Modeshift interviewed Honorary Member Anne Hardy, Road Safety and Sustainable Travel Manager at Hertfordshire County Council, to find out about current sustainable travel projects and much more.

How long have you been involved in sustainable travel?

I was introduced to the concept of sustainable travel when I joined Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) in 2001 as a School Crossing Patrol (SCP) Supervisor, a position I held for 11 years.  We see our SCPs, not only as a road safety provision, but also as a sustainable travel tool, with our SCPs helping 12,000 children to cross the road safely on their journey to school every day.  In 2012 I became a School Travel Adviser at HCC which introduced me to school travel plans and the difference they can make in encouraging behaviour change within school communities to achieve a shift away from car use towards sustainable travel, transferring my road safety skills into the role.  I supported schools with producing travel plans to accompany planning applications for new and expanding schools.  My role was to help achieve the County Council’s objectives of encouraging sustainable transport, increasing physical activity, reducing the number of road casualties (KSIs) and reducing highway congestion and pollution. I worked with stakeholders to promote safe and secure layouts in and around school sites to minimise conflict between traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, linking internal footpaths and cycle paths with external paths and roads.   During this time, Modeshift STARS was adopted by HCC and I ran several workshops to help our School Travel Plan Champions familiarise themselves with the system.

In 2015 I moved to Barnet Council, taking up the position of School Travel Adviser.  Using the TfL STARS system, I assisted in the development, promotion and submission of school travel plans, providing support for the implementation of actions.   Whilst at Barnet Council, I was appointed to the role of Road Safety Officer, running its SCP Service.  Through the implementation of education, training and publicity programmes, I contributed to the Council’s aim in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the borough’s roads.

In 2017 I returned to Hertfordshire County Council to become our Authority’s Road Safety Project Manager, again with the aim of reducing the number of those killed or seriously injured on our roads through education and training.  Since 2018 I have held the role of Road Safety & Sustainable Travel Manager for Hertfordshire County Council, managing our Active & Safer Travel Team, who work with schools and colleges to achieve Modeshift STARS accreditation.  Our Sustainable Travel Officers deliver a wide range of targeted active travel and road safety education programmes.  All educational establishments are encouraged to create a travel plan using the Modeshift STARS system on a voluntary basis at any time.

Programmes to build new schools and to redevelop or expand existing ones are an opportunity to ensure sites are well designed to support active and sustainable travel.  Educational establishments who’ve been granted planning permission are required to have an accredited Modeshift STARS travel plan to be in place for a minimum of seven years following first occupation.

Hertfordshire County Council must ensure it has the necessary resources to oversee the ongoing implementation and monitoring of each travel plan and does so by securing a Section 106 Travel Plan Evaluation and Support Contribution £1,500p.a. for the first 7 years following occupation for non Local Authority school developments.

In July 2020, our team was strengthened when colleagues, whose strengths include transport planning, joined our team, bringing with them expertise in responding to business and residential planning applications and to the travel plans associated with them.  In my current role, I oversee the management of Hertfordshire’s SCP Service and our Bikeability Scheme, both of which have been a challenge to deliver during the Covid19 outbreak, but, whilst observing social distancing requirements, we’re pleased to say that there has been very little interruption to delivering these services.

What have you most enjoyed about your job?

I do feel privileged to have a career in sustainable travel, even more so now because of HCC’s declaration of a climate emergency for the county in July 2019 and for being able to contribute to the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy which is currently being developed.  I feel my team and I are in the right place at the right time to be able to really make a significant contribution to this and many other HCC strategies developed to address health inequalities, to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents, to improve air quality and to create sustainable communities.  HCC’s target is to achieve clean air for all by 2030 and to be an environmental leader.  Several years ago, I was asked by a new manager what I did and I said “I make magic happen!”.   He was amazed at my response and wanted to know how I did that.  I said that, with the statutory duties Local Authorities have to promote sustainable travel and deliver road safety training and education, with the strategies and policies we deliver to and with the support of schools, colleagues and stakeholders, I can get children to walk, cycle and scoot to school.  I think that’s magic!”

What are you working on now and what’s next

Once HCC’s travel plans for our 3 main sites are signed off, my aim is for them to be monitored through the Modeshift scheme.  If I can get that agreed by Senior Management then, going forward, I feel we will be in a better position to encourage businesses to adopt the scheme.

What do you like about being a member of Modeshift?

I like the support Local Authorities receive from Team Modeshift which includes the Management Board, other LAs and partners.  Through Modeshift, the work of LA’s in achieving modal shift is captured, recognised and celebrated.  Being given the opportunity to share best practice is so helpful.  Modeshift is a trustworthy organisation, seeking to support its members and partners either through the Modeshift STARS travel plan system itself or through the community it’s created.  Thank you all.

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