The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) has announced the launch of a new platform for sector collaboration, providing the kind of support missing from the industry since the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme was disbanded.
In late 2019, the IHE was approached by an industry freelancer, Helen Blood, looking for support to deliver a concept for an industry-wide online collaboration platform.
As a key organisation supporting the highways industry, then IHE chief executive Richard Hayes immediately saw the potential for such a platform and discussions commenced.
Work is now well underway with JAMP Digital to deliver a new web-based communications platform dedicated to the Highways/ITS community.
The ‘talkmobility’ concept is based on a ‘by the community, for the community’ approach and will serve all those delivering services and schemes across highways networks.
It will be a not-for-profit platform without no advertising, focusing on knowledge sharing and ‘filling the gap’ as industry members retire and take a lot of knowledge with them that has not been transferred to the next generation.
IHE has engaged with industry to gauge a level of interest and the concept has been very well received by Department for Transport members, local authority highways teams and the private sector.
The initial concept was based purely on a forum-based platform supported by white papers, guest blogs and case studies, however, we have been asked if we can include a ‘find a freelancer’ area and a ‘new products/marketplace’ section to help the community find information and colleagues simply and quickly.
The platform will not compete with current industry websites, which hold specific information and documentation for members or commercial websites that provide news and journalistic features.
The vision is for ‘talkmobility’ to act as an umbrella platform feeding from and to websites provided by industry bodies and private sector organisations.
• Retaining the essence of the ‘bulletin boards’ approach through a modern-day online environment with relevant industry forums supported by a wider knowledge base
• An online ‘information exchange’ for the highways/ITS community - local authorities, Highways England, DfT, industry bodies/groups and private sector
• A neutral, not for profit solution delivered by the industry for industry
• A central source taking relevant input from, and providing links to the multiple industry bodies/groups (i.e. DfT, IHE, CIHT, ICE, ADEPT, TTF, LGTAG, LCRIG, ARTSM etc.), private sector and industry media
• A multitude of organisations are providing a lot of information across several platforms which often creates too much ‘noise’ to quickly filter in the limited available time
• Skills and resources continue to diminish while the next generation also expects online availability of information and the ability to have multi-way communication with industry colleagues and experts
• No ‘single source’ of information or knowledge exchange is currently available to ensure the industry benefits from the resources, technology and innovation currently available
• As an industry we need to have a simple and dedicated solution for sharing information, best practice and challenges to deliver effective transport network management today and in the future
• An online forum with ‘bulletin’ boards, guest blogs and case studies (with a keyword search function)
• User accounts for individuals, organisations and companies
• Fully moderated by ‘talkmobility’ facilitators
• Linked to industry bodies
• Delivered, operated and maintained by the independent freelancers as facilitators of the forum that will be owned by the IHE
• Provides a communication and information platform dedicated to the highways/ITS community that will further enable knowledge transfer, sharing of best practice and skillsets across the industry
• Encourages industry engagement at the right level (not a commercial platform)
• Further support industry organisations through active and regular engagement with the highways/ITS community
For more information on how to get involved you can contact the IHE or firstname.lastname@example.org.