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Innovation in Transportation for a New Generation - A Young Professionals in Transport Event: Thursday 22 May 2008 at Easter Road Stadium, Hibernian Football Club, Edinburgh

The 2008 young professionals event was held at Hibernian football Ground and was attended by 130 delegates. The one day conference was addressed by a number of leading transport professionals and was also attended by HRH The Princess Royal.

The Conference was opened by Sarah Longair, the Operations Director of Stagecoach West Scotland and the Scottish Regional Chairman, John Fender, welcomed the delegates to the event.

The programme started with the presentation by Willie Gallacher entitled "Why the trams for Edinburgh?" Mr. Gallagher pointed out that end and other faced a number of pressures particularly that of growth and the economy in Edinburgh was seeing major investment in business with major developments at the Waterfront and the West End. By 2015, the capital will need An additional 23,800 new houses and there will be approximately 30,000 new jobs by this time. In terms of future demand, car usage is estimated to increase by about 37% by 2031 but public transport usage is estimated to increase by 61% over the same period.

Trams are reliable, run on the wall and lines and are quieter than other modes of transport. Trams have a capacity of up to 20,000 passengers per hour, twice as many as buses and and will offer improved connections and investment. For £1 spent, it is estimated that there will be £1.77 in transport benefits. There will be a reduction in congestion along the major corridors and the scheme will act as a catalyst for regeneration. Building the system will create 1000 jobs and there will be 930 permanent new jobs once the system is fully operational. Transport in Edinburgh is currently bus based and Lothian buses has a 70 per cent share of total bus ridership. Edinburgh there has the highest bus ridership figures outside London.

Phase 1a of the tram route runs from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven via Ingleston, Edinburgh Park, Haymarket, St. Andrew Square, Leith Walk and Ocean Terminal. Phase 1b will run from a point west of Haymarket to Granton via Craigleith and Crewe Toll. Phase 2 will link phase 1a and phase 1b between Granton and Newhaven. Finally, phase 3 will extend the line to Newbridge via Ratho and Ingleston. The total length of the system is 24 km.

Work on the main infrastructure commenced in February 2008 and includes delivery of the trackform, structures, roads and pavements and control systems. This contract was awarded to BBS, a joint venture between Bilfinger Berger, the second largest construction company in Germany and Siemens Group, a global leader in electrical systems. During construction, around 1,000 jobs will be created and there will be 930 new, permanent jobs created. Commissioning and testing of the first phase should commence in December 2009 and driver training is planned for July 2010. The system should open to the public in February 2011.

Brian Souter, the Chief Executive of the Stagecoach Group, spoke on "Innovation in Transportation - multi modal options for Scotland". He said that Scotland has good networks and reasonable frequencies but the key is to achieve modal shift, and to achieve this will require a partnership between the public and private sectors.

The car driver has to see public transport as an serious alternative and there needs to be a greater emphasis on the provisions of park and ride facilities. These should not only be applicable to the "cathedral cities". It is important to de stigmatise bus use and the introduction of the various concessions schemes has helped in this. With regard to planning, transport companies need to get involved at an early stage. Politicians decide to locate the facilities in remote parts of towns and then complain that there is no transport available. There needs to be better land use.

The private sector has been successful in innovating and ideas such as the "Kickstart" scheme have now been adopted by the government. Other initiatives such as the direct sales, telemarketing, greater use of the Internet for example the Megabus website, and park and ride schemes such as that at Ferrytoll have all helped improve public transport usage. Stagecoach is continuing to innovate with its biofuel scheme in Kilmarnock and has achieved a significant response with this.

Stagecoach has introduced new high quality rolling stock in the west of Scotland and has seen significant passenger growth as a result. There have also been increases in passenger demand for rail services and according to research carried out to determine customers views, there is strong evidence that modal shift is taking place.

Keith Gowanlock of WSP spoke on Designing Streets and highlighted the fact that in Scotland somewhere in the region of 25,000 new houses are being built each year. Housing density varies from high in city areas to low in suburban areas and noted that there has been an increase in car ownership with a decline in walking and cycling over the years. However, with climate change, concerns over carbon emissions and high fuel prices, as well as concerns over health and lifestyles, thoughts are turning to looking at how road layouts are stifling innovation. Poor road layout leads to loss of local identities and for example, the cul-de-sac is not public transport friendly, whereas the opposite is true of a grid pattern.

