MOVE is the national stage for industry leaders engineering the future. It is a place where the most innovative businesses, startups and speakers come together and as a result, some incredible partnerships can form.
Back in June, Kammy Horne, Senior Vice President of Development at VIA Metropolitan Transit and Andrew Highfield, Head of Integrated Transport at Hertfordshire County Council, joined us for the first time at the ExCel in London for MOVE 2022.
In the hopes of reaching out to like-minded innovators and leader, the two formed an unlikely, yet powerful, partnership.
We spoke to the pair about their story and the developments that have been made since their meeting at MOVE 2022.
Q: Tell us the story of how this connection was formed at MOVE?
A: I was attending my first ever MOVE conference and was keen to meet like minded leaders in the transport field, especially international attendees to chat over common challenges and best practice. I really enjoyed the speakers and events throughout the day and was keen to chat to further informally
K: Andrew reached out to me to connect as he noticed that I also worked in the public sector. This was also my first MOVE conference.
Q: How did Swapcard help you when creating this partnership?
A: I saw that Kammy was attending the conference and was active on Swapcard and sent a brief message introducing myself and that it would be great to have a chat at some point during the day
K: Swapcard helped to quickly identify Andrew and his background and facilitated the messaging. It was easy to use and very helpful in knowing who was reaching out. There were many vendors, but Andrew was reaching out to exchange peer information.
Q: What attracted you to the event?
A: The breadth of expertise, both through the talks, panels and demonstrators in one place was the major attraction. I had and was working with some suppliers who attended and so it was great to catch up with those as well as some ex colleagues from Transport for London. The ability to meet new people such as Kammy and other leaders was interesting also
K: I was initially skeptical of the event, not knowing how much I would gain, especially due to the travel needed from San Antonio, Texas. As I began to look into the other speakers at the event, I became more interested. I was also impressed by the genuine thoughtfulness of the event organizers who seemed to be very focussed on information-rich sessions.
Q: What have been the benefits of this collaboration?
A: The knowledge sharing sessions we have conducted have been fascinating, both in learning similar challenges despite the distances between us and also some of the best practice in the transport field. Connecting some of the teams as a sounding board for ideas an lessons learnt has been fantastic and hopefully will continue
K: I agree with Andrew. My team has also been very interested in hearing from Andrew and his team. It is interesting to see that so many of our challenges are similar!
Q: What similar projects have you both been working on?
A: Demand Responsive Transport, Mass Transit, Bus Priority, Bus Shelter infrastructure, boosting service levels and patronage post COVID
Q: What challenges both communities have faced? Are they the same? How are they different?
A: The impacts of COVID on transport have been very similar, both in terms of impact to communities, mobility and the restoration of services with lower patronage. Whilst the area in Hertfordshire is slightly different in topography to the areas that Kammy and VIA oversee, the split between service; urban, rural and semi urban areas, providing high quality, safe, reliable services is a constant. Maintaining that service in the post COVID world with inflation, driver recruitment challenges and balancing services where some passengers have just not returned is a constant challenge
Q: Where do you see this going in the next few years?
A: In terms of the partnership we have formed, further learnings between teams, working on similar challenges and even perhaps co-commission some areas of study, when using similar consultants etc
Q: What big developments can we expect to see in the next 12-18 months?
A: From a transport perspective, we feel like we are in a bit of a high wire act to maintain steady, reliable services whilst upgrading bus services to zero emission, establishing a better mix of fixed route and demand responsive services (including identifying synergies with Paratransit) delivering better infrastructure for transport (Bus priority and mass transit) and ensuring that is supported locally. It is inevitable that there may be a further rebalancing on the network, with services adapted to serve new areas and needs for mobility in communities
K: San Antonio is working on a voter-approved program called: Keep SA Moving. This will involve many new developments including a re-design of the overall network, bus rapid transit, micromobility, and a new maintenance facility. We will have similar and overlapping challenges with Andrew and it is great to have this connection in the transportation field!