Design, engineering and project management consultancy Atkins hosted an Intelligent Mobility summit this week, which brought together the biggest industry names to discuss the future of transport design and delivery. Speakers discussed everything from decreasing emissions to the impact of autonomous vehicles on our quality of life, but one of the key points of the conference wasn’t so much what they talked about, but the theme of cross-sectoral, cross party collaboration which ran through it.
The variety of guests points towards a broader, and more open, approach to lobbying and public affairs. Government, academia, clients, providers and business leaders came together for a frank discussion of the opportunities and threats which will likely arise in the future and, far from being a closed doors session between industry and government, this was an open policy discussion.
It also wasn’t a single issue conference: the variety of guests meant everyone had their own take on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. Tough questions were posed to speakers, ranging from the government’s bureaucratic tender process to the environmental impact of encouraging a new transport boom in the form of autonomous cars.
Despite the disparate group of guests, there was broad agreement on one thing: there needs to be real collaboration between the transport, infrastructure, digital and housing sectors in the future if the UK is going to successfully counteract the challenges facing each one. There was a ready acceptance that there isn’t enough being done to get cross-industry representatives round the same table, and because of their interdependence, this means a risk of duplication between sectors if this isn’t done.