Turing Lecture: Smarter Cities

Date: Tuesday 22 November
Time: 1:30pm – 5:00pm

Registration: Prior online registration is compulsory





Watch the live stream here: bit.ly/TuringLive

Recordings will also be made available on our YouTube channel following the event.


In this Turing Lecture, Department of Transport’s Professor Phil Blythe will discuss the effects of evolving techniques in the transport sector, and how they are being implemented to change the way we travel. Whilst Sir Alan Wilson will discuss the history of cities and the ground-breaking techniques that are being implemented to revolutionise the future of cities, and benefit our everyday lives.


Phil BlytheSpeaker One: Professor Phil Blythe

Understanding the potential for big data in making transport services smarter in cities


With the rapid advancements in technologies that can be applied to deliver transport differently, we are on the cusp of something exciting, with the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and how we deliver transport services in the future. This talk will examine the use of sensing, and other IoT sources, to collect and generate large amounts of transport related data, the analysis of this data, and its use to deliver more joined up and ‘smarter’ transport. Coupled with this: the move towards automated systems; changes in demographics, use and ownership; new innovations in business models and the drive to decarbonise the transport sector – all will shape future transport and raise their own challenges. In this lecture, Phil Blythe will discuss the elements that are shaping future transport and consider how big data and data analytics are at the centre of the changing face of transport, whilst setting out some questions and challenges to The Alan Turing Institute and the wider analytical community.

Professor Phil Blythe CEng, FIET is Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of Transport (DOT) and Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) at Newcastle University. In his role at the DOT he provides a challenge function to the Department on the use of science and engineering evidence in policy making and also ensuring the Department is best informed on new innovations and technologies that may impact on the delivery of transport schemes.  Through the CSA network he also ensures that there is significant cross-government cooperation on science, engineering and technology issues.

At Newcastle University Phil’s research portfolio covers a wide range of areas where ITS has been applied to transport. His primary research is forward looking and attempts to bridge the technology-policy gap in terms of what technologies may evolve to meet future policy objectives or indeed influence future policy thinking, particularly in the smart city/smart transport domain.

Internationally, Phil manages a portfolio of research projects funded by the EPSRC, Europe, Industry and Government. He is a member of the ERTICO (ITS Europe) Supervisory Board and advises the Commission on ITS research strategy.  Phil was, until recently, a member of the ITS World Congress Board of Directors and the Scientific Papers Review Committee.  He chairs the IET’s Transport Policy Panel and has acted as an advisor to the UK and European governments in various areas of intelligent transport and more recently also in the connected and autonomous vehicles, electromobility and smart cities agendas.

In March 2012 Phil was awarded the Reece-Hills Medal for a lifetime personal contribution to ITS.

Alan WilsonSpeaker Two: Sir Alan Wilson

The Science of Cities: past, present and future

The study of cities – understanding their structure and evolutionary history – provides one of the grand challenges of 21st century science. Mathematical and computer models offer a significant contribution to understanding this science, which has applications in sectors such as transport and retail, and can even underpin city planning. In this talk, Sir Alan Wilson will give a brief account of the history of these developments, followed by illustrations of the current state of science – from modelling the functioning city to the challenges of dynamics and evolution – and the potential future of modelling capabilities, computing power and the impact of the ‘Big Data’ revolution.


Sir Alan Wilson FBA, FAcSS, FRS is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London and has recently been appointed CEO of The Alan Turing Institute. He is Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council and was recently Chair of the GO-Science Foresight Project on The Future of Cities.

Sir Alan was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1991 to 2004, then Director-General for Higher Education in DfES. From 2007-2013 he was Chair of the AHRC Council. He was knighted in 2001.

He was responsible for a number of techniques in urban modelling which are now commonly applied, such as the use of “entropy” in building spatial interaction models. He rigorously deployed accounts’ concepts in demography and economic modelling.

His current research, supported by EPSRC grants, is on the evolution of cities and the dynamics of global trade, migration, security and development aid; in each case connecting the science to planning and policy development. There are significant opportunities to enhance urban modelling and its planning applications through integration with the wider data science field.