It’s been just over a week since greenSTEMS held our first social seminar of the new academic year: Sustainable Transport and Mobility. We’d like to thank everyone who attended, from students at the university to local York residents, and especially our speakers who ventured over from the Institute for Transport Studies in Leeds.
Our first speaker was Jean-Paul Skeete, who despite being a a self-confessed petrol head, talked about the need for sustainable transport systems and the challenges ahead for the motor industry.
Next, Tom Dugmore took a different slant on the sustainable transport problem, focusing on the problem of fuel. A chemist by background, Tom discussed the range of fuelsavailable and how we need to take advantage of everything from solar power to wind, using biofuel as an example of how not to do things!
Ian Philiips was our first speaker from the Institute for Transport in Leeds. As well as providing the technology to allow sustainable transport we need to enable people to use it, which means considering the social side of the equation. Ian’s research looks at transport resilience and the factors which influence whether people commute by bike, such as distance, fitness level, number of children, and inevitably, weather.
After a break we heard about the University of York’s plans for sustainable travel around campus and across the city. Fiona Macey is the Sustainable Travel and Transport Manager at the univeristy asnd talked about past successes such as recycled bike sales and the low emission buses currently on university bus routes as well as plans for the future.
Alvaro Guzman continued discussions of buses in his talk on Bus-Rapid-Transport systems. These systems can be quick and efficient but their implementation does not always benefit those who need it most; Alvaro studies the power systems which result in the building of these types of bus systems.
Kate Palmer was our last speaker before lunch and told the seminar about Intelligent Transport Systems, their benefits, and their aims: for example, cars which communicate with each other on the road to allow shorter braking distances. This sparked quite a debate on the ethics and dangers of Intelligent Transport Systems, particularly driverless cars!
After lunch Andriannah Mbandi presented some of her research on real-time vehicle emissions and how she is trying to capture these in Nairobi.
Joanna Elvy, our last speaker of the day, moved the topic to social capital and how this can be used in planning transport systems by encouraging people to get involved in the process. She then led an audience debate on participatory transport planning and the role and reliability of social capital to end the day.
A big thanks to Richard and everyone else who helped in the organisation of the event and on the day! Keep an eye out for the details of our next social seminar, and please like our Facebook page for details of further events.