 people, with a rough split of two thirds transport and one third design staff.

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Are there any high-profile projects we might have seen in the news, but not realised you were involved in?

Patrick: A couple that spring to mind are Hinkley Point C, where our transport team led the associated development works. In London, we recently provided transport and highways support for the £1.6bn flagship regeneration scheme of the Clapham Park estate, which will deliver 2,500+ new homes and is the largest 'detailed’ residential planning application that has been submitted in the UK. 

Dean: Over the years I have been involved in many high-profile schemes, including works to modernise and upgrade Dover Port, works at BAE in Barrow-in-Furness to facilitate the new submarine fleet's construction, and most recently securing reserved matters approval for the key infrastructure at Great Wilsey Park, a 2,500 home development in Haverhill, Suffolk. 

Sarah: You may know about the Fendon Road roundabout in Cambridge, which is a a Dutch-style roundabout enabling pedestrians and cyclists to have priority over motorists, and other schemes such as the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm.

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How do you foresee the transport industry changing over the next 10-20 years, and what impact could that have on your activities?

Sarah: As well as the obvious ways of politics, economy and technology, I think the business will be increasingly expected to work more transparently and to make meaningful contributions to the communities they work in. As we are part of the business ecosystem and supply chain for our clients, we may well end up doing more direct work with VCSEs (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) – hopefully collaboratively with our clients and other suppliers. This could be a genuinely exciting sea change for many of us as it will bring new opportunities to develop our skills just as our work with Brake, the road safety charity, is doing. 

Patrick: To me, one of the biggest changes relates to promoting active modes of travel in cities, with a focus on cycling and scooting. The air quality and carbon-reduction messages, to me, seem to be resonating with more people, which will enable local authorities to be bolder in promoting and prioritising these forms of travel in urban areas to encourage a shift in behaviour away from car use. We are fortunate to have worked on schemes for many years that place an emphasis on walking and cycling; and working alongside ITP's influencing behaviour team, we can support Local Authorities to positively influence how people choose to travel. Slightly further down the line, I see Autonomous Vehicles (AV) as a potential game changer. If people really adopt that model, which for many would remove the need to actually own a car, then I think we will see changes as to how our urban environments are designed. Many of our Dutch colleagues have already undertaken work to understand the impact of AV technology, so I can see opportunities for us to share and apply this knowledge in the UK in the near future!

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What work areas are you most excited about collaborating on with new colleagues at ITP?

Sarah: I’m lucky enough to have worked with several ITP colleagues on some projects over the past 12 months so I already know that I enjoy working with them - they are a fun and knowledgeable bunch. I was involved in managing spectator transport across multiple sites for the London 2012 games and I can’t deny that having an opportunity to work again on this type of project – which is more in ITP’s portfolio than in RHDHV’s – is quite a draw!

Patrick: I think there are excellent opportunities to collaborate in a wide range of areas. Not least is the opportunity to combine our engineering experience and skills, to implement ideas delivered by ITP’s research, strategy and planning work. I also think that both teams can really add value to each other in the fields of public transport and the environmental impact of transport schemes. 

Dean: Personally, I see massive opportunities in applying our engineering design capabilities to implement the transport strategies and development planning schemes that ITP currently work on, working together to take a scheme genuinely from conception to delivery. I really feel that with our combined skills, knowledge and experience, together we can deliver a more holistic transport planning service for our public and private sector clients.

For more information on how ITP and RHDHV's can help to plan, design and implement your transport project, please get in touch.

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