ICE'S TRANSPORT board this week pledged to raise the profile of transport engineers within three years through a series of headline grabbing initiatives.
The first will be the launch of a 'robust case' for new high speed rail links in the UK, timed to coincide with the ICE's annual State of the Nation report in June (see News this week).
Transport is set to be the key theme of this year's report, and the ICE is to match the media and political interest generated by the energy issues raised last year (NCE 24 July 2003).
The board also plans to develop a layman's guide to road user charging in conjunction with the Transport Planning Society and the Institute of Highways & Transportation.
It is also considering whether to develop a case for London's east-west Crossrail scheme.
'Over the next two and a half years the transport board will deliver what the membership wants. And what the membership wants most is a greater profile for civil engineers, civil engineering and the ICE, ' said board chairman Huw Edwards.
The initiatives have been picked out by the board as those likely to generate most media impact and were agreed at the board's annual regional transport liaison meeting in Liverpool earlier this month.
The new policy will see the board produce fewer outputs, but those it does produce will be of higher quality and will be followed through, said Edwards.
'We will pick specific topics that we see as improving the profile. So rather than giving a response on absolutely everything we will give a better response on important issues - and that doesn't mean just a report but a policy statement that we follow through to the national and local media and with key policy makers and influencers, ' said Edwards.
He stressed that the learned society function of the board will not be lost. 'Rather, the new strategy is a way of improving the deliverables that we've been producing and nobody has been noticing.'
The plan to raise the board's - and hence the ICE's - public image forms part of a five year business plan to deliver the board's mission: 'To facilitate best practice in the delivery of transport infrastructure policy and solutions worldwide'.
A second objective of the five year plan is to increase the proportion of new ICE members with a transport background.
Key to this is dispelling the age-old myth that transportation professionals are unwelcome in the ICE, said Richard Larcombe, former ICE director of professional development and now manager of the Construction Industry Council's transportation vocational group.
The first initiative to tackle this will be a drive for more ICE reviewers with a transport background.
A further objective of the five year plan is better engagement in the ICE's regions, particularly those that are set to vote on elected regional assemblies later this year.
INFOPLUS If you would like to contribute to the high speed rail initiative contact Kate Davies (020) 7665 2231 or email kate. davies@ice. org. uk.