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Lee is the global product director for Atkins for intelligent mobility and has over 20 years’ experience in technology and transportation in the public and private sector, providing advisory, design and operational services in both the urban and inter-urban sectors. With a background in Intelligent Transport Systems, Lee has specific expertise in the innovative use of technology to enable services and solutions.

He has worked with clients and partners from around the world and recent projects include Venturer – a driverless cars research project in Bristol, Surface ITS - helping to develop the operating model for London's roads and Better Journeys - a campaign to deliver a more free-flowing Network on and around the M25, one that embraces the customer, Highways England and future innovations.

He is also focusing on product development, developing a set of new projects focused on customer experience, Mobility as a Service and data modelling, working in collaboration with clients and partners.

Find out more about where I work and any related career opportunities.

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Reflecting on the past few months, it’s prompted me to think about Smart Cities, a phrase that’s not new, has promised so much and in my view, delivered so little. But, with a surge of new technology, digital disruption, entry of new market players and budget challenges for the public sector – could this be the catalyst for change?

With this in mind, coupled with new themes and trends emerging globally across the industry, I wanted to take a moment and make five Intelligent Mobility predictions for 2017…

Data Exploitation and Visualisation: This year we will see the emergence of new platforms, at pace. Data is arguably the life blood of a modern transport systems and critically important to unlocking value from new transport schemes, mobility solutions and customer tailored services. It will be through inter-operability, we see a drive towards ‘Platform as a Service’ across the sector which is here to critically disrupt the way we currently model, plan and deliver transport services globally in cities and urban areas.

Journey Management: We will witness the breakdown of silos across the transport system, with the deployment of critical technology solutions that cut across organisational and operational barriers. The surge of new payment systems will start to deliver seamless and positive customer journey experiences through account based ticketing systems. This will mean no more management of multiple Apps or cards – one account for the individual or family, think Sky-Go package.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: A huge amount of R&D is currently underway globally, it’s hard to keep up with the activity, announcements, new projects and demonstrations – which of course is great news for the sector and ultimately the consumer, but we have some way to go before cars are completely driverless. However, I’m confident this year we will see the first full scale deployment of a connected vehicle with the surrounding infrastructure, that links directly to the management of the network and supports the maintenance of the road asset.

Mobility as a Service: It’s the ultimate consumer proposition, enabling the movement from transport to mobility. However, the business model is yet to be proven on scale. There are some fantastic schemes I’m watching emerge and develop at the moment and will continue to build throughout 2017, mainly in Europe and in the Middle East. But, it will be in the UK this year I believe we will see a full scale operation of a Mobility as a Service scheme, citywide.

Cyber Security and resilience: Globally, the sector has a lot of work to do across Intelligent Mobility. Areas of development to keep an eye on will be the emergence of Blockchain, along with automotive manufacturers taking further steps to protect their vehicles and the associated data.

Irrespective of whether these predictions come true, we are in for a fast paced and disruptive 2017, with the world of Intelligent Mobility set to be totally unpredictable!

What do you think? Do you agree? Or have you got a different prediction for Intelligent Mobility? It would be great to find out what you think is a trend for 2017.

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Group,

However, why is it taking place now?  What are the drivers that make this such a thriving opportunity that it's attracting significant investment and increasing in popularity year on year? Just looking at the growth of number of vehicles available globally for car sharing, in 2010 it was almost 32,000 and in 2014 this jumped to over 92,000.  Taking a look how some European neighbours compare:

Car sharing in Europe

I live in the UK, and though we are very technology aware and innovation friendly, I am not sure why we are lagging behind in this area.  Perhaps it’s a cultural thing! I guess we struggle to talk to people on the underground so jumping in a car with a complete stranger may be a bit of a challenge for us?

In an excellent article last year by Lauren Hepler she sets out why we are only just at the beginning of this car sharing journey, alongside some of the key movers and shakers and the type of business models that are emerging.  It certainly shows the private sector is investing in developing propositions to meet user demand with the range of business models that Lauren outlines.

One of the key issues for many is the cost of car ownership and the research supports this. For example, Zipcar research found that 53% of millennials consider car ownership out of their reach. In fact, more than half said they would drive less if other transportation options were available, such as public transportation, car sharing, and ride sharing and 35 percent said they are actively looking for alternatives to car. 

This is clearly a threat to car makers and they are making moves not to be left behind, BMW with its DriveNow proposition and the investment by General Motors in Lyft, or Moovel, as part of Mercedes-Benz, to mention just a few.

So, car sharing feels a fast moving and very exciting sector of Intelligent Mobility but I am left wondering about the narrow focus on the availability of these services, focused on cities, millennials and those who are privileged enough to own premium cars.  I can see they are an important part of the modal mix so how can we make them available for all sectors of society?  

