Newcastle University’s Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems, Phil Blythe, has today been named as the Government’s new Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department for Transport.
Supporting the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, and his Ministerial team, Professor Blythe will provide strategic advice on Science, Engineering and Technology issues to ensure the UK’s transport system is sufficiently robust to meet future challenges.
Appointed to the part time position for the next three years, Professor Blythe officially starts his new role today and will split his time between London and Newcastle.
"The DfT has an exciting and challenging agenda for the delivery of new transport investment and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of this,” said Professor Blythe.
“I hope through my new role I will be able to advise on how we can bring the best of UK science, technology and engineering together to deliver these projects and achieve maximum benefit for the transport systems and economy in the UK.”
In his early career, Phil was recognised for his work in the areas of electronic tolling technology and smart payment systems.
More recently his research has focused on electric vehicles and the development of supporting infrastructure.
Working in collaboration with regional partners such as Nissan, Zero Carbon Futures and the local councils, Professor Blythe has been a key player in driving forward the North East’s bid to become the EV capital of the UK.
Now with over 1200 charging points, the highest level of EV adoption per head of population and a ‘smart’ traffic management infrastructure offering drivers advice about how and where they drive, Newcastle is leading the way in the transport revolution to become a centre of urban innovation.
Professor Blythe is also working with colleagues in Newcastle University’s Medical Faculty to develop assistive technologies, such as the work in DriveLAB which is supporting older drivers to continue driving safer for longer.
Newcastle University is a world leader in transport research and engineering. Bringing together experts in marine, rail and road transport the University’s research covers a range of key transport issues such as the implementation of sustainable, smart transport and intelligent infrastructure to new battery technology and safer public transport that can better withstand, for example, a terrorist attack.
Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Internationalisation at Newcastle University said: “This appointment recognises Phil’s expertise in intelligent transport and infrastructure which are key to the future of transport in the UK.
“Newcastle University’s vision is to be a world class, civic university – excellent at research and also committed to making sure that research has an impact on society. Phil’s new role is consistent with that vision and we wish him every success.”
Professor Blythe is also Chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Transport Policy Panel.
IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine, said: “Professor Blythe’s appointment as Chief Scientific Advisor is recognition of his vast expertise in intelligent transport.
“Over a number of years he has championed the role of intelligent transport and autonomous vehicles and the huge positive effects they will have on our lives. His combination of in-depth technical knowledge and a genuine understanding of how people, including the older population, can benefit from intelligent transport has been tremendously valuable to the IET and he will be a huge asset to the Government and specifically the Department for Transport.”
And Professor Blythe’s favourite journey?
"It’s actually the legendary 'Shields ferry' joining the north and south sides of the Tyne estuary. However a close second is the East Coast train service from Newcastle to London – which I guess I’ll be seeing a lot more of now.”
published on: 1 June 2015