Transport Committee winter resilience report highlights

I’m experimenting with Ghost. This is a cross-post from a Ghost installation I’m playing with.

The House of Commons Transport Committee has published a “Ready and waiting? Transport preparations for winter weather”.

It is quite succinct and worth a skim if this is an area that interests you.

To save you even that slight trouble I have picked out what I see as the highlights.

Keep it up everyone

Essentially the report has a message of “keep up the good work”.

For example

We welcome the progress made in improving the winter resilience of the third rail network south of the Thames.


It is widely acknowledged that the problem of insufficient salt stocks has been addressed.

The Committee wants transport operators and agencies to keep their noses to the grindstone though.

Continuous improvement must remain a priority for both Government and the transport sector, even if the weather this winter, and in the next few, is not severe. There is a risk that a few years of mild winter weather could lead to a false sense of security and reduce the sector’s preparedness over the longer term.

Messages for communicators

There are some recommendations that should be of particular interest to communicators in agencies and transport operators.

The committee has reviewed the response to the St Jude storm, in particular it is pleased that rail operators took the decision to announce that trains would not run until the storm had passed.

If used effectively, this approach will provide greater certainty to passengers and minimise the risk of passengers getting stranded away from home during severe winter weather.

This is no doubt correct but it will create significant communications pressures. As the report points out

In the aftermath of the storm, there were reports in
the media of passengers accusing the rail industry of overreacting.

Drivers need better and more timely information too says the committee (and has the Highways Agency in its sights for this one)

…there is a need for greater emphasis on the provision of accessible real-time information about road conditions and disruption. Such information is essential to prevent motorists getting stranded in their vehicles.

And community resilience gets a boost (though that term is not used).

The Government should more actively publicise its Snow Code at the start of each winter, for example through a national advertising campaign highlighting that the public can clear snow and ice from outside their homes without fear of legal action
and should consider doing so.

Local authorities are woven into the report and the LGA has already issued a response. Well done Brighton and Hove though for getting a specific mention

We also recommend that the Government promote examples of good practice and innovation, such as the use by Brighton and Hove City Council of a sit-on vehicle for clearing pavements.

Ghosting in the new year

New Year, new blogging platform.

I’ve been experimenting with a new blogging platform.

Do we really need a new blogging platform I hear you ask?

Especially when we have WordPress (which this blog is crafted upon).

Well some people think we do.

Why Ghost

I was pointed in the direction of Ghost by a colleague who also happens to be a JavaScript wrangler. No surprise then to discover that Ghost is built on node.js which is (and I quote):

a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

The upshot of all this is that it offers a very flexible platform for cleverer people than I to build awesome themes upon. Like this extremely excellent Ghost Stories theme.


It’s the now commonplace model of free if you download, or pay if you use their hosted solution. Installation on an Ubuntu box was not smooth but in the end this step-by-step guide was pretty good. Though don’t install the LAMP stack unless you have other needs for it. Node.js doesn’t need Apache and it gets in the way in horrible ways.

Probably the most obvious reason for firing up Ghost is that it enables you to write in markdown. If you like writing for the web then you will really love markdown.

I’ll let you know how I get on