Where there's a customer, there's a solution


The potential for technology to truly transform the way we move in and around our towns and cities is absolutely huge and the customer is now truly at the heart of everything. The uptake and constant developments in smartphone apps and technologies are just part of the story.

In-car apps and software to make life easier for the driver are already the norm and as we look to improve air quality in our towns and cities, electric vehicles will become more and more commonplace.

The development of autonomous vehicles has also received significant encouragement from national governments. Indeed, many experts are now saying that within the next decade a car will be able to drive itself fully from door to door without a driver needing to touch the wheel. That’s not a distant pipe-dream – it’s very near to being a reality.


In all of this, the focus is squarely on customer experience and community benefits – less pollution, more sustainable, more convenient, easier, safer and faster.

Such progress is being driven by society and made possible by new generation and emerging technologies. And, significantly, the enthusiasm for smarter more connected urban environments that support and improve the quality of life has the support of politicians and public authorities right across the globe. So the clamour for transformation is coming from all directions.

Five factors

There are five factors that I believe will have the greatest influence (positive and negative) on this relentless pursuit for better community outcomes and better lives for individuals in our increasingly congested towns and cities.


There are over 30 million cars in Britain today spending, on average, 95% of their time parked. That takes up a lot of space - a very valuable commodity that we have to pay a premium to use in all urban environments.


The way we live, work, relax and interrelate with each other has changed beyond all recognition over the past few decades. As our access to information and ability to do things quicker and more efficiently than ever before, so the expectations and lifestyle demands of an increasingly experience-led and connected society continue to rise.


Today, we are awash with data and with every new piece of technology there comes more data. Today, the sheer quantity and depth of data – ‘intelligence’ if you like - is hard to comprehend. However, its value is unquestionable – not least when it is used for improving community outcomes.


Our towns and cities are big places and they continue to get bigger. As their structural waistlines expand, their agility and responsiveness diminish and their energy consumption and waste output increase exponentially. So the issues of sustainability, behavioural change and community wellbeing inevitably come to the fore.

And finally, but by no means least, there’s Legacy.

As well as the physical fabric of the built environment and the processes that keep a city’s heart beating, we shouldn’t overlook other legacy factors such as responsibilities, ethical values and the legislative landscape. Without the right conditions, positive change and progression will be stifled.

All of these factors will determine how and when new technologies will deliver the improved social outcomes and better, fairer and easier ways of living that people understandably expect.

Greater collaboration

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) provide a glimpse into the future. However, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is an emerging and exciting proposition that goes one step further by sharing data openly between service providers.

This enables a journey to be planned and paid for at the touch of a button and with amendments made to the journey in real time. This shows that we’re moving towards a much more holistic, collaborative and integrated approach to urban mobility - where data sharing is a prerequisite for improving the experience of individuals.

Of course, with so many disparate organisations and operations involved – from central Government and multi-national developers and investors, to local government and other public service providers as well as private contractors and product manufacturers – collaboration and true integration are not easy targets.

When it comes to making the most of emerging technologies, however, the real fly in the ointment is ‘legacy’. Just because technology promises to deliver better experiences for the consumer or improved social outcomes doesn’t automatically mean we will be able to deploy the technology to achieve such improvements.

If there are limitations or barriers that prevent the technology being used in the first place, then such improvements will remain as elusive as ever.

In every scenario, we’re not starting with a clean slate. The physical limitations posed by medieval streets and buildings in so many city centres are all too visible. But there’s also the scale and financial complexity of the existing transport infrastructure and public services to consider, not to mention the multitude of service providers that help to keep our towns and cities alive in an increasingly digital world.

But perhaps the biggest legacy barrier is not a physical or monetary one. It’s a recurring, stubborn and insurmountable paper one. Unless written legislation keeps up with the increasing pace of progress, consumer expectations and the demands for effective data security, even the most beneficial advances will never leave the virtual drawing board. A truly smart environment that harnesses the real value of data sharing, collaboration and connectivity will only be possible if legislation keeps pace with technological advances.

The fact that most authorities are using traffic management legislation that was developed well over a decade ago illustrates the scale of the current shortfall – that was a time before apps, before artificial intelligence and before many technologies we now take for granted.

It is just a matter of time. But, as a result of the ever-increasing expectations of consumers, the imagination of technologists and the determination of urban authorities to address so many pinch points within the transport infrastructure, ‘the will’ exists. And, as we all know, where there’s a will, there will always be a way!

Ashley Bijster is managing director of Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions

Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions is supporting Transport Network's new conference: Delivering Successful Local Communities. To find out more and to book please go to: https://communities.tn-events.co.uk/


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Part Time Community Rail Partnership Officer

Essex County Council
£24000 - £26275 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits Package
Please note that this position is being offer on a part time basis, covering 23 hours per week. Working Pattern TBC. England, Essex, Rochford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Development Management Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,313 to £34,788
To be successful you must... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Inspector

Hackney London Borough Council
£28,752 - £32,577
We are seeking an experienced Highways Inspector to join the Highways Team. Hackney, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits* x 2

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
We have an exciting opportunity for two organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officers  or a qualified graduate working towards their... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Ugobus Driver x 7 positions

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Please note that this is a 6 month fixed term contract on a part time basis. Working hours will be discussed at interview. The salary is up to £18,938 England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Highways Engineer

Rutland County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
Do you enjoy getting outdoors in the course of your work? Rutland
Recuriter: Rutland County Council

Senior Highways Manager

Rutland County Council
£47,544 to £51,138
This is the lead role for our Highways service with a remit to... Rutland
Recuriter: Rutland County Council

Road Safety Assistant (Cycling)

London Borough of Bexley
£13,947.32 - £14,713.97, per annum
You will be an enthusiastic individual who can effectively communicate with children and adults. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Key Route Network Manager

Liverpool City Region
£63,753 - £71,747
An exciting new opportunity has arisen within the Integrated Transport Directorate of the LCR Combined Authority Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Medium/Heavy Vehicle Mechanic - January 2020

North West Leicestershire District Council
You could earn up to £28,785 + 0.75 hours per week plain time overtime
Tasks will include preparation for DVSA annual examination, servicing, general and defect generated repairs, fault finding including diagnostic tests. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Senior Engineer (Co-ordinator) - 2 jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£22,462 - £29,636 + £2000 Market Rate Supplement
The role is in the Highway Network Management & Co-ordination (HNMC) Team, which is part of Operational Services. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Surface Water Engineer

Essex County Council
£30001.0 - £35350 per annum
At Essex County Council, we're passionate about helping deliver economic growth, the best starts in life and the chance to age well for people in the England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Highways Operations Manager

Swindon Borough Council
Salary up to £41,494 p.a.
In this key role, you will plan, organise, co-ordinate and control the workforce Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Director Neighbourhood & Enforcement

Telford & Wrekin Council
Cicra 89k
Telford and Wrekin is a great place to live, work, visit and do business. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Engineer (Highways Maintenance Design)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£22,462 - £29,636
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Senior Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Projects Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£33,153 - £35,755
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Senior Heating Engineer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
Up to £48,692 per annum
Looking for a Senior Heating Engineer who will work as part of one of the small professional teams. London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Lead Practitioner (Infrastructure)

Newark & Sherwood District Council
£33,799 to £35,934 per annum
Newark and Sherwood is looking to recruit to its newly created post of Lead Practitioner for Infrastructure. Newark, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Newark & Sherwood District Council

Senior Parking Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
As Senior Parking Manager, you will be responsible for the effective management of the Council’s Parking Services contract Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata. (£11.50 per hour)
A school crossing patrol officer is responsible for assisting children to cross the road safely on their way to and from school. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council