11 November 2021
Roz Bird has invited local and central government officials to tap into the Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC) membership’s expertise to help address infrastructure challenges, particularly in transport and mobility, across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.
MEPC’s Roz, STC Chair and also Commercial Director at Silverstone Park, was part of a ‘Wicked Challenges’ panel during an England’s Economic Heartland conference at Silverstone Circuit’s Wing building. The audience comprised transport, planning and commerce professionals, including senior local authority figures.
She commented: “I feel that the business voice is missing from these supra regional discussions about transport and investment in mass rapid transport.
“England’s Economic Heartland’s (interim) Director Naomi Green is a very good operator and I think the local business community can work with her to put the case to the Treasury for greater investment in transport to address social inclusion issues and the levelling up agenda.”
Roz agreed with comments made at the conference by Campaign for Better Transport’s Silviya Barrett that those without access to a car potentially miss out on career opportunities.
“If young people can’t travel easily, what are they missing out on?” said Roz. “I’m conscious of that in our school’s programme (Inspiration for Innovation)…
“When we are talking with students, about where they could go to college, and study engineering, we are conscious that, to access the best courses, they need to travel, from where they live, and that will cost and therefore presents a barrier.
“It’s no good just talking about these issues – we need to take action.”
She added: “We know that there is a serious climate challenge and to address this we need to think differently. We have a successful business community, expert in problem-solving, at Silverstone Park, in the STC and across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc ‘Super Cluster’, and we want to help and be part of the solution.”
In addition to the STC membership’s expertise in advanced engineering, electronics and software development, Roz believes that big data and artificial intelligence should also be used to improve the transport network. The STC is starting to work successfully with MKAI to explore the benefits of advanced engineering and cognitive technologies coming together.
She continued: “I think one thing we need to do is provide people with data, daily, about their carbon footprint. If we want to effect change then we first need to understand what we do now, how that compares to others and what changes we can make, small and large, to start heading in the right direction.
“If we all had access to an app that gave us that personal carbon footprint data then we could start making informed choices. It does not mean we would not go on a plane on holiday, for example, just that we acknowledge, when we book the flight and take that journey, what that does to our carbon footprint and therefore to the climate.
“People can do the same things they’ve done but be more conscious of the affect they are having when they take those actions.”