16 June 2023 | Collaboration | Our Work

View from the top: Thinking allowed

For the second time in a couple of weeks, I am back on my way to the Houses of Parliament. The thing that I enjoy about my two and a half hour train journeys to London (especially in Summer), is that it’s an opportunity to do a bit of thinking, writing, work and an opportunity watch the countryside go by.

I feel more than ever that we exist in a world where instant results are expected, instant comments are wanted, instant decisions are made, and instant thinking is a pressured state of mind. I like to have space to think, I like to have space to explore what new innovations are emerging in our sector, and I like to have conversations with councils that go beyond the superficial.

This is why I am excited for the LCRIG Innovation Festival coming up. It will be an opportunity to do all of the above. It saddened me, when speaking to some councils at Traffex last week, that they are finding it increasingly hard to have the space to think or explore what’s new. The pressure to fix the here and now (pun intended) means if we are not careful a small echo chamber of innovation emerges.

Finally, a milestone memory occurred for me this week. On the 12th June 2015, after having only been in the sector for a month or so, I attended a meeting of councils held at Manchester City Hall. The meeting had presentations from councils and DfT had been invited. It was almost a landmark meeting because DfT actually came! The meeting was called LCHIG, recognise the similarity in name? Yes, it was what would eventually become LCRIG.

We now have well over a 100 council members, nearly 150 associate members, 27 partner members and we deliver the hugely successful Transport Technology Forum for DfT and Innovate UK. Not much has changed from our ambitions of sharing, collaborating and being passionate about supporting the sector, so a great memory and there is much to be proud about what we’re achieving!