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Transport Planning Society Case Study

The Transport Planning Society (TPS) exists to facilitate, develop and promote best practice and innovation in transport planning and provide a focus for dialogue between all those engaged in it, whatever their background. TPS is the professional body for transport planners in the UK and is supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and The Royal Town Planning Institute.

Transport Planning is about preparing, assessing and implementing policies, plans and projects to improve and manage our transport systems. It involves understanding the link between transport and land use, in particular the future shape of our towns and cities, and the activities people want to undertake to meet quality of life objectives. It is critical to the future of the economy, the state of our environment and how we tackle climate change. It is also about changing people’s attitudes towards travel to encourage use of sustainable modes, often replacing journeys by car.

The requirement

Blue circle with the words Transport Planning DayTPS wanted to raise the profile of transport planning among politicians, local communities and the wider transport industry, as well as highlighting the vital role transport planners play in society.

The company had a vision to hold a ‘Transport Planning Day’ to celebrate the best in transport planning, showcase its benefit to communities and chart a direction for the profession. They turned to JFG Communications to help bring this vision to life.

 

The solution
We worked with TPS on the inaugural Transport Planning Day in 2018 to deliver a campaign that would meet objectives including:

  • Raise TPS’s profile among community stakeholders, parliamentarians and Government
  • Raise awareness to community stakeholders, parliamentarians and government of the importance of engaging communities in transport planning
  • Showcase transport planning projects that display best practice in engaging the community
  • Raise awareness of what transport planners do and how communities can become involved
  • Inspire young people to choose transport planning as a career
  • Work with stakeholder advocates to amplify campaign messages

A collaboration of key individuals and organisations all worked together as a seamless team to make the campaign a complete success.

To create a buzz around the campaign and a focal point for promotional activities, we introduced a ‘People’s Award’. We invited local communities to enter their transport planning initiative that had a positive impact on people’s lives as part of placemaking.

We announced the awards finalists at a parliamentary reception, with the winner being awarded at the main Transport Planning Day event a few weeks later. Both events provided excellent networking opportunities and helped raise TPS’s profile among parliamentarians, communities and the wider transport industry.

Group of people standing holding certificates

Transport Planning Day 2019 was an even bigger and better event where once again we ran the People’s Award and also introduced a new ‘Transport for New Homes Award’.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, we made the decision to run the entire Transport Planning Day campaign online to ensure everyone’s health and safety. The format was changed slightly with both events being run virtually and no awards. We introduced a children’s poster competition to help inspire transport planners of the future. The focal point was the publication of a ‘State of the Nations’ report, which looked at the current state of transport planning across the UK and achieving a more sustainable future. We organised a virtual Parliamentary debate, hosted by the Chair of Transport Select Committee. We achieved endorsement of the Transport Planning Society’s report launch from the Select Committee Chair and 4 committee members, achieving coverage in a wide range of industry publications, and interest from BBC.

The results

The first Transport Planning Day back in 2018 was a huge success, and popularity has been steadily increasing ever since. 

  • Through the 2018 campaign, we attracted key speakers, including Lilian Greenwood MP, the then Chair of the Transport Select Committee
  • We secured advocacy from key stakeholders such as the Department for Transport, and industry stakeholders including Campaign for Better Transport, Sustrans and Living Streets. 
  • The campaign gained significant media coverage and social media engagement was high:
    • Estimated 15,300 views from 96 pieces of coverage
    • Launch tweet was the top tweet from @TransPlanSoc in May 2018 and gained over 17k tweet impressions

In 2019, the results were equally impressive: 

  • Among the speakers, we secured support from the Head of Planning Policy, Housing and Transport at the Department for Transport.
  • Once again the campaign gained significant media coverage, and social media engagement was high:
    • Estimated 25,000 views from 233 pieces of coverage
    • Launch tweet from @TransPlanSoc gained over 10,000 tweet impressions

Despite the 2020 campaign being held entirely online, results were still extremely good.

  • We attracted over 360 people between both events.
  • Social media engagement was high and media coverage remained on a par with previous years. 
    • Estimated 18,000 views from 262 pieces of coverage
    • Over 41,000 Twitter impressions across both events
  • Once again, we secured high profile speakers including Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, and Huw Merriman, Chair of the Transport Select Committee.

Child's drawing of people cycling, walking and scooting to school“Working with JFG Communications on our Transport Planning Day Campaign has proven to be invaluable,” commented Mark Frost, Chair of the Transport Planning Society. 

“Through their combination of transport industry experience, communications experience and unparalleled contacts at high levels within government, we have increased the profile of Transport Planning Day year on year and reached a far wider audience. JFG Communications has helped us turn our ideas into reality and meet the objectives of the Transport Planning Day campaign.”

In addition to the Transport Planning Day Campaign, in 2021 we started assisting TPS with their policy work, helping them draft consultation responses, analysis of government policy and other ad hoc policy pieces. Our work proved so successful that within a year of collaboration it was recognised by government. In early 2022 the House of Commons Library released a research briefing exploring transport appraisal and some issues concerning its use. The document and summary refer frequently to the continuing work of JFG Comms and TPS on appraisal, including the critique of the process, both in terms of the strategic objectives and the technical failings.

Main Project Team at JFG Communications:

Project Sponsor – Jo Field

Strategic Adviser – Nick Sanderson

Account Manager – Becky Franklin

Account Executive – Alex Bennett