A Farewell Note from Your Outgoing Chair

Ryan Hood
Digital Highways Leader, Arup

Dear ITS UK Members,

As my three-year term as Chair of ITS UK has drawn to a close, I find myself looking back on the journey with pride and a deep sense of gratitude.

Stepping into this role in April 2020, following several years as Vice Chair, my personal aims were straightforward: to uphold the legacy of my predecessor, ITS UK Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Ian Patey, ensure the views of our members were heard and actioned inside the organisation, represent ITS UK to the wider world, and ensure a future-ready organisation. That was the plan; however, the backdrop was to be anything but stable.

In the preceding December we’d had a General Election, then in March 2020 we entered our first lockdown in response to COVID-19. What followed were multiple lockdowns, our formal exit from the EU, the escalation of the war in Ukraine, inflation and a cost a living crisis, countless encounters with recession, and the heartfelt loss of Queen Elizabeth II. Amidst this whirlwind, we can be rightly proud of what we have achieved – the role our industry and our members have played in keeping people, goods and the economy moving, and of how the ITS UK team, both staff and volunteers, have represented and supported our members during these challenging times.

We’ve witnessed a rapid transformation in the transport industry, driven by an emphasis on sustainability and digitalisation. We’ve seen first-hand how agile our transport landscape can be, with road space reallocated to encourage walking and cycling. We’ve been part of the drive towards a greener future, propelled by initiatives like the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the COP26 summit.

Digital transformation of the sector has continued to gather pace, with the proliferation of sensors, location-based services and data, significant and potentially ground-breaking advancements in data science and AI, the emergence of new communication technologies such as 5G and broadband satcom, and the continued expansion of cloud. It’s my firm belief that ITS UK is well placed to promote our sector and members, to help us benefit from this transition, acting as the glue between the improved transport outcomes and more integrated transport system we all desire and the digital technologies that will enable it to happen.

Reflecting on this time, I’m delighted with how far we have come. We’ve significantly amplified our engagement with external stakeholders, particularly Central Government and the broader political sphere. Our dedication to decarbonisation and sustainable transport has deepened. Membership growth has been significant, with a 25% increase from 120 to 150 members, paving the way for enhanced collaboration. Our commitment to a weekly event and the update of the ITS UK Articles of Association stand as strong pillars for our future operations.

Three highlights stand-out. Our move to digital and hybrid events in response to the pandemic demonstrated our agility and responsiveness to membership needs. The recognition of our former leader, Jennie Martin, with an MBE was not only a personal triumph for Jennie, but a testament to the dedication of ITS UK staff, volunteers, and the impact of our work. The smooth transition to our new operational leadership under Max Sugarman, complete with a rebrand and a suite of new services, has showcased our readiness for the future.

However, there are still milestones to be achieved. Encouraging greater diversity, furthering our Decarbonisation and Sustainability agenda, and continually modernising our organisation should remain high on our agenda.

Through my shared experiences with your new chair Stuart Scott, Max, our volunteer topical and board directors and forum teams, and of course ITS UK staff, I can assure our members that the organisation is in safe hands.

In stepping back, I would like to express my personal thanks to our staff and volunteers, and of course all our members. I look forward to continuing to advocate for the organisation, supporting Stuart, Max, and the Board, making better transport through technology a reality.

Thank you once again for an unforgettable experience. And here’s to a bright future for ITS UK.


Ryan Hood

May 2023