Category Archives: Current Students

Road pricing key to solving UK traffic woes

Emeritus Professor Roger Vickerman explains why tackling congestion on UK road requires innovative new ideas, chiefly a form of road pricing that charges for use rather than simply vehicle ownership.

‘A year on from the report that UK drivers spend an average of 31 hours a year in traffic jams we now have evidence on the most congested roads in the UK. And this shows that although the worst trouble spots are in London the problem affects all our big cities. I have argued before that what is needed is a nationwide system of charging for roads by use – road pricing. But this would need to be embedded within a much more strategic rethink of how we provide the transport we need for our cities and towns.

‘We already have blunt instruments such as the London Congestion Charge, but a sophisticated system of electronic tolling would charge drivers for their actual use of the system and by differentiating by the time of day can encourage those with the flexibility to adjust their journeys to times of lower traffic volumes. The current system of charging motorists is a tax on car purchase and ownership, and doesn’t distinguish by area of residence or actual use.

‘Cars spend an average 95% of their life parked. Residents of rural areas, many of whom have no alternative to using a car, typically travel on the least congested roads, but pay the same in road tax and fuel duty. Such drivers would be better off under a system which charged for the actual use of roads that reflected levels of congestion. The overall cost to road users would be less; the estimated average cost of that 31 hours of wasted time is £1,168; that would pay for a lot of miles. The usual response is to call for more road building, and whilst that and junction improvements can help in some cases, the evidence suggests that traffic typically expands to fill the space available.

‘But it is not just about cars competing for road space. Much of the increase in traffic in towns comes from van traffic – typically delivering our online purchases – we have to recognise that this too has a cost that will have to be paid for. Eventually, as with any limited resource, the only solution is one that uses price as a means of allocation – that’s how we charge for the alternatives such as bus, rail or air. And if all modes of transport were priced on the same basis we could make a better-informed choice of the right one to use for each journey.

‘This shows the need for a much more integrated approach to transport planning embracing new technologies both in the delivery of transport services and in paying for them. Politicians need to grasp this nettle now.’

-ENDS-
Original article by Dan Worth, University of Kent Press Office

–>

Undergraduate Survey Month at Kent (including prize draw for Economics students who complete NSS!)

The National Student Survey (NSS) and the Undergraduate Survey (UGS) launched on 28 January 2019. School of Economics students need to complete either the NSS (mainly for final-year undergraduate students) or the UGS (you don’t need to complete both!).

National Student Survey (NSS)
All eligible students who complete the NSS by Monday 18 February 2019 can claim a £10 Amazon voucher. In addition, Economics students will be entered into a prize draw for an iPad* and four £50 vouchers!

If you’re eligible to participate in this year’s survey, you will have received an email invitation from Ipsos MORI on Thursday 31 January.

To claim your £10 Amazon voucher:
• complete the survey before Monday 18 February 2019 and forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to nssawards@kent.ac.uk by 18 February

To enter the School of Economics prize draw:
• complete the survey and forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to economics@kent.ac.uk.

Join us to complete the survey on a computer:

The School has booked computer rooms at the following times, and we’re providing a FREE drink and chocolate!!

Week 17
Tue 12 Feb 11.00-12.00 (SibPC1)
Wed 13 Feb 11.00-12.00 (KSA1)
Fri 15 Feb 15.00-16.00 (KSA1)

Week 20
Mon 4 Mar 13.00-14.00 (KSA1)
Wed 6 Mar 09.30-11.00 (CSPC1)
Wed 6 Mar 11.30-13.00 (KSA1)
Thu 7 Mar 13.00-15.00 (KSA1)

If you’ve already completed the survey, email your confirmation to economics@kent.ac.uk to enter the prize draw, or come along and join us for a drink!

* The prize draw for an Apple iPad will take place if the School of Economics reaches its 80% student completion target.

The NSS is an annual independent survey giving students across the UK the opportunity to give their feedback on their experiences of university study – both what you liked and what you think could be improved. It will run from Monday 28 January 2019 until Tuesday 30 April 2019 and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

For more information, and to take the survey, visit http://www.kent.ac.uk/student/surveys

Undergraduate Survey (UGS)

Throughout February, the University is also running the Undergraduate Survey (UGS) – the UGS is an internally run survey of all students on Undergraduate level programmes at the University of Kent (excluding those who are eligible to complete the NSS). It launched on 28 January and closes on Friday 1 March 2019.

