Campaign: Corporate/Public Affairs - Property firm speaks out on transport needs

Campaign: Back on track - or off the rails?

Client: Development Securities

PR team: The Communication Group

Timescale: November 2003-June 2004

Budget: Under £100,000

Development Securities is a publicly quoted property development company. The Communication Group has worked with the firm for several years. Objectives

To position Development Securities as a major property player with particular knowledge of urban regeneration issues. To enhance the company's profile across the property and investment communities.

Strategy and Plan

To give Development Securities an authoritative voice in the urban regeneration debate, The Communication Group recommended focusing on the issue of transport.

Last autumn, Imperial College London professor of transport and infrastructure Stephen Glaister and the London School of Economics Greater London Group director Tony Travers were commissioned to analyse the problems facing transport in the UK.

This included an in-depth study of the transport systems and their funding in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, making comparisons with the networks of New York and Paris.

Research culminated in a report entitled 'Back on track - or off the rails?' calculating that investment of £70bn would be required to prevent gridlock and restore the UK's transport infrastructure.

A separate report focused on London was also produced, drawing out the main research findings for the capital. As the research suggested a radical overhaul of transport funding and was therefore of potential interest, The Communication Group arranged an advance briefing with Government policy advisers. The story subsequently broke with an exclusive in London's Evening Standard, followed by a piece in BBC Radio 4's Today.

On 28 April, a launch event took place at The Savoy Hotel, headed by Crossrail chairman Sir Christopher Benson and featuring Glaister and Travers.

The audience included leading figures from the investment, political and property communities, as well as the media.

Measurement and Evaluation

More than 120 'VIPs' and opinion formers attended the launch event. Fifty-three media items were generated in outlets such as the Financial Times, the Evening Standard,The Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Express, Estates Gazette and Property Week, and on Radio 4 and FT.com.

Results

More than 2,000 opinion formers received the main report, which is now forming the basis of a meetings programme over the coming months.

Following the advance briefing at Number 10, meetings were arranged with the Department for Transport, the chairman of the Transport Select Committee, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Greater London Authority and London First.

Evening Standard transport editor Dick Murray says the report nailed down what should be done to cope with the large numbers of people flowing into and around the capital.

He adds: 'Obviously, because of our huge commuter readership, transport in London remains top of the circle, and anything detailing how much money - and where that money - needs to be spent forms a major story for us.'

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