Welcome to the IRTE Conference 201206 November 2012

Welcome to this Transport Engineer special supplement, which distils a detailed report from the IRTE 2012 Conference, held at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon on 13 September.

With a packed agenda devoted to working out the best, most practicable strategies for cost-effective fleet operations, this was a turbocharged event, taking in a wide range of engineering and management issues, and providing insights for everyone.

You will, I trust, find equally useful ideas and advice in this publication, which may, in turn, help to steer improvements in your own operations. That is certainly our goal.

IRTE, as an organisation, is first and foremost devoted to supporting its members in road transport. To carry out this role, we encourage the industry to tell us what they need. Major IRTE projects, such as the irtec technician licensing scheme and IRTE Workshop Accreditation, are direct results of that process. The IRTE Conference 2012, the first of its kind, is in the same mould.

There are several challenges facing today's transport industry, and these were reflected in the session subjects, which focused not only on saving fuel and money, but also improving fleet efficiency in complementary ways, while also navigating regulatory compliance. With the upcoming Euro 6 emissions legislation, for example, operators may face increased capital costs, even if operational expenditure remains broadly flat. So, one of the key sessions focused on the issues behind the headlines.

There are so many people to thank. We were delighted to welcome senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell and VOSA chief executive Alastair Peoples as our keynote speakers. And it was gratifying to see so many industry experts giving their time, and sharing their knowledge and experience. Speakers dispensed advice on everything from driver management and Operator Compliance Risk Scores (OCRS) to aerodynamics, multi-fuel engines, tyre management, telematics and advanced steering and braking systems.

The IRTE Conference 2012 was a much-needed day of analysis and examination – of what works and what doesn't. I am proud that IRTE delivered, and continues to deliver, such value to our members and the wider industry.

In that spirit, I hope you find this special supplement valuable as you strive to tackle today's issues in road transport. You will find the collected wisdom of the best and brightest of our industry.

Nick Jones

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