In this weeks Leading the Way blog, Darren Bell, Solutions Manager – Road Traffic, shares his experience of working with Bristow & Sutor and previews some of the topics he will be discussing at the Traffic and Parking Conference 2020.
Over to Darren…
I joined Bristow & Sutor in February 2020, a month before the coronavirus lockdown and all the challenges that came with it. It was an interesting experience in many ways, with obstacles like enforcement visits being banned, but I am pleased to say the industry is now moving forward. We are progressively advancing with new ways of enforcing and it is clear that momentum has picked up again on important subjects such as moving traffic and clean air zone responses.
A unique journey
I actually began my career at 16 years old, working for Peterborough City Council as a Civil Enforcement Officer. My ambition was to work my way up and I managed to do this over several years. It took hard work, dedication and persistence but as time progressed opportunities for career progression presented themselves and I took them. This ultimately led to me reaching the position of Parking Manager. After my time with Peterborough City Council was at an end, I took up further management positions and expanded my responsibility for parking across multiple areas, including NHS sites.
My role now with Bristow & Sutor is to help all road traffic clients with PCN recovery and also use my experience and knowledge of the sector to shape client development. I enjoy moving business forward and giving valuable insight to clients on how methods can be rationalised, cases can be recovered and what new trends represent opportunity. To that end, I have already been very much involved with moving traffic, clean air zone and ultra-low emission solutions, which I expect to become even more prevalent next year and beyond.
Parking and traffic management is an important public service that reduces traffic congestion and enables new approaches to mobility. It is to be expected that priorities have shifted and job roles have adapted at local authorities during the coronavirus pandemic, but the bigger picture of parking solutions has already been going through a period of change. Sensible parking and environmental policies are becoming more commonplace and there is no doubt that the historic activity of a PCN stuck to a vehicle windscreen will not be suitable as a stand-alone solution for many in future.
Our contract with Transport for London (TfL) indicates that this is being recognised and also proves our capability to implement the next generation of activity is second to none. Coronavirus has transformed how we live, work and travel so adapting these positive steps so that they remain achievable in future is going to be integral to success.
The solutions aspect of my role makes communication and engagement key components of what I hope to achieve. I am regularly having conversations with clients about their mindset, views on current activity and what the future looks like. Councils are understandably under a lot of pressure and time constraints at present, so I am ensuring I am available to speak to when required and attending industry events to share helpful advice where I can.
To that end, I will be discussing Road Traffic solutions at Traffic and Parking Conference 2020 on Wednesday 2nd December 2020. This year is, as you may expect, a virtual event so it will be a little different to usual. Through mini-sessions and presentations, my colleagues and I will be available on our virtual stand to share our insight and tips for any road traffic difficulties, activities and solution requirements.
I have attended this event before myself and know how useful it can be to have an open conversation with experts. Fortunately, it is free for councils to attend. We will discuss what success we have had with some of our biggest clients and how we may be able to help others replicate that success themselves in a secure, safe and hassle-free way.
You can register to attend the virtual event now and stop by for a chat with me on the day, visit Transport Xtra for more information.