Our National President Paul Smith gave this closing address at our National Conference in Adelaide:
Our Institute started in 1966 to provide an organisation for a wider group of people who were increasingly becoming involved in traffic and transport planning and operations.
This is a spectacularly relevant concept in this era of rapid change and this conference continued that spirit of expanding inputs and more complete solutions.
Minister Knoll in his opening address noted that he wanted to hear from the experts. The expertise that we can provide must not be fixed long held opinions that reflect where the industry was 50, 40 or even 10 years ago. It must have the wisdom of history, but it must also embrace the new information and a broadening understanding of customers and the general community.
In this conference we have heard the developments that are part of our evolving profession.
Phil Jones and his Manual for Streets re-emphasised with us that movement and place are intrinsically linked and pleaded with us to understand and remember what outcome we are ultimately seeking, to be in your helicopter looking down on the space and place – how do people want to live, work and play.
Acts, guides, technical notes and manuals are all needed in design, however these must not diminish the ultimate outcome and eloquently expressed in his quote ‘We need as few numbers as possible to make engineers think’.
Incidentally, Phil set an AITPM presentation record with the longest before/after comparison graphic depicting the urban fabric of Oxford in 1325 against the modern era – some people just don’t like change.
Professor JD Hunt blew the minds of the non-modellers amongst us with his PECAS Spatial Economic Model. The detail in his spreadsheets rivalled those of the ATO, but gave us an insight into the sophistication of the parameters seeking to depict real life traffic and economic flows. As I listened, I imaged JD’s rumpus room full of framed spreadsheets of cities from around the world.
Professor Graham Currie came out swinging before the bell was struck, fresh off a couple of wins in the US and China. He backed himself to take on the whole AV industry on his own and on behalf of public transport industry. He challenged the AV hype, persuaded us with robust facts and some sensational graphics. He took umbrage at the introduction of new mobility terms and finished with a new one of his own – Transit Fusion
In the concurrent sessions, delegates were pained to decide which presentations to attend:
1. From exploring the intricacies of detailed cycling design at roundabouts to forecasting the removal of vehicle registration fees in exchange for broad based road user charging
2. From applications in Christchurch to Far North Queensland
3. From Indigenous-led design to Tauranga’s streetscapes
4. A huge area of how to use new sources of data
Going right back to our original concept we have seen an increasing input from a wider range of professions
There was a murmur of approval when we heard that one of our young award winners had studied philosophy as well as more numerical subjects
I also heard that one of the attendees here has a background in criminology – which makes her well suited to dealing with transport planners ……..in that she has used data to analyse trends
The program was diverse in every way.
There is a large amount of sophisticated research and thought represented at this conference, but I sense that there is a new wave of practical understanding that puts jargon aside and gets on with developing real solutions to real problems
As one delegate mentioned, it was impressive that Minister Knoll did not say that he had a background in “purveying high-quality consumable goods”, but rather his family business was in sausage making
But this conference has given us a good grounding in how we can contribute to the practical and political processes to achieve honourable outcomes
Everyone who should be acknowledged at this conference has been, except for one.
That person is Paul Froggatt, SA Branch President who led the Branch and Conference Committee admirably. He was the glue for all bits of the Conference and ensured our experience was seamless, professional and personalised.
If ever there was an indication of the magnitude of an event like this, I noted that the run sheet was 64 pages long and 7 columns wide!!
We are very grateful for your efforts Paul and wish you well integrating back into your work and family!
For those attending the Friday program, push on through the last day and enjoy
To all, may your travels home be safe and efficient!