John Austin

Developing a methodology to identify potential Mobility Hub locations in the South West region of England, using geographical modelling techniques and a wide range of datasets.

Focus of work

John is a transport consultant, focussing on public transport, and is a Chartered Geographer, an economist and a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster.

In 2003 he and another consultant, Peter Warman, conceived and developed the Mobility Hub concept and applied it to the UK, together forming the consultancy MobiHub Ltd to promote the concept.

At the same time the concept was also (separately) being developed and then rolled-out in the city of Bremen and elsewhere in parts of northern Europe and in Canada.

John’s research, carried out in conjunction with the University of Plymouth, will develop a methodology to identify potential Mobility Hub locations in the South West region of England, using geographical modelling techniques and a wide range of datasets.

The intention is that this methodology can then be applied more widely to other parts of the UK. The focus of the work will relate not just to personal travel, but also to Mobility Hubs as potential locations for potential shared workspaces.

Some interim results in relation to the latter will be shared in a paper which John will present at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) Annual International Conference in September 2021.

Impact

At long last, a huge interest has now developed in the UK in the potential that Mobility Hubs can offer in supporting smarter, more sustainable, lifestyles. They are particularly relevant to both Mobility as a Service and the ‘20-minute city’ concept.

It is intended that the output from John’s research will form a key element in a potential industry-wide toolkit to help deliver Mobility Hubs across the UK. Discussions are proceeding with relevant national and sub-national organisations to progress this.

John started his transport career as a National Bus Company (NBC) management trainee, where he initiated and implemented the Moorsrider leisure bus service over the North Yorkshire Moors – the precursor to the popular Moorsbus network.

After a subsequent role at NBC building statistical models to forecast bus demand he left transport for 10 years to work in data and strategy analysis in local government and industry.

Since returning to transport as a consultant he has developed specialisms in public transport information design and has worked across Europe and in Indonesia, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, including consulting for several international government organisations.

In 2000 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study public transport planning in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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