Key current and recent research projects include:
STEP-CHANGE (Sustainable Transport Evidence and modelling Paradigms: Cohort Household Analysis to support New Goals in Engineering design). (Principal Investigator). Funded through the EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environment programme. Project value just over £1.5 million. Jointly with the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester and the School of Sociology at the University of York. January 2011 – December 2015.
There is an accepted need to promote step changes towards more sustainable urban environments, notably in transport and travel, which we will focus on. While many model-based desk-studies have aimed to simulate such environments as part of a decision support tool, they adopt many unvalidated, hypothetical assumptions, particularly in the way that major transport focused interventions might impact on both behaviour and the effectiveness of the infrastructure. There is very little real evidence of what works and what can be used to promote such changes, deriving from either the physical nature and make-up of urban environments and in the way that people choose to act and behave. The project seeks to produce a step change in current knowledge and practice using a mix of new data sources, methodological innovation in analysis of this diverse data, development of new planning practices and procedures and supporting modelling tools. To this end it will provide the means to develop visions of urban futures of 2050 which are both resilient to external change and sustainable. The knowledge and procedures developed as part of this project will provide a foundation upon which planners and others involved in decision-making in relation to urban transport, at both local and national levels, can start to put in place the necessary changes to achieve the resilient and sustainable visions of 2050. (www.changing-mobilities.org.uk).
Local and Regional Climate Change Research Funded by Department for Transport. Small piece of work, jointly with Atkins. February 2010-april 2010.
This project reviewed the level of response of local authority transport departments to climate change in the UK, in particular focussing on the tools they have available and are using for determining the level of impact of the transport activity in their areas on climate. The final report is available through the DfT website: www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/policy/climatechange.
Visions for the Role of Walking and Cycling to 2030. (Principal Investigator) Funded by EPSRC – project value £1.3 million. October 2008-March 2012. Jointly with the Universities of Oxford, Salford, East Anglia and Manchester.
This research sought to examine ways in which more people might be encouraged to walk and cycle in the future, what steps are needed to support this potential increase in walking and cycling and how to improve the experience for those who already use these modes. Walking and cycling can make a considerable contribution to sustainable transport goals, building healthier and more sociable communities and contributing to traffic reduction and lower carbon emissions. The amount of walking and cycling in Britain has declined over the long term and research suggests that there are major obstacles to prevent people from using these modes. There have been many national and local initiatives to promote walking and cycling but without a long term vision and consistent strategy it is difficult to see how a significant change may be achieved. The time is now right to examine the means by which such a fundamental change both in the quantity of walking and cycling, and in the quality of the experience can be achieved, which goes well beyond continuation of existing trends. The work will involve a series of expert workshops to develop visions of alternative futures and also draw in various ways on the experiences of different user groups of the public to ensure that the visions developed are grounded in real experiences. The workshops and other participation events will be used to establish trend breaking views of the future and the key attributes of future conditions which will generate these visions. We will undertake impact assessments to consider the likely costs and benefits of these visions and the potential effects on lifestyle. The work will develop and use innovative methodologies using visualisation software to help users understand how futures might appear, using modelling techniques which examine narrative and storylines to understand how different futures might be attained, and using a range of social research methods to explore how different futures might affect individual lifestyles and society. We will offer people a range of tools that enable them to construct their own versions of the future, and to weave their own stories in and out of expert visions, thus opening up the possibility of a richer and expanded public engagement with the visioning process. This permits a shift from the narrow focus of people's current day decision-making and behavioural and lifestyle choices to a greater focus on the process through which people make decisions and the contextual factors which inform how people choose to live their everyday lives. The value of this project, and the innovative methodologies it adopts, such as the new approach to modelling, is that in this way it opens up the possibilities of a greater understanding of how walking and cycling could change in the future. (www.visions2030.org.uk)
Understanding Walking and Cycling. (Co-Investigator) Funded by EPSRC – project value £1.1 million. October 2008-September 2011. Jointly with Universities of Lancaster (lead) and Oxford Brookes.
