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DARe Hub Building Narratives with Second Stakeholder Workshop

Imagine it is 2050, and transport performance is excellent… How do we get there? How do we transition to a UK transport system, that is decarbonised, resilient, adaptable, and enables excellent performance?

The DARe Hub is co-creating a set of infrastructure, socio-economic, and climate storylines of possible futures with our Project Partners, to describe the possible pathways to a decarbonised transport system that is resilient and adaptable. These positive, visionary stories of change will guide and inform DARe’s research programme.

At our second Co-Creation Stakeholder Workshop, held in a fitting location next door to York train station, the DARe Hub brought over 60 DARe Project Partners, team members, and funders together to discuss how we get to the ideal, net zero UK transport system of the future. Building on the fantastic start made at the first workshop in late 2023, where Hub stakeholders explored issues they are facing, this event was focussed on starting to build the key strategic narratives that the DARe Hub will use.

To help build a picture of what the ideal transport system of the future looks like, and what the goal should be in the DARe storylines, participants were first asked to imagine it is 2050, and transport performance is excellent. They were then tasked with a few key questions:

  • What are the key risks and challenges to maintaining excellent performance?
  • What interventions and decisions do you expect will be needed?
  • What information and data will you need to support those decisions?

Over the course of the day, participants were asked to apply different ‘lenses’ to their conversation, working together first in operational discussion groups (e.g., transport providers, national operators, and local civic authorities), and then mixed, cross-sector groups, in order to identify the commonalities and differences, and barriers and opportunities that exist in different transport parameters and scales. With representatives from all aspects and areas of the transport sector, discussions brought together the wide variety of perspectives and input that are essential to co-creating transport transitions and solutions that are sustainable, and work for all.

Some of the key feedback that emerged during the day included:

  • the need for practical and tangible, scalable solutions;
  • the transport sector needs multiple government departments to work together on achieving net zero;
  • the sector needs a way to manage the complexity of the net zero challenge;
  • data will be increasingly important, but we must be clear on what we need to measure;
  • understanding trade-offs between net zero and resilience is crucial;
  • mapping interdependencies between systems is vital;
  • and the transport sector needs ways to lessen the damage of short-term political decisions impacting progress towards long-term targets.

One of the fundamental things that became apparent over the course of the day is that to deliver the goal of a decarbonised transport network, the UK needs transformational, rather than incremental change. Driving change will require the alignment of key actors behind a shared vision, commitment to delivery, and effective leadership. There is already strong alignment in the thinking about what needs to be done, and a clear commitment to a shared goal amongst DARe’s Project Partners. Time is short, and we need to work together to get the job done.

“The challenges seem huge, but if we can create outputs that can be shared and understood by industry, academia and the public, the benefits will be worth it.”

(Workshop Participant, Anon)

An executive summary of the workshop will be available to Project Partners soon. If you would like to attend our next Co-Creation Workshop or find out more about DARe, please get in touch: darehub@newcastle.ac.uk

“We tend to look to the Dutch, Germans, and Swiss in terms of good transport – we have an opportunity to make a UK-style decarbonised transport system that the world aspires to.”

(Workshop Participant, Anon)

“We all have a common goal – let’s champion it together.”

(Workshop Participant, Anon)