PTRC’s Principles of Traffic and Transport 20-week evening lecture series began in 2004 with the simple but unique aim to provide a platform for experienced transport professionals to share their knowledge with newer industry recruits and those wanting to broaden their understanding of the transport planning sector.
Tackling 20 topics in as many weeks, the lecture series employs a time and cost-efficient method for those attending to engage with a wide spectrum of transport subjects through presentations and lively discussion. Delivered by knowledgeable practitioners currently working in their specialist areas, the very nature of the course frames each transport topic in a tangible and relevant context, allowing delegates to discard the age-old question of: When am I going to use this?
Having gained popularity in the 12 years since the series first ran in London, the Principles of Traffic and Transport has been delivered in 11 locations in the UK and abroad, reaching over 1,500 delegates; yet despite the course’s longevity, the programme is by no means stagnant. Refreshed on a yearly basis to allow for the inclusion of emerging issues and topics, the evening lecture series provides not only a well-rounded view of the transport profession today, but also an understanding of where it is heading in the years to come.
Moreover, the lecture series provides a foundation for further study and qualifications within the transport planning profession. PTRC now collaborates with the Transport Planning Society (TPS) to ensure that the lectures are aligned with specific units in the TPS Professional Development Scheme, which in turn feeds into preparation of the Transport Planning Professional qualification. This streamlined approach makes it easier for trainees and their mentors to better identify when knowledge or awareness of a subject is achieved through a specific lecture.The course also provides a route for delegates to earn formal recognition of their knowledge of transport planning fundamentals through the CILT(UK) Certificate in Traffic and Transport. In addition to offering opportunities for more formal career progression, the Principles of Traffic and Transport presents an opportunity for forging valuable networks with lecturers, as well as peers.
As the economy recovers, demand for the evening lecture series continues to grow. Of the 2015-2016 series running in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and two London locations, all but one sold out. Overseas interest in the unique training offered through the lecture series is also increasing. In 2015, PTRC ran a week-long version of the Principles of Traffic and Transport for a Nigeria-based consultancy in Dubai, and it is currently exploring opportunities to launch the course in East Asia.
Certainly there is a lot to celebrate about the long-running lecture series, not least the committed speakers and engaged delegates whom PTRC credits in large part for the course’s success. Below, two lecturers and two delegates share their thoughts on the Principles of Traffic and Transport and describe how they have benefited from the lecture series.
Violet Botelho, Transport for London (Delegate) ‘I took the PTRC 20-week evening lecture series to gain a better understanding of transport planning and traffic management infrastructure. When I was new to my role, I had very little understanding of traffic management and the course has helped to broaden my knowledge and confidence on the subject matter. The lecture series has also made me more aware of the different aspects of transport, the political agenda, and the regulatory acts that play a role in the wider transport industry.’
Rachel Evans, Atkins (Lecturer) ‘I have had the privilege of delivering varied and exciting sustainable transport projects for nearly 14 years in transport consultancy. Nothing motivates me more than having the opportunity to share my knowledge and project experiences (good and bad!). What better a forum to do so than in this lecture group of 25 or so enthusiastic transport planners at a stage in their career where knowledge and best practice is essential in shaping approaches and the generation of ideas? Sustainable transport has an instrumental role in long-term mainstream transport planning and this group of like minded transport planning professionals is critical to the future profession. I also learn from those who attend the lecture series. They shared their project experiences with me and asked brilliant questions that made me challenge my own thinking.
‘For those thinking about presenting on the lecture series: don’t hesitate. You will find it a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Even my lecture preparation work was a great impetus to refresh my knowledge on the latest policy and guidance – I would otherwise struggle to find the headroom to do this in my hectic schedule. The 90-minute lecture session flew, by which is a sure sign that it was enjoyable, interactive and engaging.
Will Hodgson, MottMacDonald (Delegate) ‘I enrolled in the lecture series because many of the lectures looked relevant to what I was doing at work on a day-to-day basis, including writing transport assessments, undertaking junction capacity assessments, understanding policy and applying knowledge of public transport. Now coming to the end of the 20-week lecture series, I have found the lectures extremely helpful in enhancing my knowledge in these areas.
‘Not only has the course helped me in my everyday work, but it has also given me deeper insight into other parts of the industry. Understanding aspects of transport that I am not directly involved in has helped me work alongside colleagues from other teams and has contributed to my professional development. I would thoroughly recommend the course to anyone in the early stages of their transport career, particularly those who want to further their knowledge in areas of the industry they might not be involved in on a day-to day basis.
Lee While, JMP (Lecturer) ‘My current work covers feasibility studies, operational reviews, economic and financial analysis, and as a wider activity I do quite a bit of spatial planning work for Highways England, looking at planning applications and planning policy issues.
‘As Vice-Chair of CILT’s Bus and Coach Forum, I have been working with our Chair Austin Birks to grow interest in bus and coach matters within the Institute. Presenting at PTRC’s evening lecture series was a natural avenue to ensure that we are visible to new professionals. It is interesting to see a new wave of professionals starting their careers. After limited training activities during the recession, I feel the upswing in attendance at the evening lecture series gives an overall view that the transport industry is taking the future seriously'.
FURTHER INFORMATION: The next Principles of Traffic and Transport 20-week evening lecture series will run in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Bristol and Glasgow from autumn 2016. To register your interest, email: email@example.com
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of CILT's Focus magazine.