In other countries, road design has blurred the boundaries between motorists, pedestrians and cyclists and this is seen to have beneficial effects. However, the design of roads needs a holistic approach involving planners, transport engineers, urban designers, developers and transport operators. New guidance from local authorities on street design is also beneficial. PAN 76 aims to encourage a more flexible approach in the design of new residential streets and Mr. Gowanlock illustrated a few examples of hat has been achieved so far.

HRH The Princess Royal addressed the delegates on how transport was very important to the work of charities such as Transaid and Save the Children as transport is essential to get the aid to where it is needed most. She also pointed out that the transport industry needs to attract more young people into it and the Young Professionals are very important for the future. Continuing Professional Development and education is a lifelong process and we must all embrace training for life. The Princess Royal concluded by expressing her thanks for the Institutes support for Transaid, one of the charities.

Richard Brown, CBE, spoke on how Eurostar is meeting the challenges of developing sustainable transport. Eurostar has been operating since 1996 and operates 17 daily services to Paris and 10 to Brussels. It also provides direct services to Disneyland Paris and Avignon. Currently, Eurostar is seeing load factors of around 73%, a better figure than many airlines.

Services moved to the new St. Pancras International facility in November 2007 and this means that the UK is now part of the European High Speed rail network and over the past year the company has seen a 21% increase in passengers and ticket revenue increasing by 25%. With the emergence of the sustainable travel agenda, Eurostar has looked at its product and sought ways to improve sustainability. Many businesses now require business travel to be carbon neutral and require accurate data on carbon dioxide emissions for corporate travel. Research has shown that travelling by Eurostar generates 10% less carbon dioxide emissions than flying between London and Paris or Brussels.

Eurostar became, in November 2007, the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral by offsetting and has invested in carbon offset projects. By taking responsibility for it's emissions, the company has cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per traveller journey. It has installed energy meters on it's trains and fitted new controls for train lighting and heating. It is actively working with suppliers to source greener electricity and making better use of train capacity. It is designing energy efficiency into the mid life re-engineering of it's rolling stock and is improving it's recycling of on-board train waste. The company is also replacing air conditioning refrigerants with more environmentally friendly ones seven years before the EU deadline and is sourcing on train food from local suppliers, including organic produce.

Eurostar is now part of the Railteam Network, a grouping of seven European high speed rail operators and this provides services across Europe with a network of over 5,000 Km of high speed rail today. By 2020, this network will increase to 20,000 Km. In the UK, we need to look seriously at high speed lines, especially now that the UK is part of the European High Speed Rail network. Mr. Brown pointed out that modal shift is taking place now, mainly due to environmental factors and he said that we are at the dawn of a real change in attitudes.

There was a BBC Question Time type panel of experts chaired by Jim Steer. The panel was asked various questions posed by delegates on a wide range of subjects and some very interesting views were forthcoming. This was followed by a workshop on the Urban Dynamic Model which gave delegates the opportunity to tackle some of the problems facing urban transport and see how their solutions would work.

The final speaker was Captain Pattinson of the RLC who spoke on the logistics of moving military personnel during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the distances involved and the nature of the terrain, unique challenges were faced. In addition, politics play a part as some countries will not allow aircraft rights to overfly them and this requires longer routing that would otherwise be the case. For example, personnel going to Iraq fly to Qatar by civilian aircraft and then fly to Kuwait and Basra for final deployment. In Afghanistan, all flights arrive at Kabul, and personnel are then transferred to various places within the country on a "hub and spoke" system, using smaller aircraft.

A mixed fleet of aircraft are used, ranging from Tristars, C17's and the C130 that is the RAF's workhorse with 49 in service. Helicopters also play a vital part in moving personnel around, but in hot climates, their efficiency declines, reducing the load that can be carried. Captain Pattinson answered a number of questions at the end of his presentation.

The day concluded with a prize draw in aid of the chairty Transaid.

the Scottish Region would like to thank the Young Professionals orgianising committee for arranging the event and to the various sponsors who supported it.

Report by John Fender.


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