It's an uncertain future – How do you plan for it?
As Local Authorities and their partners look to the future of transport, what was a hard problem has got even harder. Looking out one, two or three decades, e.g. for Local Transport Plans, transport policy needs to respond to immense practical, environmental and health challenges.
But it is even more challenging than that…
Despite the uncertainties, the stakes are high and transport authorities must prepare as best they can. We enabled one to understand the range of possible outcomes, how desirable they are and the early indicators. Now they can prepare for the challenges and use available levers to shape the future for the benefit of people.
How did we succeed on such a complex web of difficult problems? (and on a tight budget?) It required careful preparation drawing on our experience in strategic foresight and in the public sector managing stakeholders.
1. We produced an engaging local view of future transport that connected stakeholders into the discussion.
This was so successful that the authority used a version in their public consultation materials.
2. We designed a Transport Futures Framework (see below)
This enabled a structured approach to the wide range of Issues without getting ‘lost’, even with a broad stakeholder group. For each issue we developed a rich set of content for use in workshops or solo exploration, with references for the keen.
“This process helped us to develop our vision of the future of transport, enabling us to prioritise the key issues to address in our LTP.”
– Local Authority Strategy Manager
Transport Futures Framework
3.We co-ordinated a development process that ran across a series of workshops to engage key officers and stakeholders in the issues, giving them time to explore and understand each area of the framework.
The process was designed around three key principles:
A better output comes from a wide range of views – in this case a steering group with 15 stakeholders including transport operators, technologists, academics, campaigners, and council officers.
People need sufficient time to engage with the topic, and with each other – a series of workshops, plus other materials gave the time, continuity and feedback for understanding to develop between participants, enabling a shared vision.
People work best in different ways – some work best in groups, others alone, our process got valuable inputs from everyone without being dominated by the loudest or by ‘groupthink’.
The outputs were reviewed by the Cabinet Member and senior officer and are now guiding development of the LA’s next Local Transport Plan, which is more forward-looking than the previous one. They included:
An agreed desired vision of the future – in text and draft graphic form.
A strong shared understanding of how to achieve it and the challenges on the way.
Ten priority issues for the Local Transport Plan. For six this identified direction and general solutions. For four it identified desired outcomes and key challenges. To simplify part of one: shared electric cars have many benefits over private cars, but need policy incentives and a different charging infrastructure
Transport is an important topic that affects many other areas and all of our lives.
To find out more about this process, to run your own or partner with Red Kite, please get in touch.
“Red Kite really enabled us to focus on what elements of change in the future should be prioritised above others to allow us to draw conclusions on what was more and less likely to happen. This really focused our attention on what we could plan for and what we couldn't over the next 5, 10 and 15 years.” – MD, Public Transport Operator
“What Red Kite has done very successfully is crystalise a complex area enabling project partners to properly debate the issues and reach a shared view.” – Local Authority Manager