By Graeme Low
I have worked in the Transportation team for over four years now and have always had a bit of an issue regarding to our title. Whilst our industry remains stuck in the 1960s, being focused on vehicle trips, we as Transport Planners have always been striving to promote the use of sustainable modes of travel at the expense of the private car.
I can hear you all groan at this point as you will expect me to launch into yet another tirade about why we shouldn’t use our cars to travel and instead travel everywhere on foot, by bicycle or by public transport. Well, let me go back to the issue with our name. What, if anything, does Transportation mean to you? To me it focuses the mind too much on modes of transport and whilst this obviously applies to walking and cycling, I suspect that the term leads the mind too readily to powered forms of transport; i.e. cars, buses, trains and even planes.
If you think about what we are really interested in, it is journeys or even merely movement. And when you start to apply this rationale, we should surely be titled ‘Movement’ to stop anyone immediately thinking of powered transport? Still, the ‘Transportation’ title is better than ‘Traffic’ which is the reason that our cost centres all end in ‘TC’. This still remains a sore point with a number of our team!
The term movement or journey enables us to look at the wider picture, rather than focusing on one mode of transport. In doing this we can consider the most appropriate mode (or combination of modes) for the journey purpose or indeed, removing the need for the journey altogether wherever possible. So perhaps changing the name to ‘Movement’ or ‘Journey’ is not appropriate if we are also advocating the removal of unnecessary journeys and we may have to remain the Transportation team for another few years!
Do you have any suggestions? Let us know by commenting below.