The keynote speaker at the end of the ITS European Congress in Glasgow has reminded delegates that they must always remember the users when they discuss Intelligent Transport Systems.
Steve Gooding, who’s Director of the RAC Foundation, used his address to also say that when we consider cities, we should note that many are not high-rise futuristic metropolises but, like London, a centre with a large amount of low-rise suburban sprawl around it, which brings different challenges to transport.
Afterwards he expanded on some of these themes in a conversation with Smart Highways editor Paul Hutton, which you can listen to below.
“I’ve been working in transport and transport policy since the middle of the 1980s and like many of the people here I find it fascinating, but when I get home in the evening and as a customer of the system we’re not that bothered… we just want to get where we need to go in safety and on time.”
He also discusses the idea of car ownership, saying that although the idea of shared ownership in Mobility as a Service is a good one, many people still want to own cars. “I’ll give you an analogy,” he said, “it’s many years since the digital watch came along and showed us that we could have very accurate timekeeping on our wrist for low numbers of pounds. Around the corner from my office you can buy a Rolex for ten thousand. It’s not just about the convenience, it’s not just about the accuracy, there’s something in transport that’s about something more enjoyable otherwise we wouldn’t have so many steam railway enthusiasts. I’m not saying we’re all going to continue to own cars, a lot of people aren’t but we still need to keep in mind that some of the things we choose to do aren’t just about the efficiency of transport.”
You can listen to the whole of the interview here, which features a very nice mention of the very service from Glasgow you’re reading!