New CIHT President Highlights the Need to Take Climate Action – Making a Challenge to Transportation Professionals

Neil Johnstone - CIHT
Neil Johnstone

The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) is pleased to announce the election of Neil Johnstone as its new President for 2022 / 23. 

In a digital address CIHT’s new president called for a need for all transportation professionals to ‘take personal steps and help take action against climate change’.

Neil Johnstone, President, CIHT said: “Our new ways of working, and indeed living, are now embedded in our day-to-day lives. This great period of change has seen us embrace new technologies, work smarter and be prepared to try new things. This has presented CIHT with a great opportunity to use this new acceptance of change to continue to expand the support we give our members.”

“I have always been a great supporter of change management and throughout my career have always sought to have this as a focus. Climate Action is one of CIHT’s key themes and will need all of us to make changes if we are to rise to the challenge. And that challenge is clear.”

“Managed change has to be a better form of Climate Action than reacting to catastrophic change. We need to do things differently (using change management principles) to rise to the challenge of Net Zero and the decarbonisation of the transport industry. This is the time to show professional leadership and it is our role in the professions to hold up standards (and build public confidence).”

“We must also take personal action and accept that we must change. We cannot continue with what we have always done in a professional capacity if we are to provide the climate actions needed. Predict and provide, use of scarce resources, building our way out of a recession – these are not things we can do anymore if we really do want to achieve Net Zero.”

As part of CIHT’s year under Neil Johnstone, this increased focus on climate action will see the Institution:

  1. Raising awareness of the need for action and the need to embrace change;
  2. Embedding decarbonisation at the core of our CPD offer – by making it even easier for members to fulfil their commitments via CIHT Learn;
  3. Releasing a program of content that show how we must provide leadership in climate action;
  4. Leading by example – creating clearer mentoring paths for the future of our profession 

Additional Notes 

Neil Johnstone
Neil Johnstone has over 40 years of experience having worked in contracting, local government and consultancy. For 25 years Neil worked throughout UK for Halcrow/CH2M, becoming managing director of its activities in continental Europe where he oversaw work in a range of sectors including transport, energy and water. 

He studied civil engineering at Edinburgh University and went on the achieve a Masters at Glasgow University while working for Lothian Regional Council.

In 2015 he joined SYSTRA where he led the integration of the acquisitions of JMP and SIAS. In July 2017 he has launched his own venture (CONSULT-NJ LTD) offering services in transportation and business change.

Neil is a Fellow of CIHT, chartered engineer, member of ICE, as well as the Institute of Directors. He chaired the Central and Scotland Branch in 1998-99 and has served the local committee since, primarily through leadership of the Scottish Policy Forum. He became a trustee of CIHT in 2018 and chaired the Board of Appian and Learned Society Technical Strategy Board in 2021. 

Neil also served on National Council (2000 – 2003) and was Vice-chair of the Procurement and Network Management Boards. He was proud of his time with the inaugural Procurement Board when he helped to produce a guidance manual about procurement for younger members.

Neil has represented CIHT on Scotland’s National Transport Strategy (NTS2) Partnership Review Group and has co-chaired the Thematic Working Group on Safety and Resilience. In his consultancy role he is currently seconded to Transport Scotland where he has led the procurement of commissions such as the Strategic Transport Project Review (STPR2) and the national modelling and appraisal framework (LATIS).

His career has embraced various dimensions of transportation from design work on the Edinburgh City Bypass, road maintenance, traffic management and planning, to expert witness at the Edinburgh Congestion Charge Inquiry. He has experience in development planning, feasibility studies and appraisal of all modes including rail, road, busways, harbours and ferries. He was closely involved with seminal studies on rural roads in Scotland such as Fitting Roads, and prepared traffic forecasts for Skye Bridge.

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