I think there needs to be a business model developed that optimises the vehicle (after all, the average car spends 96.5% of its life parked) that provides a range of services throughout the day and reduces pressure on budgets for the public sector.

I call this proposition Total Transport; community focused transport that cuts across public sector budget silos yet is delivered by the private sector. This optimises the use of their assets and therefore means they can provide services at a reduced cost compared to the public sector. Car sharing solutions could provide the opportunity for this to be realised, and form part of the overall proposition for Mobility as a Service. 

So, my prediction for 2016 for car sharing is that there will be at least one brave private sector operator that develops a solution that not only provides mobility services to millennials but also work in partnership with a city to provide social services such as home to school transport, journeys to day centres, demand responsive transport, etc.

What do you think?

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UK & Europe,

The investment Uber received in such a short period is stunning - as shown in the graphics below, so they must be doing something right, as I’m sure investors will have carried out their due diligence.

Uber timeline

Uber value

I’m certainly an Uber convert too! In fact, on my first visit to Dubai they provided an indispensable service on a couple of occasions. Despite that, I had cause to complain, yet within minutes of my email I had received a response and a full refund, so I can't fault their customer service.

Their rapid globalisation (over 375 cities at the time of writing this) and service diversification such as UberPool, personal and business profiles with expense reporting, UberRush and UberEats – all demonstrate aspects of growth and innovation that most emerging Intelligent Mobility organisations would be envious of.

Yet, despite the apparent business success, they tend to receive negative press coverage… although some of this may be of their own making (i.e. kid’s toys to pacify drunk passengers). There have been some serious allegations regarding passenger safety and city authorities around the world continue to question and challenge the Uber model.

There have been arguments over drivers (or are they contractors?) and their remuneration, including examples where unions have backed legal action against the company. Traditional taxi drivers have caused gridlock in protests over Uber, with demonstrations in London and Paris in 2015 and 2016. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole lot more that I haven't got time to write about!

So, why the “Love it or hate it” question for Uber? Surely we need this kind of technology and business model innovation for Intelligent Mobility to thrive? Isn't Uber’s growth just a reality of a commercial landscape, where either you innovate or die?

I would love to hear your view. Do you “love them or hate them” and why?

My prediction for 2016 for Uber isn't exactly ground breaking. They will continue to grow both geographically and by diversifying their service offerings. However, we may see ‘counter innovation’ from SMEs in cities that offer local services for local people that are focused on doing social good for all sectors of society. These two models will co-exist, perhaps not happily, but market forces will come in to play and we’ll see demand drive adoption and further innovation.

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UK & Europe,

Collaboration is becoming an increasingly important part of how we deliver new solutions, but I wonder if the transport sector really understands how to truly maximise the benefits of collaboration? In the main do we coordinate or truly collaborate?

I am clear that there is value to build on the synergies of the public and private sector, but how do we ensure we maximise the value of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), academia and the creative sector as part of the services and solutions we deliver to meet customers’ needs?

There are a range of clients that are embracing collaborative working as part of their delivery models such as the Highways Agency, Catapults, Innovate UK and local authorities, so do we as a sector see ourselves at the front of the pack and demonstrating truly collaborative behaviours?

Strong leadership and aligned objectives are critical in unlocking the value of collaboration, but it will require hard work and what is absolutely clear this is not process, it’s about people and people with the right behaviours.

This comment has been based on a discussion between three leading experts – Clare Reddington, creative director of Watershed(1), Emma Whigham, business change leader at Atkins and Simon Vaughan, director of JCP Consultancy(2). The full article is in the latest issue of Smart Highways magazine and the discussion is here below:


Question: do you think businesses have established why they want to collaborate and the fit with their business objectives or is it a bit random?

Emma: At one level I think a lot of organisations have established that they want / need to collaborate more. This has often been initiated by clients from which the supply chain must choose how it responds and so the initial driver to collaborate often doesn’t sit neatly alongside their business objectives as a method of delivery or creation as it wasn’t part of the same conversation. But as organisations mature their thinking I can see that it is becoming an integral part of the strategy to deliver within business.

Is it where it needs to be, are we moving quick enough? Definitely not. For those organisations within the infrastructure sector, we face some significant challenges in the very near future, with increases in infrastructure investment, constrained resource, increasing customer expectations in an ever-increasing complex world – we need to do things differently to meet these challenges head on and succeed. Collaboration is key to this and not just through the existing supply chain, also bringing new and diverse partners into the mix, such as academia, SME’s, schools. These partners will bring a diversity of thinking to challenge how we look at engineering and infrastructure, just because we have been doing it this way for the past fifty years doesn’t make it right for the future.

