Heathrow to Paris at 186mph

There are times when a proposal, such as the third runway at Heathrow, excites considerable opposition from the public and engages a number of anti-expansion protest groups, such as HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), the main anti expansion lobby group. It can also attract innovative companies and enterprising designers to come up with alternative proposals. Arup, the influential engineering firm which has a history of originating big transport projects has come up with an alternative solution (still in the early planning stage) to the third runway proposal.

On 3 December, Arup will be launching a book, The Right Line, a history of the high speed link, at a parliamentary reception. It will use this opportunity to unveil an ambitious plan to build a high-speed rail line north of London – via Heathrow – and onwards north to Birmingham and Glasgow. Under this plan, passengers from Heathrow could arrive in Paris in 2 hours 30 minutes and from Birmingham in under four hours (Sunday Times – 2 December 2007).

Mark Bostock, a director at Arup said:”There is total logic in seeing how Heathrow can be connected to the national and international rail network. This is fundamental to the sustainable development of the airport and would be a step change beyond [airports operator] BAA's extremely modest ambitions for shifting passengers from road to rail. What this plan brings is connectivity – not only bringing the north and Midlands onto the international high-speed rail network, but also bringing Heathrow within two and a half hours of central Paris. (Sunday Times – 2 December 2007)

This plan would reduce the need for short-haul flights to Europe, free up capacity at Heathrow and avoid the need for a controversial third runway at the airport, plans for which were outlined by the government 10 days ago (Sunday Times – 2 December 2007).

Companies such as Arup employ people who are entrepreneurial and innovative. In a Times 100 case study, NFTE, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, is trying to promote among students entrepreneurial skills and abilities. In another Times 100 case study, examine how Siemens encourages similar attitudes in its workforce.


The Times 100 Case Studies – NFTE – Developing enterprise skills

The Times 100 Case Studies – Siemens – Creating a high performance culture

The Times Online – Heathrow to Paris at 186mph – 2 December 2007

The Times Online – Report attacks Heathrow Expansion – 2 December 2007

Potential Questions:

  • With reference to the NFTE case history, define the terms task culture and people culture.
  • Explain what is meant by 'thinking outside the box'? Can you give an example?
  • Explain how Team and Individual Targets can be used by an organisation to develop a high performance culture.