Thought leadership and the A34 road to change

The A34 is a vital economic route, linking the businesses of the Thames Valley and Midlands to the port of Southampton.

For planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, there has been a long-held frustration that despite its importance, a solution to the road’s problems with accidents, congestion and delays have been low on the national agenda.

Polymedia was tasked with helping to raise the profile of this important issue while positioning Barton Willmore’s Southampton-based team as a driving force for change, helping to bring key stakeholders together to come up with an action plan.

The resulting campaign is a series of thought leadership articles, produced by Polymedia for Barton Willmore in partnership with engineering consultancy Hydrock, supported by a media campaign designed to bring the issue to the forefront of the agenda.

In the first piece, Barton Willmore planner Alice Drew argues that “a comprehensive, workable strategy is now long overdue. Our call to action is clear – we need a solution, and to achieve that we need joined-up thinking. The local authorities, agencies, statutory bodies and stakeholders whose areas the A34 runs through need to come together and collaborate to find a comprehensive, effective and long-term, solution.”

The launch of the campaign attracted significant coverage at both ends of the A34, with BBC Radio Solent, the Southern Daily Echo, Oxford Mail, and Hampshire Chronicle among the media carrying the story and encouraging debate and comments from readers and leading community figures.

Barton Willmore plan to follow the campaign up with a joint event with Hydrock later this year, inviting stakeholders to contribute to a plan for change.