Musings of a Transport Planner: How to be brave

Rachelle De Mesa was one of the volunteers who kindly spared her time to help out at Transport Planning Camp. Here, she provides her thoughts on what she learned from the day, and the inspiration that she took.

Through transport planning, we have the opportunity to influence and build the city of tomorrow — but how can we build the city of tomorrow if we don’t know the people at first hand?

This year I had the opportunity to attend and volunteer at the first ever Transport Planning Camp (TPC). An unconference purely built on the unknown, enabling the exchange of ideas, thoughts and opinions without restraints. An event where I was able to freely talk about what matters to me. The energy throughout the day was immense, there was a good mix of people and it was great fun to be a part of!

People from different sectors of the industry were involved, from consultants to academics as well as enthusiasts. The conversations were stimulating. Connections were made. Collaboration was unhindered. It was simply a great atmosphere to be in.

What I enjoy most about the unconference format is that it breaks away from conventional conferences and everybody is equally involved and included. It is an event that helps build communities; where passion, creativity and enthusiasm results in a culture of innovation.

The one key takeaway that I have learnt from TPC is that you have to be assertive in what you believe in. There are still many people in the sector whom are still very traditional in their practices which is leading to the essence and value of transport planning getting lost in the fast-changing world. Nonetheless, it was empowering to know that during this event, we were all in unison by coalescing on a vision for transport planning as a whole while also agreeing to make an individual change. I believe that TPC is a sort of movement that goes beyond the traditional facets of the transport sector as it has the power and potential to break transport planning free from archaic standards and practices.

The impact of transport in our society is significantly big, so how do we actually build cities for tomorrow?

Be brave and take a stand. Pursuing what the people actually need. Creating cities where importance is placed on the people. Taking that one step without compromising the needs of future generations, and I believe that first step was already taken at TPC.