A week at UTG – Tuesday

The small team of staff at the Urban Transport Group has a big job to do in making the case for urban transport, in providing thought leadership on the future of the sector and in supporting our professional network so that our members can do more for less. You can find out more about how we do this here. However this week we thought we would show what this all means in terms of what we get up to at UTG in a typical week. This is using what we did Monday – Friday last week and we’ll be posting each day. Hopefully it will give an insight into the inner workings of the Urban Transport Group.

Why are we doing this now? In some ways, with general election purdah the week has not been typical with fewer meetings with Government. However, our Senior Economist, Pedro Abrantes, is leaving us soon so it seemed like a good opportunity to capture some of the things that he does. We are not advertising for a new Senior Economist but we are recruiting for a new post of Assistant Director so if you like the sound of our team then why not check out the ad?

It’s Tuesday and everyone is enjoying the sunshine! (At least it was sunny last Tuesday anyway, it’s rainy this Tuesday!)

Tom:

Today has been another day of working on Insight for me. The website hub is now starting to take shape, with most of the pages required in place. It will just be a case of getting the data into a database and developing the interactive visuals once the tool is ready to use.

insight

I am also working on a project that is looking to develop reverse journey matching for smart card users on bus. Me and Pedro had a call to discuss some legal requirements around data transfers. This is a new project, so there is still quite a lot of admin work to do.

I get to leave a bit early now to get to cricket, hopefully the sun lasts.

Clare:

Today I had a whole empty day in my diary, a rare thing! Which gave me a chance to get some solid work time into the taxis project. Although I had to do some diary juggling for the next few days as I’m off to an event and some meetings in the North East.

I’m also currently organising an event for our Freight Working Group to visit the London Freight Enforcement Partnership in June, so I was coordinating some of the logistics for this. I think this will be a really great visit for the group and an interesting trip.

Jonathan:

Today I travelled down to SYPTE for a session in Sheffield with their senior management team about future of urban transport, what Urban Transport Group is working on and how we can work more effectively together.  Some new faces and some familiar ones and very useful to have the opportunity for a long discussion following on from similar sessions at our other full members in the last few months.

The other main focus of today was a long phone call with Professor Tom Rye at Napier University on finalising text of the forthcoming report on how Scandinavian countries are bringing about better public transport through franchising, devolution and innovation.

Saila:

Today was a lot quieter than yesterday, although my bus broke down on the way to work so that was a good start.

I spent most of my time sorting out appointments for our Comms consultancy applicants to chat to Jonathan about the role. I also booked Clare into a training course, and did some forensic investigation into some email trails to find out who said what and when.  This is my speciality if anyone is hiring!

I also worked my magic to rearrange a few other meetings.

Then I tackled the large amount of filing I had built up over the past few months.

I made a start on organising a teleconference with the UTG Board members on air quality.

Looking forward to the Eurovision semi-final tonight though! 🙂

Pedro:

I batted the data sharing agreement back and forth to consultants and transport authority colleagues – getting there…

I drafted a briefing paper on the WHO’s Health Economic Assessment Tool for cycling and walking (HEAT) – in short? Strong empirical evidence that being more physically active will enable us to live longer but it more research is needed to understand how different interventions impact on activity levels

I provided some support to University of Leeds PhD working on rail data fusion project and who needs help getting access to WYCA data – met WYCA’s Head of Research and Intelligence who agreed to help.

11-mile cycle ride home in the glorious sunshine – I think I’m winning!

A week at UTG – Monday

The small team of staff at the Urban Transport Group has a big job to do in making the case for urban transport, in providing thought leadership on the future of the sector and in supporting our professional network so that our members can do more for less. You can find out more about how we do this here. However this week we thought we would show what this all means in terms of what we get up to at UTG in a typical week. This is using what we did Monday – Friday last week and we’ll be posting each day. Hopefully it will give an insight into the inner workings of the Urban Transport Group.

Why are we doing this now? In some ways, with general election purdah the week has not been typical with fewer meetings with Government. However, our Senior Economist, Pedro Abrantes, is leaving us soon so it seemed like a good opportunity to capture some of the things that he does. We are not advertising for a new Senior Economist but we are recruiting for a new post of Assistant Director so if you like the sound of our team then why not check out the ad?

Saila (PA and office manager):

Today I was knee deep in recruitment tasks for our new assistant director post. I finalised the advert for LTT and the Guardian with Pedro and the advertising agency, devised our Twitter campaign, learned how to use tweet deck to schedule strategically timed tweets and uploaded the carousel item for the front page of the website. I also posted the ad on LinkedIn.

I am also studying for an undergraduate degree part time so at lunch time trekked to a very busy university library to return some text books. Thankfully I only had an assignment this term, and no sit down exams. I handed mine in early on Saturday via the university website so that is me done for this academic year!

Now riding home on an overcrowded bus but thankfully got the last seat. My mind is whirring with tomorrow’s tasks which I will just leave to the morning.

Jonathan (Director):

I had an office day today which included teleconference with colleagues from TfL and UITP to move forward the international conference on taxi policy that we are hosting in London in December.

In between catch ups with Pedro, Tom and Clare, I also moved forward on candidates for some comms support, our Assistant Director post as well as updating our Board on implications of mayoral elections and governments new draft air quality strategy. And made more progress on promoting our forthcoming making bus franchising work in practice event on June 8th.

Pedro (Senior Economist):

In preparation for a seven-day cycle tour of Scotland before starting new job, I went on hilly 11-mile bike ride through North Leeds – arrived at work sweaty but still raring to go!

Finalised advertising plan for AD job (with Saila) – advert went live on the Guardian and Local Transport Today later in the week.

I Drafted a data sharing agreement for smartcard data analysis project, based on Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) guidance and the requirements of the Data Protection Act – pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s all about common sense rather than legalese!

I had an operational catch-up with Jonathan – most things on track!

Tom (Researcher):

For the last year, I have been working on a project titled “Insight”, with the aim of creating an online interactive data hub on our website. Today the templates that will form the website pages went live, so I spent a lot of time testing these and finally getting some content ready to go onto the website. The good news is they worked well!

Alongside this I am also developing the scope of a potential conference on Future Streets. This is quite exciting as it allows me to get more familiar with recent work in this area as well as shape the agenda for the day.

I play in the work cricket team and our first match of the season is tomorrow, so I am off home to glue the soles back on my shoes!

Clare (Researcher):

Being in the office today gave me chance to focus some time on my main piece of work, a report about the taxi market in our cities. This will explore the current issues and challenges relating to the taxi market and how transport authorities can engage with, and develop policy for, taxis. I read an interesting piece on how new entrants, like Uber have affected the taxi market in New York City too.

I was also on the teleconference with TfL and UITP colleagues about our international taxi conference, which after some technical difficulties with getting international participants on the call, was a great discussion. The themes and agenda are really starting to come together.

I picked up some cookies at lunchtime, sometimes you need office cookies on a Monday.

Taxi Conference

Keep checking back to find out what we get up to for the rest of the week!