From early in her career Suzanna has set out to understand what it takes to design better places for people, ensuring that transport and mobility options can be more sustainable for the environment, convenient to the user and inclusive for society.
Now three years into her career with WSP she is working with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to help them to develop a refreshed way of thinking about transport and mobility with a focus on low carbon solutions . Rather than focus on technology-led solutions alone, their approach favours interventions that are right for the end user.
The provision of an e-scooter sharing platform or a connected autonomous shuttle service , for example, is not a solution in and of itself. Instead, Suzanna finds that they need to be considered as part of a more holistic set of solutions, recognising who the users will be and the kind of activities they undertake. Another benefit Suzanna has learnt is that focusing on the end-user tends to lead to commercially viable solutions as they serve an unmet demand. In this light, the most appropriate transport decarbonisation solution may be one that minimizes the need for travel, like a parcel locker, an online medical appointment or a neighbourhood workspace available for on-demand booking, for instance.
Suzanna hopes this approach will offer benefits wider than low-carbon mobility, translating into better thought-out places, more sustainable living habits, and more time spent with loved ones.
"If we think not just how, but also why, when and where people travel, an intervention is more likely to have a large impact on people’s lives. The COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 in particular has highlighted the need to be agile, collaborative and empathetic, to ensure our solutions are rooted in reality and conform to the ever-changing needs of the user."
Suzanna has found her time on this project to be a huge learning curve, enabling her to further her understanding of agile project management, internal and external commercial operations, and a design thinking approach. This design thinking helps to design for a target group by studying and empathising with their needs to create solutions better suited for the intended user. It requires ‘outside the box thinking’ and has enabled an innovative way of addressing the carbon impacts of the transport system.
Suzanna is delighted to be part of WSP’s Future Mobility team in an exciting and dynamic role, where each day brings different tasks, conversations, challenges and opportunities! You can find out more about Suzanna’s work as part of the Future Mobility team online.