Collaboration | 14 October 2021
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11 October 2021 | Collaboration
In the late 1990s there was little interest in the effects transport had on the environment, however one academic spotted the issues and decided to do something about it by recruiting a group of transport technology professionals to discuss how intelligent transport systems could reduce the problems. More than 20 years later, Professor Margaret Bell, as founder is stepping down from the Chair ITS (UK) Smart Environment Forum but will continue to support the events.
“It’s true to say that when Margaret first suggested a group to discuss reducing transport’s environmental impact, it wasn’t really on anyone else’s radar,” explains ITS (UK) Secretary General Jennie Martin. “Margaret led the way in highlighting the damage done by transport and researching ways to use technology to reduce emissions. I am proud that ITS (UK) supported her ideas and helped in the development of many important technological solutions.”
Over the years the Forum has discussed and developed ideas as diverse as green light optimisation, passenger information apps to improve the attractiveness of public transport options, clean air zone development and traffic management related to local air quality. Once seen as radical, many solutions are now mainstream.
Professor Bell’s farewell took place in a hybrid meeting at Newcastle University which discussed the role of detector data in managing cycling, identifying characteristics of users of shared e-mobility and estimating carbon impact of shared mobility services, as well as a reflection by Prof Bell of 21 years of the Smart Environment Forum. The hybrid meeting allowed people to join in person in Newcastle but also to choose to watch online, part of the ITS (UK) policy of avoiding designing in travel by default.
“I am very proud to see the growth of the Smart Environment Forum over the years and how environmental issues have become such a key part of transport policy,” said Professor Bell. “It is particularly important that this group has become a bridge between academics and industry for the benefit of all. With the challenges we face from Climate Change and global warming, the contribution that the ITS technologies can make to enable more sustainable ways of travelling cannot be underestimated, and the Forum will continue to promote these solutions under the new Chair, Keith McCabe and Vice Chair Paul Rose.”
(Picture L-R Margaret Bell, Forum Vice-Chair Paul Rose of Amey and Jennie Martin at University of Newcastle, courtesy ITS (UK))