26 Apr 2024

Event round-up: Mobilise 2024 - the future of infrastructure 

techUK members and stakeholders came together to discuss how technology is reshaping the transport and infrastructure sectors.

We were delighted to welcome our members and stakeholders to our office earlier this month for the second techUK ‘Mobilise’ event. This year, our conference followed three key tracks; championing transport innovation, leveraging data, artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics and paving the way to net zero.  

Some key insights from the event are shared below: 

Securing the future of transport 

The opening panel emphasised that transportation is not just a means of travel but a pivotal factor in economic growth, providing access to jobs, education, and choices in mobility. Disparity in public transport access between London and other UK regions highlights the need for geographically appropriate local delivery systems. 

Post-pandemic, key agendas such as rail reform have faltered, as well as continued questions around investment, the optimal use of the Treasury Green Book, and how we integrate technology into the mobility sector.  

What was clear is that the transport sector makes a vital contribution to other industries, such as arts and sports. How we articulate these benefits is critical to ensure continued investment to combat challenges including aging infrastructure, complex regulatory standards and challenging public sector buying environment.  

Finally, how we drive innovation also featured within discussions. In some areas, such as Automated Vehicles, legislation and regulation will be key to unlocking progress. The recent Automated Vehicles Bill does demonstrate where we are making strides to remove barriers to deployment, however it was stressed that we must be courageous in our approach to adopting technology if we are to reap the benefits.   

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Left to right: Ashley Feldman, techUK; Stef Lehmann, Labour Together; Rebecca Jeffery, Uber; Katie Day, Transport for the North and Richard Jinks, Oxa 

Cracking the data challenge 

This second panel focused on whether the sector is trying ‘run before we can walk’ in respect of transport data. The panellists advised there are plenty of areas to improve across the data landscape sector and that building blocks needs to be put into place.  

We need the creation of a baseline to demonstrate what data we have and how we go about using it, making accuracy and geography paramount. Multi-disciplinary teams need to be put in place so that all those invested in the success of transport data have a seat at the table, but across the UK there is an acknowledged digital skills gap which needs to be addressed. 

There needs to be a focus on using data for integrated transport, where currently the technology is available but the leadership (the voice) behind it isn’t. This was a theme that came up again later in the day, with sentiment that there is not a clear entity at the top of the tree within connected transport, for example, to mandate the standards.  

We should strive for the best customer experience with the datasets currently available, whilst focussing ethically on what data we do and do not need access to. Open data is central to this, with the Rail Data Marketplace providing a great example of allowing the user to see what data is available and how to access it to build services.  

It was acknowledged that data sharing has risks and security challenges, where it largely needs to be anonymised to overcome challenges associated with it. While transport is seen by the Treasury as a new ‘smart data’ sector, we need to look at what data security looks like within transport, learning from other sectors such as banking and healthcare. 

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Left to right: Dr Phil Evans, Capita; Chacasta Pritlove, Google Cloud; Katherine Williamson, Department for Transport and Yatin Mahandru, Cognizant  

Quantum computing and positioning, timing and navigation 

Two other presentations followed this panel session, which looked at how quantum computing and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) could be the solutions to future issues within the sector. Quantum computing is poised to revolutionise the transport sector by leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics; it can enhance security, provide independent navigation, optimise operations, and promote sustainability. From secure communications to green logistics, quantum technology promises a smarter, more efficient future for transportation. Elsewhere PNT allows for accurate navigation ensuring safe travel, however new threats are emerging to disrupt signals and ‘spoof’ locations, an issue that is becoming of increasing concern to industry and governments alike.  

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Left to right: Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Transport (Roads) Minister and Neil Ross, techUK 

Net zero barriers 

This panel outlined that the UK’s ambitious net zero targets require significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the domestic transport sector, which is currently responsible for 29.1% of the country’s emissions. Transport plays a crucial role in achieving sustainability. It was raised that simply relying on a switch to electric vehicles to reach net zero won’t suffice; we must think beyond EVs and focus on systemic changes in how we travel. 

Achieving net zero mobility requires a shift in behaviour and a re-imagining of our relationship with transport. It’s not just about technology; it’s about people and place. We need to prioritise active travel, enhance public transport, and create sustainable urban environments. 

The panel emphasised the need for advance modelling and field trials to understand customer behaviours as they start to adapt to EVs, and the importance of public-private partnerships. 

The technology sector can assist to drive modal shift and electrification by collaborating with local authorities, universities, and research networks, with clear benefits to innovating in areas like micro-mobility, smart infrastructure and data-driven solutions. 

Decarbonisation isn’t just about reducing emissions; it’s about creating a holistic, equitable system and we should consider financing, operational costs and supply chains in a just transition to a low-carbon economy. The UK Government’s transport decarbonisation package includes measures to support EV adoption and sustainable aviation fuel production. Collaboration, investment, and policy support are critical for a greener transport sector on the path to net zero. 

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Left to right: Ben Gascoyne, Madano; Justin Balcombe, Breathe Points; Lucy Yu, Centre for Net Zero; Simon Shapcott, Atkins Realis and Mia Haffety, techUK.  


The conference reinforced that the transportation sector is more than just means of travel; it’s a catalyst for economic growth, job access, education, and mobility choices. However, disparities in public transport availability between London and other UK regions underscore the need for geographically tailored local delivery systems. 

When it comes to transport data, a proactive approach is needed. Transport data, often industry-centric, requires translation for end users. Building baseline blocks, improving accuracy, and fostering multi-disciplinary collaboration will pave the way for unlocking the power of data in driving innovation.  

Achieving net zero mobility requires behavioural shifts, systemic changes, and collaboration across sectors. Prioritising active travel, enhancing public transport, and embracing innovation are crucial steps toward a greener, more equitable and connected transport system. 

Reflections on Mobilise 2024 were kindly contributed by Joe Turner, Business Development Manager, at Shoosmiths.  

Smart Infrastructure and Systems Group

Our Smart Infrastructure and Systems Programme is the champion for smart infrastructure deployment and governance in the UK, and the economic and societal benefits that smart technologies can deliver.

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Ashley Feldman

Ashley Feldman

Programme Manager, Transport and Smart Cities, techUK

Ashley Feldman is the programme manager for transport and smart cities at techUK. Through working closely with the technology industry, his role is to promote the contribution of digital technology in driving positive outcomes for cities and transport. Through maintaining close ties to government, he also works to ensure the policy and regulatory conditions are optimised for businesses to scale innovation in the UK.

He is fascinated by cities and the built environment, having worked as a consultant on major regeneration projects across the country before joining techUK in 2022.

[email protected]
0201 331 2000

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