Looking ahead to CIHT FUTURES

July 3 2015  

Looking ahead to CIHT FUTURES
CIHT is about to launch a project exploring the implications of different future scenarios for transport policy and practice. It will engage members around the UK, drawing on the diversity of their geographical, professional and personal characteristics.
Traditional assumptions about population, prosperity and traffic growth have been challenged in recent years. Growth in traffic mileage has been falling for many years, and turned negative in urban areas even before the economic downturn of 2008/09. Despite continuing strong population growth, 2014’s total mileage was almost unchanged on ten years previously. 
Experts are uncertain the extent to which recent trends reflect fundamental underlying changes. There has been a post-recession rebound in distance driven but different attitudes to motoring amongst the young, an urban renaissance (where travel distances are less and alternatives to the car are more viable), the doubling of rail travel, and the effect of the internet on work and shopping all suggest that the future may not align with late 20th century assumptions.
February 2015’s CIHT Council meeting debated work by Professor Glenn Lyons (University of the West of England) on the future of transport. Council agreed a project involving more members in the debate and the use of scenario techniques developed by Glenn in New Zealand. These help explore the critical variables shaping transport decisions, and offer different possible futures on which to reflect. They are less about forecasting actual outcomes than helping participants prepare for whatever futures emerge. Scenarios also promote thinking about the extent to which we can shape the future through our own actions.
CIHT will be engaging members through a dozen workshops in each of the UK’s nations and regions from September onwards. We aim to engage a broad spectrum of members across age, sectors and roles. We are keen to hear from members who are interested in being involved in the workshops. Space is limited but if you would like to be considered – or for any questions or comments about the project - please contact us at futures@ciht.org.uk. 
The CIHT FUTURES project is supported by JMP Consultants Ltd.

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