Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)



Country: UK

Name: John Miles

Company: World Road Association

Position: Honorary Member

ITS Course: MSc Transportation Engineering (1967-68), PhD (1972-75)

From 1996 until 2012 I was owner-director of Ankerbold International Ltd, a company associated with a number of pioneering projects in ITS  in the UK and Europe. I am a founder member of the Transport Associates Network, a group of independent UK transport consultants that we established in 1997. 

The MSc was my opening to Local government transportation planning and traffic engineering. After 4 years I returned to Leeds as a mature student and went on to complete a PhD in Road Transport and the Environment in 1975 under the supervision of the late Bill Houghton-Evans. Bill was an architect planner associated with the Leeds ITS in its early days, under the leadership of Professor Coleman O'Flaherty. To read more on the history of ITS click here

On completing my PhD studies I joined the Transport and Road Research Laboratory and worked there for 8 years. In 1982 I moved to Department of Transport headquarters in Westminster where eventually I became the DoT London Region Director for Road Network Management (1991 – 1994).

In 1994-96 I was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels to work on plans to exploit the results of European research into road transport telematics (PROMETHEUS and DRIVE) and I established an international reputation as one of the pioneers of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). In 1996 I left government service to set up my own consultancy specialising in the organisational and institutional aspects of ITS. I stopped doing fee-paid work in 2016 but I remain an editorial advisor to the World Road Association (a.k.a. PIARC) for their on-line handbook on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and Road Network Operations.

I choose to study my particular course (now called MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering) and the University of Leeds because I was seriously considering a town planning course at Aston Polytechnic in Birmingham (now Aston University) but Prof. O’Flaherty persuaded me with the offer of a Science Research Council studentship that was not means tested! 

The best aspect of the course and the University were my fellow students on the course (Paul Luscombe, Chris Longley) and the arrival of Gerry Leake to lecture in transportation planning.

Outside of my studies I was a member of the Leeds branch of International Voluntary Service where I met my wife and made some life-long friendships while studying for my MSc in 1967-68.

To students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds and/or thinking about the same career I would say “just go for it!”