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Q&A: SEA’s New Transport Leadership Team Join at a Crucial Time for the Industry

30 Mar 2022

We are delighted to welcome two new members to our Transport leadership team, Alastair Cobb, who joins as Head of the Transport Business Unit and Mark Rackley-Lee, Portfolio Manager for Transport Systems Development.

Having joined SEA in the past couple of months, Alastair and Mark bring significant expertise and experience from within the transport and engineering industries to the company, supplementing the knowledge held by our existing team over our capabilities and customers.

The new leadership team will be responsible for guiding the Transport business unit through an exciting time for the industry and for our customers. We recently sat down with Alastair and Mark to discuss their vision for SEA’s transport solutions and why they are excited to be on board.

Q: Welcome to SEA! Could you give us a quick rundown of your new roles?

Alastair Cobb: Thank you! It’s great to have joined SEA - both Mark and I are excited for what the future holds for our section of the business. As Head of the Transport Business, I will oversee all of the elements of sales, marketing, engineering, and delivery for our transport solutions. During my career I’ve held numerous senior leadership roles in engineering organisations with responsibilities spanning all aspects of the business. I have specialised in operational and delivery performance, covering a broad range of domains, including transport systems in road, rail, and air, connected vehicles and complex data-intensive systems.

Mark Rackley-Lee: And I’ve joined SEA as Portfolio Manager for Transport Systems Development, focusing on key client relationships. As part of the newly formed management team, I’ll also be responsible for developing our innovative intelligent transport enforcement systems, which enable our customers to improve sustainability, safety, and congestion on their roads. I’ve held similar roles in the transport industry for the past 13 years, focusing predominantly on passenger transport.

Q: What excited you about joining SEA?

MRL: SEA’s transport systems are highly regarded in the industry, so it was a fantastic opportunity to come here and work with them myself. SEA is a solutions-focused company with significant heritage in the transport industry, the business is also unique as it brings best practice and cutting-edge technology from the defence side of the business to support the engineering and software design aspects of our transport solutions. I’m looking forward to working closely with key customers to understand their challenges because I really do believe we have the technological capability to develop outstanding solutions.

One of these challenges, which is also a major opportunity, is the upcoming changes to Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act. This allows Local Authorities to apply for powers to enforce Moving Traffic Contraventions such as stopping in yellow box junctions, making banned turns, and exceeding weight restrictions. This was previously handled by the police under criminal law, but soon, these enforcement powers and consequently the ability to improve road safety and reduce congestion will be available to Local Authorities. These organisations will need the support of companies like SEA to develop their infrastructure and technology in this area.

AC: Mark’s absolutely right, this is a big opportunity for Local Authorities. Whilst the process of applying for and then implementing Designation Orders is not trivial, the potential benefit is huge. With our experience of providing solutions to enforce these contraventions for several years now, and the flexibility of our new smarter enforcement technology, SEA is perfectly placed to enable our Local Authority customers to benefit from these changes.

In my short time here at SEA so far, I’ve been impressed by the expertise of the team. They know the technology inside out, have developed productive, close relationships with our customers, and have a complete grasp on their issues and challenges.

Additionally, we’re currently in the midst of a paradigm shift in transport. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, developments in active- and micro-mobility are already starting to change how people move about our urban areas, and crucially how the various new modes of transport share public space with pedestrians and more traditional vehicles. Meanwhile, with the advent of 5G, and technologies such as machine learning, data analytics, and connected and electric vehicles reaching maturity, the opportunities for dynamically managing that space are rapidly expanding, as well as provoking a radical rethink of how we use our curb-side space. All of these changes bring significant new challenges to the management of traffic.

However, especially when integrated with the complementary concepts that form Smart Cities, in my view, we’re now really seeing the Intelligent Transport Systems industry begin to reach its full potential. With SEA’s mission to provide customers with the best tools possible for maximising road safety and air quality, and minimising congestion, it will be an important player in this new era. Harnessing my experience in the digital and data space, we’re looking forward to further developing SEA’s role in this exciting, emerging arena.

Q: You mentioned upcoming changes to the Moving Traffic Contravention regulations, how do you foresee that affecting the traffic enforcement industry?

MRL: The new legislation, which we expect to come into force in 2022, is a complete shift in the way that Moving Traffic Contraventions are enforced. It is going to open up a new avenue for Local Authorities to improve safety and reduce congestion within their regions.

Whereas centrally managed resources have not previously been able to access the income from Penalty Charges to enable them to enforce such rules at scale, Councils now have the opportunity to do just that. Whilst it will initially be necessary to issue warning notices to first-time offenders, enforcement will rapidly recover the initial investment and allow the local community and road users to benefit from the many advantages of effective enforcement. A deterrent, like one of our enforcement cameras, will help to improve driver behaviour and make roads safer where it is deployed. Efficient traffic management also provides environmental benefits, for example, through helping to reduce congestion, so there are many reasons for Councils to think seriously about applying for these new powers.

Q: How can SEA support local authorities through these changes?

AC: Using our ROADflow Fusion camera as an example – it is a cost-effective, all-in-one solution for all types of traffic enforcement and can enable Local Authorities to enforce Moving Traffic Contraventions. It uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to track vehicles in multiple lanes by their number plate and identify when a contravention has occurred.

Our technology can help to reduce congestion, increase sustainability through the implementation of Clean Air Zones, and crucially, maintain safety by encouraging improved driver behaviours and enforcing areas such as School Keep Clear zones.

With a wide array of mobile and fixed deployment options, we can work with authorities to provide the solution that works best for them and their particular enforcement needs. We understand that no two traffic enforcement requirements are the same, but our multi-purpose attended and unattended systems can ensure that councils make the most of the upcoming legislation changes.

We also know that customer requirements can change. Once our systems have helped a Local Authority to improve driver behaviour at one location, SEA can redeploy the camera to cover a different site and contravention. We provide the enforcement capability, but also work with our customers to use it as effectively as possible.  

Q: How can people get in touch with the team to discuss their situation?

AC: You can find out more about our innovative transport solutions here, and contact the transport team to discuss your own traffic enforcement requirements here: roadflow@sea.co.uk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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