Three-day rail season tickets to support flexible working, designing transport hubs to encourage safe post-pandemic social interaction, and securing better air quality through design are just some of the ideas proposed by young infrastructure professionals as part of a programme run by the National Infrastructure Commission.

The Commission’s inaugural Young Professionals Panel (YPP) was appointed in April 2018 to support and inform the Commission’s work and raise awareness and engage younger audiences in shaping the future of the UK’s infrastructure.

As the first cohort reaches the end of their term, the Commission has published a series of opinion pieces by the YPP under the banner ‘Generational Shift’, reflecting the authors’ personal experiences and their ideas for the future. The series offers fresh perspectives on how infrastructure could evolve to meet the changing needs and expectations of Millennials and later generations.

Some of the pieces also consider the potential impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic in accelerating certain trends, and changing aspects of infrastructure usage for the longer term.

Covering topics ranging from ‘freecycling’ building materials to local crowd-funding projects, the YPP’s reflections provide a range of questions and prompts for industry and policy makers.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Commission, said: “Listening carefully to the perspectives of those at earlier stages of their careers is vitally important to any industry, both to challenge outmoded habits and to ensure services are being shaped inclusively to serve the whole of society.

“The YPP has offered valuable insights to the Commission across a range of discussions and their latest contributions provide both inspiration and provocation for the sector. I’m very grateful for them for their work.”

The 16 young professionals appointed to the inaugural YPP were drawn from a range of specialisms, including civil engineering, architecture, project management and house building. The YPP devised their own work plan for their term in office, attended parts of Commission meetings and fed into various policy discussions. The published material reflects the views of each author, rather than the Commission.

Appointments to the next YPP are being finalised and the membership will be announced shortly.

Notes to editors

The eight opinion pieces are: