I (Steve Carruthers) am a transport planner. I write business cases and transport strategies. In a world of long reports, endless process and workshops it is easy to get discouraged and lose sight of why I do this job.
I sometimes look back over projects I have worked on to remind myself that even when it takes years, some projects do get implemented and make a difference, regardless of the projects that go straight to the bottom draw or to the top of a dusty shelf.
I have recently seen a crash at a location where improvements were planned, but unfortunately lives were lost before the changes were made. It’s heart-breaking to know that improvements could have been made to make the intersection and surrounding environment safer. However, to be safe, the whole system needs to be safe. In this situation many parts of the system failed leading to a devasting outcome for a whole community.
This tragic event has reinforced to me the why. As a transport planner I have the opportunity to create a better transport system. Sometimes that is to find a better urban outcome, encourage economic opportunities, or to improve the resilience of the transport system. But it is also about saving lives by contributing to a safe system. With a young family of my own, that hits home a lot harder than it did before.
So my why is to create a better transport system and one that is safer for future generations. I will remind myself that when projects get difficult or frustrating, there is a reason to keep on going.
What is your why?