But are we moving in the right direction? Definitely yes. Different conversations are taking place throughout organisations, finding the best people to partner with to find better ways of solving the problem or seeking out where this has been done before and reusing ideas. How deep these conversations go in organisations can be challenged, but they are taking place and we should feel encouraged to continue and build on this.

Simon: I think many businesses think they can see the opportunities collaborative working brings and they may be willing to make a start. What is often overlooked is the hard work it takes to collaborate effectively and this means a clear vision of success is essential before you start. And success means for all stakeholders. Take an individual “what’s in it for me” view, then you are not collaborating. Which means it may not always align with individual business goals. But, where progressive businesses are truly committed to a different way of achieving programme or project success, where parties are prepared to share the risks and rewards, and where objectives can be aligned, then alliancing is the most favourable way forward.

Clare: Businesses that successfully use collaboration to deliver their objectives are those who are trying to create something new, or those trying to change the way things are done. Watershed’s first large collaboration was with HP Labs – they knew that designing the future of mobile phone content would involve an understanding of human experience – so they built a collaboration with us that involved artists and creatives as well as computer scientists and psychologists.

A few years ago we came across John Seely Brown’s work on creation nets and the notion that to deliver real innovation in a fast-moving market place, you need to collaborate with people who aren’t like you, in culture, sector, focus or organisational type. We have found that collaborating leads to new business, unexpected creativity and substantial value, but getting collaboration right is an active process – not a random one. You have to be realistic about the risks you are taking and be aware of where you draw the line. If the product is more valuable than the research, consider hiring a supplier instead of entering a collaboration.

Question: what do you see as the risks to collaboration?

Simon: Collaboration is not a simple transaction or one dimensional. At individual, group, infra-organisational and inter-organisational levels it is complex and strategic. And it has to be a conscious act. It takes hard work and, particularly at times when the alliance is under pressure, it can take people out of their comfort zone. Collaboration is certainly not an easy option. But like many things that are hard won, the rewards are huge. Another risk is the degree to which collaborative working reaches. Many organisations encourage collaborations only at the top levels (tier 1 and 2), often missing the wealth of efficiencies and benefits that can be gained closer to the front-line. When collaborative working is embraced throughout the organisation, more opportunities for smarter working can be found.

Emma: I think it’s to do with understanding how to collaborate. I am not convinced we have built up a significant mass of those who truly understand it. Collaboration isn’t about being best friends, or even necessarily liking everyone you’re working with. It is about putting all and any baggage aside, being present to contribute the best you in a focused way to achieve a common goal. This doesn’t happen very often and you can tell when it has, because great things are achieved.

Clare: The risks in collaboration are mission creep – being diverted away from what you set out to do. Then there’s bureaucracy – being stuck in endless contracting and not being able to get on and do something. And then you get institutional ego or over claiming credit – these make it difficult to build the trust that long term collaborations need. Honesty is a key ingredient of any collaboration; partners all need to be clear about their expectations from the outset. These don’t necessarily have to match, but there needs to be clarity on why the collaboration is taking place and what each partner hopes to achieve. Another way to make sure collaborations work is to make sure that the will to collaborate is understood at every level of the organisation – not just in the board room, or at the top.

Question: do organisations provide the environment for collaboration to thrive and generate new ideas?

Emma: There are many who work in this sector are passionate about what they do and if left to their own devices will find ways to collaborate, draw in ideas to find better solutions and ways to deliver. Barriers have and are being created through commercial / procurement arrangements which make this challenging – if not at times impossible – and so preventing the best possible being delivered for our customers. There are those who will find a way through this by themselves, but we have a duty to take a more pragmatic view in order to create environments for collaboration to thrive and for new ideas to be generated.

Clare: Collaborations are messy, mercurial things. They take up time, can lead to weeks of negotiations and sometimes don’t produce the things you hoped for. Quite often therefore, organisations are not structured to make the most out of collaborations, and are also not the best at applying learning. This is where working with a neutral brokering partner can help – to look after the collaboration, spot problems, and help capture and codify the learning that can be applied. With the right partnership, an investment of time and a fair wind, collaborations can deliver new ways of working and new types of output that will outshine anything you could have done on your own.

Question: what are your best examples of collaboration and feel free to share the worst (if you can!)?

Emma: A really strong example of collaboration is the ‘Traffic Modelling Community’ – set up initially to prove the sector’s ability to undertake and deliver models. It was made up of traffic modelling professionals from across the highway sector. As a group they have made significant progress and have dramatically improved and developed the way this undertaken and developed.

