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2009's Symposium Feedback

A message from Helen Robinson:

Overall we had an excellent event this year at Hatfield and whilst I had my concerns after our experiences in Nottingham, the conference office and all the staff at Hertfordshire University did an excellent job. Having experienced the venue for the first time I'm confident it will be even better next year, and we are all looking forward to the 15th Symposium. Thank you to all the sponsors, exhibitors and delegates, we hope to see you all again next year!



Feedback from delegates

We are always trying to make the Symposium & Exhibition better and consequently we are always grateful for the feedback we get from our delegates and we do appreciate the time people take to fill out our feedback forms at the end of each event - thankyou. We have included practically all comments below whether good or bad, although in some cases elements of feedback have been combined together with some common requests that we are often unable to fulfill and the reason why this is so; these are shown below feedback comments. If you took the time to make comments in the feedback form it should either be shown below, be essentially duplicated by someone else's comment below or it should be covered in the requests section.


Comments

Where possible the comments have been included in full, however, in some instances where a response can be given we have separated these out and included them in the Requests section below.

  • The best part [of the Symposium] is the meeting with fellow practitioners to discuss common issues.

  • Excellent value and facilities. V. good conference providing excellent networking opportunities amongst traffic signal community

  • Very enjoyable - good location. Staff were very helpful.

  • Nice venue and thanks for all your efforts - look forward to next year.

  • Enjoyed discussions relating to how various software interfaces can be brought together to provide a more holistic detailed view of traffic conditions. Would have liked to have seen more from JCT into the application of their software in real world situations.

  • Found the talks v.interesting. The length of these was v.good + kept us interested!

  • The rooms on campus were small but adequate. The lunch meals in the [in the same room as the] exhibition along with the [same approach for] coffee breaks worked well.

  • First visit to the Symposium and very pleased. Look forward to returning and meeting new people within the industry.

  • Not able to come over the last couple of years but the venue is much better than Nottingham. Bar staff last night were especially attentive. Gala dinner was very well done. Length of papers were just right and well managed by Douglas; kept to time throughout. The lecture theatre is very good quality but may be too large for the numbers attending.

  • Although I have enjoyed previous symposiums at Nottingham, I believe this new venue has improved the symposium still further.

  • Overall the content of the papers was very relevant to my current role. The presentations of the papers were to a high standard, unfortunately there were one or two where I felt that the delivery took away from content, but the majority were very informative.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed Symposium - good content, interesting papers and good evening/entertainment. New location was good and much better having lunch and exhibition together in one room. Lecture room was good - missed having the water bottles though! Very good - Thanks.

  • You could have told me there was a climbing wall, I would have bought my shorts!

  • This is by far the best and most valuable event in the traffic control calendar. Many thanks to all at JCT.

  • Many thanks to all at JCT for all their hard work. The gala dinner was great fun and knocks spots off Nottingham in respect of service, quality of food and ambience. The flight competition was brilliant and one last comment: John is a natural on stage [as master of ceremonies!]
  • Quality and relevance of papers much better than last symposium I went to, mainly because less (but not none) [manufacturer papers]. Hall was a bit big for the number of delegates which reduced the conference type questions possibly?
  • Accommodation great, entertainment great! A great introduction to traffic signals. 2nd lunch time a bit long - especially if travelling back on the M25!!
  • Very enjoyable and informative.
  • Very good venue.
  • Great venue, good papers. Would like to see more papers from designers rather than manufacturers.
  • Overall a very brilliant symposium - welldone!
  • Venue was good, meal good - service very good.
  • Good - welldone. A good site and good symposium.
  • It was good to network with people of the same mind. The atmosphere was friendly, bordering on family re-union. This was my first JCT symposium and it was very useful and enjoyable. Well done to all at JCT and the sponsors.
  • Excellent, big improvement in venue. Brian would be very pleased.
  • Welldone!
  • Excellent transfer to Hatfield - a few teething audio problems which were got over [see requests section below], excellent food all day, sandwich lunches a good idea but clip-on drink holders for plates would be a good idea if buffet continues. The walk between buildings could be a problem if it rains but it hasn't for a long time in Sept!! Bedrooms comfortable but beds hot due to water-proof mattress covers. Shower and loo very satisfactory, internet access good. Bar excellent.
  • Thanks to all. Sad Brian not there but you did him proud!
  • Loved the new venue. Very good.
  • Very nice campus facilities and food. Very helpful staff
  • Venue much better than Nottingham. Food and service was exceptional. Very informative and enjoyable.
  • Too much MOVA in one block, shower flow dribbled in the morning, corridor hotter than a hot thing. Good venue, Good food / Gala dinner, Symposium very good overall.
  • Very enjoyable. Good choice of venue and extra activities, treasure hunt, flying competition all added to the entertainment.
  • About the only things missing were water in the lecture theatre and handsoap in the bedrooms - welldone!


Requests

In our analysis of your feedback we have found one or two clear trends/themes and one or two requests or suggestions that have come up quite often in the past and whilst we are aware of them and would like to pursue them, we are unable to do so. The following is an attempt to make clear to our past symposium delegates what we can and can't do within the current constraints of the event, its time-tabling, participants, venue, budget and so on.


