New survey shows ITS puts brave face on the crisis

Dominic Browne

A quarter of the private sector membership of ITS (UK) has reported the coronavirus crisis has already had 'a significant effect' on their businesses, with only one in 10 saying it has had no effect yet.

The organisations responded to a survey from ITS (UK) on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), which is gauging the sector’s challenges in order to coordinate its response.

More than half of the companies were confident that their business would return to normal when the crisis is over, with only a tenth 'very worried' about the future.

The survey also found three-quarters had lost business, with work put on hold and contract awards deferred, but only a third have so far furloughed staff or cut pay.

ITS UK revealed that despite the obvious uncertainty, however, most private sector members said the initial impact 'has not been too severe' and they remain cautiously optimistic about recovery provided the crisis does not last too long.

'Government intervention has provided a measure of support, but it is clear some members, such as company directors, are ineligible for help. The survey suggests more clarity about forward investment for research and infrastructure is needed from central and local government,' ITS UK said in a statement.

'There is also widespread agreement that the industry should work to ensure that the decrease in transport use, particularly traffic levels, is not completely reversed once the crisis is over. The ITS industry should, they believe, work to promote solutions to retain some of the reduction.'

The members also suggested that Government spending on infrastructure will make a big difference to the recovery of the sector if delivered as planned.

Positives from the change in circumstances may seem few and far between, but some survey respondents suggested it had led to efficiencies from more digital working and using the time to review strategy and goals.

'While it is very concerning to see the numbers of members reporting negative effects of the current crisis, it is not surprising given the huge changes we have all had to make,' commented Jennie Martin, ITS (UK) secretary general.

'However, what is heartening is the can-do attitude of members and their overall optimism for the future. Any member struggling at all can rest assured that ITS (UK) will do all it can to help, and across all our members we hope to learn from this crisis and find some positive outcomes.'

There were 70 responses to the survey, out of ITS UK's 140 members. 

The DfT is now examining the responses and using them to help shape their overall reaction to support the transport industry at this time.

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