Home    WSP    Insight

Women at WSP work on exciting and impactful transport projects

Women at WSP work on exciting and impactful transport projects

 August 17, 2023

 Read time

Women at WSP work on many exciting and impactful transport-related projects.

One of these projects saw WSP women contribute to the UK's Climate Change Committee's Annual Progress Report to Parliament, where WSP drafted a supplementary report outlining the opportunities and challenges in promoting modal shift in the UK.

So who is the Climate Change Committee, and what is modal shift?

The UK's Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body that advises the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and reports to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change. The Committee commissioned WSP to conduct research into the types of interventions that can be successful in achieving modal shift from private cars to alternative modes and the barriers and opportunities for these to be effective in influencing people’s travel choices. This included a review of evidence on past and current interventions, a survey of public attitudes towards modal shift and focus groups with drivers who would be willing to switch modes for some journeys.

Modal shift can be deemed as a new way of thinking about the way we travel. It encourages innovation, sparking alternative means of transit that combat the problems incited by previous travel models. At its core, modal shift pushes people towards more sustainable transport to benefit society. Modal shift is the shifting of travel modes that humans go through based on a range of variables; both external and internal influences that impact the way we move. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the way in which people traveled drastically altered, with a decline in public transport and private car usage following the rise of working from home. To adopt modal shift requires a change in transit behavior and habits, and it can be difficult to achieve this without intentionality and focus. It will take the cooperation and commitment of governments and communities in order to create equitable and convenient transit access for all.

Travel behaviour change interventions needed to meet net-zero goals

The team at WSP included three talented women: Associate Director of Transport Decarbonization and Mobility, Melinda Matyas [pictured above]; Stakeholder Engagement Specialist; Becca Jenkins; and Consultant Annabel Moore.

"One of my favorite projects to work on so far at WSP! Great team working on important research about travel behaviour change interventions," commented Melinda.

Working to support the Climate Change Committee, Melinda said: "Our research for the Climate Change Committee highlights the importance of using a combination of behavioural change interventions to enable modal shift away from private vehicles to more sustainable modes. At present, we see many singular interventions being implemented without success, limiting our ability to meet the UK's net-zero goals."

WSP's work for the Climate Change Committee is a reminder that to meet the UK's net-zero ambitions, we should not simply rely on new technology but instead in the power of behavior change. Sustainable travel choices can be made by encouraging place-based policies by focusing on incremental change, and importantly by thinking about the needs of all users and the barriers they currently face.

WSP believes that traditional methods and models in transport rely on an overly simplistic understanding of how humans make decisions. This piece of work delved into the thought processes behind mode shift and started from the point of the end-user, rather than the technology, to research solutions and interventions that have people at the center.

WSP modal shift

Working to future-proof communities

WSP works with clients in the public and private sectors to future-proof communities by developing resilient and equitable transport and infrastructure. Throughout the project lifecycle, WSP is committed to advancing decarbonization and social equity while embracing collaborative approaches and digital solutions.

Drawing on over 130 years of technical excellence, WSP offers a holistic approach to the transport and infrastructure planning, advisory, design, and management. Utilizing a range of local services and extensive global experience, WSP delivers projects in urban and rural environments, in rail, transit, aviation, roads, bridges, tunnels, water, and maritime. 

WSP brings the latest technologies and a culture of innovation to its work to meet community needs for mobility, connectivity, sustainability, and resilience.

Forge an exciting transport career at WSP

WSP offers a holistic approach to transport and infrastructure planning, design and management.

Looking to work on award-winning projects at WSP?

Search all the current jobs with WSP.


Search jobs

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

  Linkedin     X     Instagram     Facebook     Press release 

Join our women's careers community