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Thursday 1 September 2022

The first internship at Midlands Connect

This year, Midlands Connect is taking on its first cohort of interns. Frances Chatto describes the work experience she gained from Midlands Connect over the past few weeks

I have just finished my second year at the University of Nottingham studying BSc Business Management. During my summer, I undertook an eight-week transport planning internship at Midlands Connect.  Here, I was exposed to various departments and projects, including green finance, smart ticketing, rail research, socioeconomic research, and data analysis with a strong focus on electric vehicle charging points.

The work I am most proud of during this time is my input into the EV charging tool, where I, alongside another intern, conducted a walking accessibility analysis. Using postcodes from across the West Midlands we used online mapping software to find the top 10 closest fast and rapid charging points. We then, with the help of Matt (Principal Data Analyst), were able to code this into the online tool, which has now been released to multiple councils across the West Midlands.  

Another interesting project was researching different councils’ local transport plans (LTPs) and looking at how they are planning to improve access to rail networks, either by reopening old stations, or increasing public transport links to the station. The LTPs also included details of infrastructural and service improvements. Being someone from the rural East Midlands who frequently uses trains, it was very interesting to research and thus compile a database of these plans, to see how these changes will affect rural mobility in my area and consequently connect my area to many other parts of the Midlands and the rest of the UK.

We were also fortunate enough to attend several out of office trips. We attended a meeting with the Rail Research Team at the University of Birmingham which focused on micro mobility, alternative fuels and energy, economic research, MaaS and smart freight. We also participated in our first ‘centre of excellence’ at the Nottingham City Council building. Here we had presentations about the LEVI bid and SOBC, an EV infrastructure tool demo, smart ticketing presentation and finally a presentation and demonstration about the future of 5G with robot dogs and AR headsets. Finally, we were lucky enough to visit the HS2 HQ in London to learn about the economic business case for HS2, and the cost-to-benefit ratio involved in the HS2 planning. We also visited the DfT office in London to hear about the current work happening in the transport industry.

Overall, I had an enjoyable time at Midlands Connect, with friendly, helpful employees and feel like I had a fantastic insight into the transport industry, which is something I’d now definitely consider a career in after graduation.

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