Personalised Travel Accounts are Key to Building a Sustainable Economy

We need to get much better at translating top level policy goals into mainstream practice. This was the message from Loop Connections Director Derek Halden when speaking in Poland last week. Top level policy goals for mega-cities, sustainable development, lifestyle change and technology development require a new focus on personalisation to deliver simple, acceptable, resilient and efficient transport and logistics. Derek was speaking at the inaugural lecture to students of Logistics and Transport in Wroclaw, Poland.

Our industry needs to deliver for people and businesses within a complex interconnected world of business and social networks, electronic and information networks, and administrative and governance systems.Some of the leading practice to manage the incentives for change comes through offering more personalised customised services. You cannot change everyone all of the time but you can always change some people some of the time.

Derek highlighted that we have been working with citizens in the UK to develop personal and business travel accounts which allow us to target benefits at the people and businesses who are best able to reduce pressure transport systems. Customising services enables large reductions in the demand for long distance transport through more local value chains. In our work to regenerate struggling towns we have found that the cost of the incentives is less than a tenth of the immediate commercial benefits which can be delivered as a result. Instead of offering more transport we grow our businesses by offering less transport and instead add value in other ways.

Added value services such as packaging for products, accommodation for people, and other bundled offers have the potential to complete what we call the circular economy where zero waste is managed as a service. If we think about the intensity of global dialogue on sustainable development over the last 20 years, and reflect that logistics and transport has provided many of the most practical business models for delivery, then we understand the scale of the opportunity open to our profession. Transport has long been recognised as the glue that holds the economy together. The sector is increasingly building sustainability from the bottom up.

One of the keys to this future success will be simplicity. The world has become incredibly complex. People don’t believe that they can make a difference and want a simpler world where they feel more valued. People crave simplicity where they can trust more people and businesses more of the time. In logistics and transport we already understand local communities very well but we don’t yet use the knowledge as we could. The postman delivering parcels, and bus or taxi drivers have the local knowledge.

As our world faces new challenges some argue that we need a shift away from efficiency maximisation to vulnerability mitigation and resilience. However as we build more circular business models the apparent conflicts between efficiency and resilience become less important.  The UK access to services partnerships have shown us how to manage the trade-offs to deliver resilience alongside efficiency, personalisation, and simplicity. Access to fresh food projects delivered under accessibility plans have brought together supermarkets with communities, local authorities and food producers and the outcomes have included local community food production supporting more resilient and more profitable supply chains.

The full lecture is available here.


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