A. D. J. Flowerdew

Article excerpt

Transport economist and planner

A.D.J. Flowerdew was a consultant, planner and enthusiast in the fields of transport economics and operational research (OR) - the use of scientific methods to solve organisational problems. His areas of expertise provided a unique resource for city planning authorities around the world wanting to link transport planning with land-use issues for balanced development. Tony Flowerdew believed in combining theory with the ability to make decisions. He was an avid thinker, consulter, arguer, competitor, dancer and assured wearer of widely ranging hats - metaphorical and literal.

Anthony David John Flowerdew was born in 1935 in Salisbury, son of Douglas Flowerdew, a soldier (and later a rector), and his wife, Sheila. After Eton (where he went on a scholarship), he read Maths and Moral Sciences at King's College, Cambridge. His fellow student and friend, the writer A.S. Byatt, remembers his outdoing those taking English in quotation quizzes.

He began his career in the operational research department of the National Coal Board as part of his National Service. Before universities developed OR courses, the public sector led the application of quantitative and analytical techniques to questions of production and management, and Flowerdew's years at the NCB saw him develop into an expert in the field. After five years in consultancy, he went to the Greater London Council in 1966 as a senior transport planner.

From 1968 to 1970, he was Deputy Director of Research for the Roskill Commission investigating the siting of the envisaged third London airport. The seminal work of the research team and the commission advanced the frontiers of cost-benefit analysis for project evaluation - new in Britain for major projects. Flowerdew smoothed the relations between the researchers and the lawyers at the public inquiry, his verse commentary on the proceedings serving as a particular aid to good humour.

After the inquiry, momentum built up for locating the airport at Maplin in Essex. Among his concerns about the project, Flowerdew cited disruption to bird life, access links, and proposals for a new industrial area and city (for the workforce). In Parliament, Anthony Crosland backed his line that more research was needed. The plans were dropped in 1974, and Stansted expanded. Subsequently, Flowerdew advised on a second airport for Sydney.

In 1971, he joined the London School of Economics where, with two colleagues, he developed a stimulating master's course in urban economics. From 1977, he was the economist at the Marcial Echenique and Partners consultancy, providing models as tools for policy- makers in transport around the world. …