  • Could we please have bottles of water available, as has been the case at previous symposiums?
    We had arranged to make sure there were water coolers made available throughout the event in both the auditorium and the exhibition. However, some delegates were disappointed with the lack of bottled water. In contrast we have had comments in the past about the environmental impacts associated with all the waste from the water bottles. These issues aside, there is significant cost associated with the provision of bottled water, so to provide this we would need to find sponsorship or increase delegate costs (which we do our best to keep low).


  • Can we have shorter coffee breaks please?
    It is actually quite difficult to fully satisfy everyone's requirements in this case - see below.


  • Can we have longer coffee breaks please?
    It is actually quite difficult to fully satisfy everyone's requirements in this case - see above.


  • Can we have shorter/longer lunch breaks please?
    Hmmmm...there seems to be a pattern emerging here...see above.


  • Can we have more coffee please?
    Perhaps surprisingly, not many people make this request so on the whole we feel we've got things about right with coffee breaks used both mid-morning and mid-afternoon. For the coffee fanatics there are a number of coffee shops distributed on campus including one just outside the exhibition hall where you can get your fix of caffeine!


  • Would it be possible to have copies of the powerpoints?
    We prefer and find most delegates also prefer to have the full paper in the notes because the powerpoints tend to only be a summary, so we feel on the whole it would add very little benefit in association with the effort involved. However, this year we have been able to film the symposium content and we plan (technical issues permitting) to make a selection of the talks available for viewing through our website. This should go live sometime in the next month or so - watch this space.


  • Can you make the order of proceedings available in advance of the event?
    We could do this but it would be of limited value because the order and content typically changes continuously right up to the event itself and despite repeated efforts we have so far failed to find a way around this. This is partly due to the nature of the event and our reliance upon people (and their line-managers) to find the time to pull together their talks and presentations. Indeed, without the sometimes huge efforts of those who contribute their knowledge and experiences, the symposium would not be what it is today. Consequently we feel that if they need time and flexibility, we should give it to them and include what they have to say rather than fix the schedule in stone and potentially exclude material that would be of great interest to everyone.


  • Could you do something about the low water pressure in the showers for next time?
    At most venues, a significant number of guests showering at the same time (which will happen at an event such as this) is going to impact the temperature and shower pressure; this is a difficult issue to deal with unless some sort of shower rota system is used! We recieved only two comments about this and our understanding is that most people felt the accommodation - showers included - was ok. We are sorry if your shower wasn't up to scratch, however, it does seem that this was a temporary glitch experienced by an unfortunate few although we will mention this to our hosts next year.


  • Can we have some 'after-symposium' follow-ups? For example, could you send round an email providing an executive summary of conclusions from the works presented, perhaps with some comment on the historical context thus documenting the industries development processes?
    This is an interesting suggestion and one that may be pursued if further interest can be identified - please let us know if you think something like this might be useful and we will look into it. Its probably something that we would consider taking forward if delegates want it and/or would find it useful. It may not be something that we would like to email en-mass but we could perhaps make something like this available through the website so that interested parties could get hold of it. More importantly, it is possible that some people (including ourselves) might have concerns about we reach a suitably independent/unbiased summary of events.


  • Could we have a smaller lecture theatre?
    The auditorium is by far the most comfortable and well equipped lecture theatre we have ever used for the symposium, we feel that although it is slightly large for attendance at the moment, we would rather delegates had comfortable seating and enough space. It also gives delegate numbers the opportunity to rise in future years. We may block off the area at the back for next years event.


  • Do you have to use microphones during the symposium? The acoustics seemed quite good and there did seem to be some teething problems with the audio on the first morning
    The acoustics in the auditorium are indeed very good and when almost empty it is quite easy to hear what is being said on stage - even from the very back, but this situation changes somewhat when the auditorium fills up and the level of background noise increases. Factor in the difference in volume between different speakers voices and we quickly arrive at the conclusion that microphones are a necessary addition. There were one or two audio problems early on during the event which one might expect given it was our first symposium in a new venue and these were addressed promptly by the resident audio-visual team and we do not expect the same difficulties to arise next year.


  • I would have liked to have seen more from JCT into the application of their software in real world situations, is this possible?
    So would JCT, but we don't want to take over the event. However, we would love users of LinSig to come forward to present projects in which they have used LinSig in an unusual or innovative application, and would welcome papers for next year.


  • I would have liked to have seen more on UTC/UTMC and other ITS related issues, is this possible?
    We rely on members of the industry to come forward with papers, however if you have a subject of particular interest we may be able to research into finding an appropriate speaker.


  • Could we reduce lunchtime on Thursday, so that we can hit the M25 earlier?
    The exhibition did seem to have emptied of delegates by 2pm (afternoon session began at 2.15pm), so we will reduce this lunch period next year - another question is should we squeeze in another paper, or finish earlier?


  • Can we have hand soap in the bedrooms?
    Hand soap was supposed to be mandatory, and we only had one complaint of it missing, so we assume it was a one off!





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