The purpose of this blog is to share information about the transport and traffic planning sector in the UK. I am an independent transport planner working in London. In 2009, after 25 years working with major consultancies (Arup, WSP etc) I decided that I would go it alone. Of course, I timed this rather badly, but perhaps being independent might be an asset in the next couple of years.
The recession has hit our industry very hard. I have it on good authority that many of the major players have made 20-30% of staff redundant recently. Sadly many friends have lost their jobs.
There is no new statement on transport policy as yet from the coalition. Should we assume a more ‘laissez-faire‘ approach and a more sympathetic attitude towards road users ?
It seems likely that public sector clients will have less to spend on transport studies over the next few years. However, there is no escaping the need to prioritise capital expenditure. Massive projects such as the Olympics, CrossRail and HS2 will generate consultancy work, but this is only likely to benefit those based in London and the south-east.
I’m not at all sure what will happen with private sector clients. Developers are reported to be creating land banks. In some cases financial institutions have inherited land packages from developers who have suffered cash-flow difficulties. The housing and commercial markets may recover at different rates. Some retail developments are proceeding, but these are probably the ones that had reached the ‘point of no return’.
The public transport sector may be more resilient than other areas. The private operators in both rail and bus industries cannot sit on their hands.
In consultancy I suspect that we will see a de-skilling over the next few years. The temptation for large companies is to retain the all-rounders and off-load the specialists. All rounders tend to have more time to schmooze clients and senior management.
So, what does this mean for the rest of us ? I would be interested to hear any feedback that people can offer. I would be particularly interested to hear from people working in the public sector or for transport operators.