Simon: There are some excellent examples I have seen in the highways sector. MTR in Hong Kong was a huge success, as well as Highways Agency motorways which have brought about the collaboration between four delivery partners and a mind shift from civil engineering solutions, (pouring concrete and covering green fields) to a mixture of customer and technology led solutions which utilised the assets more efficiently.
But I think we still have a long way to go. I was reminded at the recent launch of the HM Treasury IUK Alliance Best Practice Report, that it is 20 years since Michael Latham’s report on the lack of collaboration in the construction sector was published. At the time it was a revolutionary idea but 20 years on, I don’t feel we’ve made as much progress as we should have. It’s widely appreciated that the collaborative approach will bring more benefits and deliver on-time, on-spec and on or under budget. But there is still not enough encouragement from Government or within the construction industry to bring a fundamental change about.

Clare: From Being There – a project with Universities researching the future use of robots in public spaces, to our annual Playable City Award – which seeks to use new technology in the city in more playful ways – all of Watershed’s projects are built on collaboration. Why? Because we believe that technology needs to developed in human-centred ways, and to do this properly takes a mixed input. This approach is also embedded in the Pervasive Media Studio – a multi-disciplinary lab for artists, creative companies, technologists and academics, where co-location leads to informal knowledge sharing as well as formal collaboration. Our collaborative projects are considered hugely successful by partners, peers and audiences – and have delivered significant social, cultural AND economic impact – both in the UK and abroad.

Question: what do you think the sector should do to embrace BS11000 – Collaborative Business Relationships?

Emma: BS11000 is a standard, which looks at the mechanics of collaboration and not the behaviours, so I wouldn’t get too hung up about the standard. But I do think the BS11000 principles should be used as a framework for the sector to mature (behaviours) and start to create ‘adult’ relationships with our clients so that break down the barriers and start delivering together as a sector. After all, that’s what the customer sees!

Simon: Honestly I am not a fan of BS11000 – it is a process and structure which is welcome but it does not deal with the fundamentals of bringing together teams of people with the right attitudes and behaviours – which is the core of collaborative working. Instead of BS11000, what the IUK report and others are talking about is the need for leadership investment through a planned programme of behavioural change. Having the attitudes and behavioural competencies to work collaboratively does not come by accident. Collaborative leadership and an environment where people can make mistakes and practice collaboration is a fundamental requirement – and there are few instances where this environment and mindset is encouraged and practised.

(1) Watershed is a cross-artform venue and producer, sharing, developing and showcasing exemplary cultural ideas and talent. It is based in Bristol and connects with artists and audiences around the world.

(2) JCP is a consultancy focusing on improving performance through collaboration.

UK & Europe,

An article in the Times today says driverless cars will appear on Britain’s roads by 2019, and will barely be distinguishable from those by driven by humans. This exciting prospect is being driven by rapidly advancing vehicle technology. I agree with the article when it says that technology will not be the issue to hold back development.

What we do need to develop is proof of concepts on the integration with driverless cars and existing infrastructure. This is where the UK Government’s £10 million investment will help.

The main issue for me is around people and trust, how will pedestrians and cyclists, for instance, react and interact with driverless cars? There is a huge opportunity to think about this and how society can enhance the public realm as a result of technology enabling a move towards intelligent mobility.

We also need to take other sectors along with us to develop new services and business models. These will need to be innovative and address a range of complex challenges – working collaboratively between the public sector, private sector and academia will unlock these but it will take time.

It is an exciting future: generation Y will be demanding new forms of mobility alongside personalised real time information where transport is a mere utility. We have the capability in the UK to meet this need and driverless cars will have an important role to play.

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UK & Europe,

This could be considered by some as quite a radical question, particularly, for those that are like me that have been involved in the sector for many years! So, is asking this question a bit like career suicide?

It is quite clear that ITS as a sector has had a challenging few years, and I would argue this was in part was of its own making, we have struggled for too long to explain the benefits and outcomes that ITS can deliver.

That said we are now seeing some growth return and technology is key to some solutions e.g. Smart Motorways, but is this recognised across the board? It still feels that we haven’t learnt the lessons from the past and we run the risk as a sector of not fully realising our potential

I am still passionate about ITS, it needs to punch its weight, be recognised for the value it can add but it needs to change. There needs to be a stronger connection between the role of technology as an enabler across the modes of transport and a focus on the customer experience underpinned by a discipline of formal behavioural change techniques.

There is an opportunity ahead of the ITS sector in the context of Intelligent Mobility, and whilst Intelligent Mobility is not ITS, ITS does have a key role to play.

> To continue the discussion on Intelligent Mobility, please join our dedicated LinkedIn Group

UK & Europe,