Case Study – Department for Transport
The Department for Transport commissioned SAMI Consulting to build its horizon scanning and technology watch (HS&TW) capability. The objective was for DfT decision-makers to have greater awareness of the challenges and opportunities that emerging technologies are likely to present, and for this evidence base to improve the robustness of DfT’s policies: “Robust decisions in uncertain times” is SAMI Consulting’s strapline. The project was to regularly review progress, to identify emerging technologies and understand any barriers that are preventing them entering the marketplace. DfT wanted a tailored approach that met their interests across all modes of transport (road, rail, aviation and shipping) as well as walking and cycling
Having identified, and agreed, relevant sources from hard copy publications and online sources, SAMI Consulting developed a searchable database of relevant ‘hits’. The database was structured according to a “natural agenda” that emerged out of the initial set of “hits” – the top-level groupings were:
- Energy, including batteries and electric vehicles
- Automation and control systems, including autonomous cars and drone aircraft
- Traffic and Transport management including ticketing and new business models
- Product, design and construction, covering infrastructure; and
- Other PEST issues, such as demand and urban design.
Each month from January 2014 to June 2015, we produced monthly bulletins which as well as reporting on the new hits also highlighted major issues and topics relevant to all transport sectors and also included specific technology areas of interest.
An important feature of the Horizon Scanning and Technology Watch review function was the assessment of the likely implications of new technologies to the transport sector – the ‘so what?’ question. These were brought out and presented in quarterly reports which provided an analysis of possible implications for the client. Amongst the issues highlighted were ticketless travel, 3-D printing and personal environmental monitoring.
SAMI also managed on behalf of the Department a number of “deep dive” projects – studies of specific issues, such as on novel road materials.