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Remembering Simon Norton

Darren Shirley's picture
Photo: Simon at a demo

Along with my colleagues at Campaign for Better Transport I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of our long-time friend Simon Norton.

As well as being a world-class Cambridge mathematician, Simon was a passionate and principled transport campaigner. His involvement with Campaign for Better Transport went back 30 years: he coordinated our Cambridgeshire group as well as supporting our work through the Foundation for Integrated Transport, a grant-making charity that he founded and chaired.

"Simon's knowledge of bus services always left me staggered. He was a passionate advocate of public transport and the Foundation for Integrated Transport, which has already funded many good projects, will be his lasting legacy."
Chris Todd, Local Groups Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport

Simon's great skill was combining attention to detail (his knowledge of bus routes and services was unsurpassed) with a broad vision that was deeply held and extraordinarily humane. Climate change played a central role in his thinking, as did the idea of good public transport as a human right. 

His particular passion was for buses. "Buses should be one of the most important political issues," Simon wrote. "Transport is so embedded into our society that its removal is a serious curtailment of people's civil liberties. Cars blight our communities with pollution, danger, congestion, noise and climate change emissions; but all too often escape to the countryside, whether to live or visit, demands - guess what? - a car."

"His commitment to sustainable transport solutions was inspiring as was his encyclopedic knowledge about buses; his legacy will endure."
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport

Thanks to Simon's support, we have moved buses up the political agenda. Not many years ago it was almost impossible to get politicians or the media to talk about the most-used form of public transport. Now buses are featured frequently in the national press and were raised during Prime Minister’s Questions. We have a Bus Services Act, and calls are growing for a National Bus Investment Strategy. Without Simon's support, we would not be nearly so far along this road.

Simon will be warmly remembered and greatly missed. We send our condolences to his family.