TransiT Engagement Findings:

Consultation Summary

The transport sector is the largest emitter of CO2 globally, and in the UK, it represents approximately one third of total CO2 emissions.  To enable an understanding of the challenges faced by industry in achieving decarbonisation across the sector, TransiT undertook a stakeholder consultation from June through November 2023.

The findings of this consultation directed the research focus for the digital twin to ensure it addresses the needs of industry.  In the consultation phase we:

  1. Identified a broad, representative stakeholder base from industry, policy and civil society;
  2. Held an inclusive consultation across identified stakeholders;
  3. Create a vision, mission and priorities for the TransiT Hub using consultation findings;
  4. Co-created a forward research plan for the TransiT Hub’s Stage 2 research investment; and
  5. Continued to build a consortium for the TransiT Hub for future investment-focused research for the major decarbonisation challenges.

We identified over 400 stakeholders, categorised into three broad focus areas: Transport, Energy and Digital.

All of these stakeholders have a stated interest in transport decarbonisation.  We separated the organisations identified into different tiers for a staged engagement focusing on those with a UK wide reach first.

  • Tier 1: umbrella and trade organisations, including consumer representative bodies;
  • Tier 2: Government agencies or regional and mode-specific organisations;
  • Tier 3: innovation centres, research hubs and other technical specialist organisation, especially those with a focus on digital technology.

The consultation included interviews, a survey, eight online focus groups and three in person workshops.  Additional Outreach included establishing the TransiT website, running a podcast series, social media posting and thought leadership pieces.

The topics mentioned in each of the stages of consultation were distilled into eight themes with related subtopics.  These themes and subtopics are:

Risk & Uncertainty Human Behaviour Data, Sensing Systems & IoTSiloes & Outcomes Focus 
Consistency in Government Policy & RegulationNeed for Change in Behaviour and Community AttitudesData sharing and access issues and concernsOvercoming System Siloes – geographic / sectoral / modal
Certainty and Quantity of FundingTravel Intent and Adaptive BehaviourData standards, formats, processing and inter-operabilityTaking an Outcomes First Focus
Carbon and Benefits Tracking or AccountingConsumer or Business Incentives to changeDigitising Inert Assets and IoTNew Economic / Business Models
System-wide Governance and OversightUser Needs & Activity Demand MappingInterpreting Insights from data and demonstrating the value of digitalSiloes, Place Based Decision Making & Outcomes Focus
Risk and Financing the TransitionDigital Trust, Security & Accessibility
Energy SupplySkills and New TechnologiesTransitional ArrangementsResilience & Maintenance
Ensuring Green Energy SupplyWorkforce capability and resourcesInterim vs Long lasting technologies and smooth transitionDigital – operation / maintenance / resilience
Connections to the Grid & Planning for Energy SupplySkills Equity in the Transition

The Risk & Uncertainty theme encompasses the continued discussion around the need to prioritise investment and interventions by the order of impact, adding that a system view approach and carbon accounting methods would help with this prioritisation.  Concerns relating to regulatory barriers and the need for industry to have more input into regulation were introduced, as well as the need to align UK policies with the international policy landscape in decarbonisation.

In the Human Behaviour theme, incentives were discussed in passing by some stakeholders in the discovery interviews phase but were heavily emphasised in the focus groups.  The idea of monetising carbon efficient modes for consumers was a new related sub-topic introduced in the focus groups.  These evolved into discussions in the workshops on how policy can be designed to influence behaviour through choice architecture or using digital means to nudge consumer decisions.

The conversation around Data, Sensing Systems & IoT evolved from discussions around the lack of access to data and concerns about sharing and interoperability, including issues of trust in the outputs of a digital twin.  This included the ability for any party to be able to tap into an accessible, standardised data stream without having their commerciality compromised and without needing advanced data management skill sets in-house.  Emphasis was placed on collecting data for insights and mechanisms to ensure that commercial organisations are required to share at least a baseline of data with opportunities to gain commercial incentives or rewards for first movers.  Cyber security was a persistent concern throughout all stages of the consultation.

For the Siloes & Outcomes Focus theme, the need to cut across siloes and enable working off the same base was clear across all stages of the consultation. New business models were also mentioned throughout, varying between drivers from bridging siloes to balancing costs and benefits for carbon-driven business models. All consultation stages discussed the need to drive transport system transition from the basis of essential need, suggesting the need for alternative ways to deliver health, education and other outcomes first and then using transport only when necessary, thereby cutting down emissions from transport.

Energy supply, skills development, transitional arrangements and resilience and maintenance were also raised.  For energy, the delay in planning approvals for new energy projects was of significant concern as was the mapping of demand across the UK in order to ensure sufficient supply for future mobility.  Skills was raised in the context of both digital skills to operate digital twins, especially for small business and local councils, but also in relation to the skills gap for maintaining new transport technologies such as EVs.  Transitional arrangements referred also to these struggles and the need to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition, especially small business who make a large portion of the logistics industry.  Transition was also mentioned in regard to the rural – urban divide in accessibility of decarbonised options and the availability of new technologies to low income households.  The operations and maintenance theme focused on the legacy of fleet transition and the need to maintain out dated fossil fuel transport options for a long period prior to retirement.  This also raised the issue of dealing with the residual value of these older fleet vehicles as well as the uncertainty of residual value of new technology.

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