If you are eligible, you will have received an email from Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education. Completing this survey helps the University understand what we do well and what we need to do better and is one of the most powerful ways you can have your voice heard at Kent.

The survey asks the same questions that are in the NSS as well as a section about accommodation and some research questions for the Q-Step Centre and the Student Success Project. It should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Prof Denise Osborn leads talk on Women in Economics

On Tuesday 13 November, we had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Denise Osborn to the School of Economics. Both Secretary General for the Royal Economics Society and Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester, Denise delivered an inspirational talk on the role of women in Economics, focusing on research and her own personal experience.

Looking back on her career, she examined the perception of women in the field of Economics over time, comparing and contrasting the start of her career in 70s, where she was very much a minority, to now where more and more women are joining the field. Denise compared the gender distribution of researchers within Economics and looked into why Economics is still one of the lowest STEM subjects for its percentage of women. Denise concluded her talk by looking at the actions that are being taken to challenge gender norms and encourage more women to consider a career in Economics. The session finished with a lively Q&A session with the audience.

School holds its annual ‘Working in Finance’ event

On Tuesday 16 October, the School of Economics held its annual ‘Working in Finance’ talk. Two of our alumni, Nuno Nunes and Michael Thurlow, returned to Kent to talk about their experiences of working in the financial sector.

The event was a great success, with some interesting discussion and useful advice followed by an informal networking session.

Huge thank you to Nuno and Michael for giving up their time and making the event such a success. The School would also like to thank Katie Marshall and Harriet Mowatt-Dykes for organising such a great event.

Listen to a recording of the event here. 

Jaye launches Pawfect Match app to find pets new homes

One of our former students, Jaye Graham has recently launched her app called Pawfect Match for dogs and cats in need. Her dating-style app aims to match homeless pets to adoptive families.

Seeing the pressure that rescue centres are under and the time it takes to adopt a pet, Jaye decided to create an app, which would be a fun way to quickly match pets to owners. She’s hoping that the app will revolutionize pet adoption throughout the United Kingdom.

The process is simple: Rescue centres upload pictures of pets and users can search for pets based on their characteristics and household needs. Users swipe left to pass on to the next pet and swipe right to add a pet to their favourites. Once a user has found a match, they can simply message the rescue centre through the app.

Pawfect Match is now available for download on Google Play or on the App Store.

William Knight wins Kent Student Award

The School of Economics is delighted to announce that final year student William Knight has been awarded a Kent Student Award for his outstanding contribution to fundraising. William has been a dedicated RaG Treasurer, fundraising and raising awareness for men’s mental health. He was presented his award on Friday 1 June at the 2018 Kent Student Awards Gala Dinner. The School of Economics would like to congratulate William for this fantastic achievement.

Economics and Sociology student Jaye revolutionising animal adoption

Jaye Graham, an Economics and Sociology student created a ‘dating’ style app to match rescue animals to new owners. Her idea won a £1,000 investment last year from the Kent Business School.

The app called ‘Pawfect Match’ matches users with rescue animals within a certain distance from their homes, depending on how far they would like to travel. Shelters take photos of the animals, upload them to the platform and within a few moments the animals will appear on the platform.

Similarly to ‘dating’ style apps, you swipe left if you are not interested and right to add the animal to your favourites. You can then send a message to the shelter.

Jaye has started to work with an app development company and aims to have the app ready to download by the summer. See more info here. 

Building a new home for our School

Work has started on the new School of Economics, which is due to open its doors in September 2019. Despite the challenging conditions of the snow at the end of February, the ground floor slab was poured on time. Over the past few weeks, the Willmott Dixon team have been continuing to excavate the foundations and install bolt sets. They are set to install a structural steel frame this month and after this, the landscape will start to change very quickly on site, so watch this space, exciting things to come.

School of Economics holds fourth alumni networking session

The school ran its fourth annual alumni networking evening on Tuesday 6 March in the Sibson Café on campus, which overlooks the site of the new Economics building. The event was really well attended by current undergraduate and postgraduate Economics students who had a fantastic opportunity to meet some of our Kent Economics alumni to discuss their work and lives after University. Both alumni and students had a great time chatting and found it very useful for fostering new connections.

We would like to say a big thank you to the alumni for giving up their time to attend the event: Aniq Ahmed, Max Nqai from Deloitte, Nuno Nunes from HSBC, Pamela Macedo from Ruffer, Iria Camba from Cornerstone Research, Mesh Mukul from the Department of Work and Pensions and Will Hindley from Deloitte.