It is widely recognised that an increase in walking and cycling for short journeys in urban areas could significantly reduce traffic congestion, improve the quality of the urban environment, promote improved personal health, and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. This is demonstrated by a wide range of policy initiatives by national and local governments, by health authorities and a variety of non-governmental organizations. Recent reviews of research on travel behaviour have emphasised that the ways in which travel decisions are made remains poorly understood, especially in the context of complex and contingent household travel arrangements. This research sought to fill this research gap through an in-depth analysis of household decision making with respect to short journeys in urban areas and has two key aims: To develop better understanding of the complex ways in which households and individuals make everyday travel decisions about short trips in urban areas; and to develop a 'toolkit' that helps planners, policy makers and others concerned with promoting more sustainable travel practices in urban areas to target policies and interventions more effectively. The research will adopt a mixed methodology, but with the main emphasis on in-depth qualitative research, and will examine individual, family and household decision making in four different neighbourhoods. Throughout the research the project will engage with a range of stakeholders and potential users, and in the final part of the project will engage potential users with the development of outputs.
European Union COST 358: Pedestrians’ Quality Needs. (Member of Project Management Committee) Networking grant from November 2006 – November 2010. Budget – travel and subsistence costs for meetings.
The main objective of this project was networking and the development of high quality collaborative research proposals in the area of pedestrians quality needs. The study focussed of three perspectives, functionality of the pedestrian environment, perception of that environment by the users and durability. The project aimed to provide an essential contribution to systems knowledge of pedestrians’ quality needs, thus stimulating structural and functional interventions, policy making and regulation to support an improved pedestrian environment across the EU and other involved countries. The project involves invited experts in this field from 26 countries in Europe and elsewhere. (www.walkeurope.org/final_report/default.asp)
MIME (Market-based impact mitigation for the environment). (Co-Investigator) Funded through the EU Aeronautics and Space programme. August 2007 – December 2010. Project value 4.5 million euros. Project partners include: SINTEF, Norway (coordinating partner); EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre, Belgium; ENVISA SAS, France; QinetiQ Ltd, UK; Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany; National Aerospace Laboratory, Netherlands.
The MIME project sought to enhance the environmental performance of the air transportation systems by employing market-based methods addressing noise control. These methods are innovative in that they bring an entirely new paradigm to bear on the control of noise around airports. The MIME project aims to develop a system of transferable noise permits that would be initially allocated to airlines along with an equitable means by which the chosen system would be put into place at an airport.
Transport policy appraisal and the development of a city scale carbon emissions accounting tool. (Principal Investigator) Funded through the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research II (Project value £70,000). July 2006-December 2008. Linked to other research in the Tyndall Cities programme being undertaken by the Universities of Loughborough, Newcastle, Manchester, Cambridge and University College London.
This research aimed to develop an emissions accounting tool which will permit the estimation of carbon emissions from transport activity in London and potentially other cities and regions. The project assessed current and future emissions up to 2050, taking account of projected changes in vehicle use, economic development, demography and land-use. Emissions will be estimated for both a business as usual scenario and simulating the carbon reduction effects of a range of potential policy measures. Emissions from both freight and personal transport will be considered. This research is part of a wider effort looking at the impact of London on climate change (and the impact of climate change on London) more generally and will interact with other aspects of the Tyndall Cities research theme which will be looking at land-use and demographic change, flood risk and economic well-being.
TRANSLINK (Transportation research links for sustainable development). (Co-investigator) Funded through the EU Asia-Link programme (project value: 399960 euro). August 2005-August 2008.
This project linked two European universities (the Royal Technical University of Stockholm or ‘KTH’ and the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds or ‘ITS’) with two major universities in Indonesia and Malaysia (Universitas Indonesia or ‘UI’, in Jakarta and Universiti Teknologi Mara or ‘UiTM’, in Shah Alam). The main aim of the project was to develop the capability for running transport PhD programmes specifically in the two SE Asian universities involved, but also more generally within universities in the two countries involved. The work considered both the procedural aspects of PhD programmes, issues in relation to the training of supervisors and the development of appropriate topics and associated research programmes. We contributed to this project through the provision of appropriate courses in Malaysia and Indonesia and through providing guidance to potential research supervisors and research students.