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Edinburgh Napier University presentation to CILT on current transportation themes: Tuesday 30 September 2014

Left to right: Jonathan Cowie, Richard Llewellin, Keith Dickinson, Tariq Muneer and Jason Moniosd

Left to right: Jonathan Cowie, Richard Llewellin, Keith Dickinson, Tariq Muneer and Jason Monios

© John Yellowlees, 2014

Richard Llewellyn: Edinburgh Napier offers a BSc in transport management, an MSc in transport planning and engineering, a BSc in civil engineering, a BEng/MEng in civil engineering and a BEng/MEng in civil and transportation engineering. A BSc in transport management can come as a two-year top-up focusing on modes and logistics. An MSc in transport planning and engineering is unique in offering full-time, part-time or distance-learning delivery options. Napier aims to get its students involved with the transport and logistics industries, and for the future is looking to an MSc in maritime transport and to developments in international delivery by teaching on-campus, distance-learning and overseas local delivery.

Keith Dickinson: The Transport Research Institute is Scotland's longest-established such facility offering a multi-disciplinary cross-university community that aims to be internationally recognised by academics, public policy-makers, the transport industry and investors for the relevance, rigour and quality of its output in areas that contribute to a growing economy, sustainability and health. Its 25 academics and research staff are focused on applying their academic skills to finding solutions to real problems. Work on sustainable transport and mobility management promotes cycling and walking as healthy options. Maritime transport and logistics includes port effciency, shipping costs and the economic viability of ferries. Travel behaviour studies seek to persuade drivers to use cars less often or choose more carbon-efficient vehicles, focussing on the behaviour of pedestrians and on safety. Transport modelling has looked at the impacts of road-user charging and at why people choose particular routes and modes of transport.

Jason Monios: maritime studies embrace transport planning and geography in the development of freight facilities, ports and inland terminals, with most projects having several parties spread across more than one country with separate work-streams analysing flows, policy and planning targets and case-studies. Dryport considered the role of intermodal terminals, GreenCor that of logistics hubs while EnRich promotes networking between European and Chinese universities. Contract research for SESTran has looked at short-distance container movements, retailers' use of intermodal transport, mapping food freight flows, empty container repositioning, the bulk shipping market and last autumn's whisky-train trial.

Jonathan Cowie: bus research has considered performance, profit and consumer sovereignty in the deregulated English market, looking at whether operators want prosper more than those that don't. It might be expected that businesses would aim to produce high-quality services for a fair return. Cluster analysis has revealed however a range of outcomes from dominant operator through efficient profiteer and mature market operator to those offering consumer choice or low fares. Only a minority seems to be delivering happy consumers with market-focused operations.

Tariq Muneer: promotion of electric vehicles starts from the premise that people like cars, so the challenge must be how to decarbonise them. 18% of UK energy consumption is by transport, yet only 4% of electricity generation powers transport. 25% of emissions in Scotland come from transport, over two-thirds of this from road vehicles, and the Scottish Government therefore seeks largely to decarbonise transport by 2050 with an emphasis on use of renewable energy. Solar is now competitive with coal, and since its inception on 6 April 2005 Napier's own photovoltaic facility has generated 65.66MWh, enough to sustain typical journeys by a dozen cars each day, with the cost per watt falling in that time from £7 to 80p. Solar energy is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and economic, and the UK Government aims to cover 10% of domestic demand from renewables by 2020, but there is an institutional bias in British policy-making against decision-taking on the basis of rational engineering solutions.

The Scottish Region thanks Edinburgh Napier for an evening that proved to be multi-disciplinary, multi-modal and multi-national. Clearly no-one could accuse Napier of the old academic preoccupation with trying to prove that things which worked in practice applied also in theory, for we were treated to accounts of activities that were well-grounded in reality. On the basis of these presentations the transport and logistics sectors can look forward to continue being happy consumers of Napier's research for many years to come.

Report and photograph by John Yellowlees.

 

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