The new president of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) used his inaugural speech to call for bold thinking in the sector and a break from the processes of the past.
Martin Tugwell set out his stall as a campaigner for change in the address, arguing that 'traditional approaches to planning and delivery are increasingly too slow when it comes to meeting user expectations'.
His presidential theme is Shaping Tomorrow Today, which builds on the CIHT's work in recent years to move away from outdated thinking. Mr Tugwell is well placed to capitalise on these efforts during his time at the top.
The work includes the 2016 CIHT FUTURES report, which aimed to challenge 'dogma' in the profession.
Mr Tugwell called for a shake-up of the focus and strategy behind much transport and infrastructure decision making, pushing for 'vision-led scenario planning' instead.
He said: 'Too often our fixation on evidence based decision making means we’re looking in the rear view mirror rather than looking forward to unlock unrealised possibilities of where we want to be.'
To bolster this vision he also pledged a shake-up of the CIHT itself to give young professionals more of a voice.
'The recent launch of the Chartered Transport Planning Professional qualification further strengthens our offer to young professionals. The changes that we will implement later this year as part of the CIHT Governance Review will further strengthen their voice in shaping the future of our profession, he added.'
Mr Tugwell outlined his three key issues as:
- making the case for investment in infrastructure and services
- championing the need for a more diverse and inclusive profession
- harnessing the power of vision-led scenario planning to accelerate delivery
On diversity, CIHT has also made some ground with its Diversity Toolkit, to help employers be more aware of the issue and avoid biases.
Mr Tugwell said: 'In recent weeks I’ve met a number of our corporate partners – one is looking at whether the way we sign/lay out roadworks makes it hard for those with invisible conditions (such as dementia) to navigate. Another has trialled more flexible working patterns that respect periods of religious significance such as Ramadan. These are examples of what a modern approach to equality, diversity and inclusivity looks like.'
He signed off with words from JFK, still one of America's most potent icons of positive aspiration: ‘We need people who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not?’
Mr Tugwell joined what was then the Institution of Highways and Transportation 30 years ago.
He has been involved in the South West and South East regions, served on the institution's Council and, as a trustee, chaired the Learned Society and Technical Strategy Board and the Regional Panel.