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blog: Birthday Q and A: 25 years of Decarbonising Transport

Author: Jasper Smith

Colin Brader officially started ITP 25 years ago today. In celebration of this occasion, we sat down with three members of staff at different stages of their ITP careers to discuss wider transport issues and what they love most about working at ITP. Read on to find out what Neil Taylor (Managing Director), Jamie Wheway (Technical Director), and Charlotte Rhodes (Senior Consultant) have to say in this birthday Q&A. To conclude, ITP founder Colin Brader provides his thoughts and reflections on this milestone for ITP.

Foreword From Neil Taylor (Managing Director)

Wow, 25 years! How did that happen? It seems only five minutes ago we were celebrating ITP’s 20th Birthday (in the company of Transaid and Princess Anne, no less!) before a global pandemic dramatically disrupted everyone’s lives. The pandemic accelerated many significant trends that were already underway; changing the way many of us think about our local communities, places of work, family, health, life itself and everything in between.

By and large, our team and our families were lucky to come through this turbulent period relatively unscathed. During the pandemic, in October 2020, ITP merged with Royal HaskoningDHV. We’ve since been working more closely with RHDHV colleagues in the UK and the Netherlands; broadening our capabilities and expertise on the topics of road safety, active travel, rail engineering, transport modelling, and highway/cycleway engineering design.

Whilst much around us all has changed, it is comforting to know that ITP’s team continues to remain busy and focused on Improving the Way The World Moves – helping our clients join-up land use and transport planning to help address the key challenges of our time.

What has been the biggest change in the world of transport planning since you started at ITP?

Neil: Smartphones, and IT more generally, have disrupted the reasons we travel, the journey planning process, the way/places/times we choose to work, information-sharing, retail, social interaction, learning and so much more. They are both a huge driver for change in people’s lifestyles, health and wellbeing, and also a rich source of insight into human behaviour.


    Jamie: In a way, not much has changed – we’re still trying to solve the conundrum of how to integrate transport and land use planning, manage and reduce travel demand, fund sustainable transport, etc.

    But, of course, at the same time a lot has changed in terms of electric vehicles and, in some cities, cycling infrastructure.

    In terms of decarbonising transport, what have you been most proud of from your time at ITP?

    Neil: Helping Derby and Nottingham City Council to bid for £161m of Transforming Cities Fund monies in 2019. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed delivery a little and altered the business case for some planned interventions – like Park & Ride, it is really rewarding to see the new, safe cycle route networks and public transport priority improvements being rolled-out across the urban area and used by people making everyday journeys. We estimated the expanded Electric Vehicle chargepoint network alone will save over 8,000 tonnes of CO2e over its lifetime!

    Jamie: Probably the fact that we’ve been decarbonising transport from Day One. Our very first project was the feasibility of a rapid transit system in Northampton and we have continually grown our expertise in this area, to the extent that we’re now renowned globally for our work in decarbonising transport through public transport.

      Charlotte: I am most proud that every project I have worked on, in some form, has aided decarbonisation ambitions. Whilst not every project has been ‘packaged’ with decarbonisation in the title, work to modernise the railway fleet in Moldova, supporting sustainable local travel during the 2022 Commonwealth Games and finding the most sustainable locations for development in Oxfordshire, have all ultimately contributed to decarbonising our transport network.

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      What are the key issues facing society and mobility in the 21st century?

      Neil: Climate change and its uneven impact on Earth’s resources and people, energy security, social inequity, personal safety across a range of contexts/travel modes, affordability - of everything, including mobility, competition for physical space in towns and cities.

      Charlotte: Besides the climate crisis that is already upon us, one of the greatest challenges is ensuring our transport network is equitable and accessible to all. There are multiple elements to this that all intersect, but in essence: unravelling car-led principles to develop a transport system that is sustainable and affordable for everyone. This needs to be considered against a backdrop of rural, suburban and urban environments, and advocate for those who wheel and walk.

        What do you think makes ITP special?

        Neil: We go out of our way to educate ourselves to understand the ‘issues of our times’ facing people and societies – both in the UK and in the many places we work around the world – and also ‘what works’, in transport and land-use planning terms, to help resolve them. Our team is strongly connected to the places we live and work, and derives great satisfaction from applying this knowledge to make those places better for people when moving around them in their daily lives. Finally, we make the time to involve our people in the direction our organisation takes; collectively setting our strategy and ensuring we all take responsibility for making sure our projects have as positive an impact as they can, whilst being fun to work on too!

        Jamie: Definitely the people. We’ve always placed a great emphasis on recruiting people who share our values and who fit into the team. I think we’re very good at supporting each other and also providing an environment in which people can flourish, develop, and balance the various aspects of their busy lives.

        Charlotte: It’s a cliché, but the people. Every member of the team is passionate about making a difference and fulfilling the ambition of ‘improving the way the world moves’. Challenges are overcome as a team, meaning that the office is a positive (and fun!) place to work. I think clients recognise and appreciate this in the relationships we build and outputs we produce.


          How do you think the next 25 years of transport will compare to the last 25 years? Both for ITP and the wider industry.

          Neil: I’m hoping there will be much greater appreciation of the need to quantify and account for the carbon emissions that transport infrastructure and services cost – both embodied within the tarmac and structures we build, and their use by people/vehicles – is a recent game-changer. If we at ITP, and everyone in the industry, do this honestly, and effectively, then it should precipitate the kinds of low-carbon transport infrastructure, land-use, and sustainable mobility service planning decisions that are needed to genuinely reduce the amount of carbon the transport sector emits when moving people and goods.

            Jamie: Crikey – there’s a question! The obvious answer is a continued response to the challenges of climate change, but I’m going to go for something slightly different. An ageing, and increasingly obese, population means that the NHS will come under even more pressure than it currently is, and there will be a realisation that prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc is a lot more cost-effective than treating these diseases. We are already seeing the early signs of this through social prescribing, but I think that we will see a significant increase in walking and cycling as society begins to recognise the health benefits and to understand that a healthier population will allow NHS/social care funding to be directed towards caring for the elderly. And ITP will be right at the heart of it!

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            Charlotte: As I am the same age as ITP(!), I spent most of the last 25 years in my formative years! As more young people enter the workforce, I expect the themes of decarbonisation and accessibility to continue to increase in prominence. I would like to see that the industry becomes more diverse, meaning the decisions we make are representative of the society we live in and journeys we make.

            Concluding Comment from Colin Brader (ITP Founder)

            "Twenty-five years ago in the UK, John Prescott launched the Integrated Transport White paper and we thought the country, at last, realised what professionals had been saying for a long time. ITP was born with high and lofty ambitions to change the way the world moves. From Cornwall to Cebu, from Lagos to Leicester we have made our mark. Always trying to think beyond the brief, conscious of the impacts of change and seeking out ways to enhance society for everyone. Now as part of Royal Haskoning DHV our mission is the same, it’s just that our capability and reach has grown still further. With such a great team I can only imagine that the next 25 years will be even better!"

            - Colin Brader (Founder, ITP)

            Colin Brader


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