Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Profile

 

Alan Beswick

Country: UK

Name: Trevor Hartley

Company: Birmingham City Council

Position: Head of Financial Strategy (Revenue) – retired September 2013

ITS Course: MSc Transport Planning and Engineering 1975, PhD Transport Economics 1980

My main responsibilities at Birmingham City Council included coordinating the planning of the revenue budget across the council, regular monitoring and reporting of expenditure against the budget, council-wide business planning, including public consultation and managing applications for specific corporate funds.

While there is no obvious direct link between my last job and the ITS course, my analytical and problem solving skills were improved by my time in the ITS.  Of particular value were cost/benefit analysis and economic evaluation, which are relevant to all proposals within a council for new or extended developments or activities, or indeed cuts in services.  The statistics part of the course gave me a good grounding which has continued to be useful through the years.

My PhD research helped to develop my self-motivation, a questioning and challenging approach and report writing.  My interest in costing has continued since my PhD.  The work introduced me to computers and programming, which have been part of my work ever since.

I wanted to switch from commercial vehicle production (British Leyland) to transport operation.  I saw the MSc course as a useful bridge between the two.  At the time (1974) I considered that Leeds was the leading university in transport courses.

During the MSc course I became interested in an academic career and thought that a PhD would be an advantage for that.  In the event, I did not follow an academic path for long (two research officer contracts) but moved into transport consultancy.

I was lucky to receive generous grants during my studies at Leeds; I imagine that these no longer exist. There is however, an alumni bursary and other transport scholarships available.  Therefore potential students should consider what they want to happen at the end of the course and check with employers that the ITS course is a suitable way of reaching their goal.  Students should select a course that includes the specific knowledge/skills that they wish to acquire.