We are grateful to Newcastle City Council who took us up on our request to organise training for cycle infrastructure design. And wow – how John Dales (Urban Movement) and Brian Deegan (TfL) delivered!
The planner-engineer duo presented three full-day sessions to a mix of officials and campaigners. The take home messages presented in many ways radical and engaging insights into the professional practice of managing traffic and urban space. Laced with personal stories and “tricks of the trade”, this course can only be commended for both its practical approach as well as its visionary outlook. The slides can be accessed here:
Costs to whom?
Probably the most fundamental message was about the determination of project costs. The current assessment envelope is too narrow and only includes technical aspects (expressed in journey time, smooth traffic). This approach does not present vital costs to society, wellbeing/safety and public health. But fear not, there are ways to assess these costs, and engineers and planners should make use of them for a holistic project cost assessment.
“What kind of city do we want to live in?” was the recurring question of the experts to highlight inclusion of wider societal and environmental costs in the management of highway projects.
We hope that the knowledge gained will give engineers and planners the confidence to critically assess their practice – and talk to the politicians about the possibilities and consequences, gains and necessities for our city’s future transport decisions.
We would like to see the training content applied in Newcastle and would appreciate a wider debate about values and ethics.
The member of Newcycling’s Infrastructure Team are eagerly awaiting to receive their training certificates!