Main Pages
Future Events
Previous Events
Previous Contributors
About The Great Debate
Infrastructure Debate
The Great Infrastructure Debate, 
April 2012
Transport Challenges
The Challenges of Sustainable Transport,
March 2012
The Future of Energy
The Future of Energy for the North East,
December 2011
Future of the City
Visions for the Future of the City, 
October 2011
Sustained Engagement

The Great Debate in partnership with the Living Laboratory, new economics foundation,
RCE North East / NECTER and Northumbria University present

The Challenges of Sustainable Transport

Options     Videos     Outcomes     Partners     Speakers

Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Newcastle Business School and School of Law Building
Northumbria University

Part of the Sustained Engagement project funded by Royal Academy of Engineering.

What should we prioritise to manage personal mobility effectively in Tyne and Wear over the next twenty years?

Three engineers presented their answers to this question and discussed and adapted those ideas with a public audience to find the best transport solutions. The event used the Crowd Wise process designed by new economics foundation to seek a consensus. Beginning with the open question above, participants (speakers and audience) were invited to work together to create and refine possible answers. This is a collaborative process, where answers can be merged, split or refined by anyone, in order to create the most interesting, wide ranging and appealing range of possibilities. Then, instead of voting for their favourite, each participant is asked to rank each answer from best to worst. Votes are then counted to establish which option has the broadest support.

The initial vote in which options were ranked by the audience in order of priority, and the opening presentations, were framed around the above question. The initial options were:


Catering for car use (Matteo Conti)
Socialised use of the car and multi-occupancy taxi journeys should be part of an intelligent transport system. However, for some people the car is an indispensable means of transport which cannot be replaced by public transport. A realistic strategy must account for this.


Investment in public transport (Adriana Monroy-Olaya)
The public transport system needs to be simplified to make it easier to use in multiple ways; frequency and reliability of buses, trains and metros has to be increased; and an emphasis on providing a service is needed – possibly by putting public transport back into the public sector.


Improving infrastructure for cycling (Katja Leyendecker)
Using the bicycle for a variety of types of journey purposes needs to be made much easier – at present cycling can be difficult and dangerous. Improvements should include separate cycle and bus lanes; the ability to take cycles on buses, metros and trains.


Promotion of walking (Katja Leyendecker)
Local shops and services in places that are attractive to walk lie at the heart of strong and vibrant communities, and are what people really want from where they live and work. Even so, to make walking the natural choice will take a lot of investment and promotion, given all the forces pushing in the opposite direction.


Electrification of transport (Adriana Monroy-Olaya and Matteo Conti)
For both private and public transport electrification has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. However, major investment in charging infrastructure for personalized transport is needed and a number of other challenges affect its viability, including the production of electricity, battery power and range improvement.

The event was introduced and facilitated by Caspar Hewett. The options were introduced by three speakers:
Matteo Conti, Northumbria University;
Katja Leyendecker, Environment Agency, Newcastle Cycling Campaign; and
Adriana Monroy-Olaya, Newcastle University.

Top of page


Matteo Conti, Northumbria University

Katja Leyendeker, Environment Agency, Newcastle Cycling Campaign

Top of page

Outcome and discussion

Group discussion at The Challenges of Sustainable Transport event

Group discussing options C and D

The result of the initial ballot (held before the presentations and discussions) were as follows where the score for each option indicates the percentage of its potential maximum achieved in the vote (100% if everyone who voted ranked that option first):
Option B (Investment in public transport) was ranked highest by a clear margin, scoring 87% of its potential maximum; Option C (Improving infrastructure for cycling) came second with a score of 61%; Options D (Promotion of walking) and E (Electrification of transport) were very close, scoring 52% and 51% of their potential maxima respectively; and Option A (Catering for car use) was ranked lowest priority, gaining 43% of its potential points.

The final vote showed a strong consensus with investment in public transport combined with electrification of transport clearly placed as highest priority, infrastructure for cycling and promotion of walking and lifestyle changes as equal second and catering for shared car use coming much lower in the audience's priorities. The final options and scores were:


Catering for shared car use
This option scored 35% of its potential points in the final ranking - this was even lower than its initial ranking despite adding the 'shared' element to car use.

B + E

Investment in public transport combined with electrification of transport
This option scored 81%, meaning that public transport remained the highest ranked option with the audience, although it is also notable that it shifted downwards slightly after the discussion in favour of other options despite merging with electrification of transport.

C + D

Improving infrastructure for cycling and promotion of walking
This option scored 60%, making it the joint second highest in the final ranking.


Promoting lifestyle changes
This option also scored 60%.

None of the final options were the same as the initial options presented. The general consensus was that all of the options deserved some investment (time, effort and money), although the private car was clearly the least popular element of the transport mix under discussion in this group. However, the question and the process meant that it did not make sense to merge all the options together - the outcome was supposed to indicate which options should have a higher priority.

Top of page

Matteo Conti
Matteo Conti is a specialist in transportation design practice and in the area of low carbon vehicles (LCVs). He is the Lead Design for the High Value Low Carbon (HVLC) R&D unit at Northumbria University where he has been a senior lecturer in Transportation Design and an industrial placement tutor for the past ten years. This Italian bi-lingual academic has forged a number of successful industrial partnerships with prestigious design consultancies (Concept Group International, Drive, Iveco, Jaguar, Pininfarina, Stile Bertone, and Visteon) over the years to carry out collaborative projects and secure student placements. His previous engineering background working in robotics is particularly useful in the development of LCVs as he aims to produce proof of concepts, prototypes and pre-production designs. HVLC’s operating model is enabling Matteo’s development of ongoing industrial and academic collaboration, new postgraduate curricula, and commercial value for business both through contract research and CPD.

Katja Leyendecker
Katja Leyendecker is Programme manager at Environment Agency delivering flood risk management programmes by training, guiding and leading project engineers. She is a chartered engineer with wide-ranging experience in water engineering, including technical activities such as Computer Aided Design, Geographical Information Systems and computerised hydraulic modelling of gravity and pumped systems; drainage and treatment system design to industry standards (for water, wastewater/sewage); and flood risk management and singificant project management experience and project and team leadership expertise.

Katja is also on the Management committee at Newcastle Cycling Campaign, helping to manage the campaign which provides a hub for cyclists in Newcastle upon Tyne to improve cycling conditions in the city centre.

Adriana Monroy-Olaya
Adriana Monroy-Olaya is an environmental engineer with an MSc and PgD in Environmental Health and Safety. She initially gained experience while working as an environmental consultant with various companies in South America and later in the UK with institutions such as the Health Protection Agency.

Adriana is currently undertaking a PhD with the Transport Operation Research Group (TORG) at Newcastle University. Her research aims to develop a modelling framework for the installation of a public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in Tyne and Wear. Adriana’s research interests include low carbon vehicles, alternative fuels and sustainable transport.

Top of page

Location Map - Newcastle Business School and School of Law Building
Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

View Larger Map

Campus Map - Newcastle Business School and School of Law Building (Building no 32)

Newcastle Business School at night

| Home | Future Events | Previous Events | People | Articles | Reviews | AboutUs |

© C J M Hewett, 2012