Professor Miles Tight BSc, PGCE, PhD, FRSA

Professor Miles Tight

Department of Civil Engineering
Professor of Transport, Energy and Environment

Contact details

Civil Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Miles Tight is based in the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He has been actively researching sustainable transport for nearly 30 years. He is currently PI for the EPSRC SUE 3 project STEPCHANGE (Sustainable Transport Evidence and modelling Paradigms: Cohort Household Analysis to support New Goals in Engineering design) (EP/100212X/1 and EP/I00212X/2) and co-I for the EPSRC/ESRC iBuild project and the ESRC SmartiesNet project.

Recently completed projects include as PI ‘Visions of the role of walking and cycling in 2030’ (EP/000468/1) and Co-I on ‘Understanding Walking and Cycling’ (EP/G00045X/1). His past research has looked at climate change and transport through 2 projects funded by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research: ‘Behavioural Response and Lifestyle Change in Moving to Low Carbon Futures’ and developing a ‘City-scale Carbon Emissions Accounting Tool’.

He was PI on the EPSRC grant on ‘Measuring Pedestrian Accessibility’ (GR/R18543/01) and Co-I on ‘Integrated Approaches to Reducing Car use’ (GR/N33645/01) and the ESRC funded ‘Cycling and Urban Mode Choice’.

He has received international funding through the ‘IMPACT’ project (Implementation Paths for Action towards Sustainable Mobility) funded through the Swedish MISTRA programme, and the EU funded ‘TRANSLINK’ project (Transportation Research Links for Sustainable Development) and ‘MIME’ (Market-based Impact Mitigation for the Environment) projects. He has had extensive experience of project management over the last 20 years, especially in large multi-institution, interdisciplinary projects.


  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, November 2008 
  • Ph.D. Transport, University of London (University College), 1987 
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), University of London (Goldsmiths' College), 1982 
  • B.Sc. (Honours) Geography, University of Liverpool, 1981


Professor Tight graduated from the University of Liverpool with an Honours degree in Geography in 1981. He then moved to Goldsmiths’ College in the University of London to do a Postgraduate Certificate of Education, completing this in 1982. His doctorate studies were at University College London in the Transport Studies Group (now Centre for Transport Studies) where his thesis was on the accident involvement and exposure to risk of children as pedestrians on urban roads. His PhD was awarded in 1987. After completing his studies Professor Tight moved to the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds University, firstly as a Research Fellow, then as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. He moved to the University of Birmingham in April 2012 as Professor of Transport, Energy and Environment.


Professor Tight teaches the following modules: 

  • Sustainable Transport Policy
  • Road Safety
  • Synoptic Engineering

Postgraduate supervision

  • Aminu Sulieman: Using neural networks to model particulate pollution from transport. Recently awarded.
  • Ashley Hayden: Assessing the potential for large scale changes in urban transport to promote sustainability.
  • Can Biyik: Visioning futures for walking and cycling in Turkish urban areas.
  • Carlo Luiu: Design of urban transport systems to meet the needs of an older population.
  • Duy Phan: Integrated planning resilient transportation system for river cities to mitigate flooding hazards in response to climate change: a case study in Vietnam.
  • Sameeh Altharthy: The potential for increasing walkability in relation to public transport developments.
  • Michael Mammo: Exploring the effects of Ultra-Low-Emission Zones on health.
  • Michael Goodfellow-Smith: Value Capture Models: Finance and Insurance for Sustainable City Infrastructure Investment
  • Jonathan Ward: Can critical realism enhance future city thinking about citizenship?
  • Nikolaos Kalyviotis: Infrastructure Management:  Devise of a Business Model for Transport Infrastructure Interdependencies Management
  • Dennis van Soest: Understanding the link between public transport and walking in urban areas
  • Esther Fasan: The evaluation of existing sustainability policy and strategic gap in both developed and developing nations. A case study of the UK and Nigeria transport sectors.
  • Uchenna Uhegbu: Sustainable transport development in Nigeria.


Current and recent research projects include:

From Citizen to Co-innovator, from City Council to Facilitator: Integrating Urban Systems to Provide Better Outcomes for People (Co-Investigator). Funded by EPSRC. Project value around £400k. May 2016-October 2017. Jointly with University of Aston and City University Birmingham.

SMArt CitIES Network for Sustainable Urban Futures (SMARTIES Net) (UoB PI). Funded by ESRC. Project value around £100k. May 2016-April 2017. Led by University of Nottingham, involving a number of other UK universities and Indian partners.

i-BUILD: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery (Co-Investigator). Funded through EPSRC/ESRC. Project value:  £3,567,862. Jointly with Universities of Leeds and Newcastle. August 2013 – July 2017.

Our national infrastructure - the systems of infrastructure networks (e.g. energy, water, transport, waste, ICT) that support services such as healthcare, education, emergency response and thereby ensure our social, economic and environmental wellbeing - faces a multitude of challenges. A growing population, modern economy and proliferation of new technologies have placed increased and new demands on infrastructure services and made infrastructure networks increasingly inter-connected. Meanwhile, investment has not kept up with the pace of change leaving many components at the end of their life. Moreover, global environmental change necessitates reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved resilience to extreme events, implying major reconfigurations of these infrastructure systems. Addressing these challenges is further complicated by fragmented, often reactive, regulation and governance arrangements. Existing business models are considered by the Treasury Select Committee to provide poor value but few proven alternative models exist for mobilising finance, particularly in the current economic climate.

Continued delivery of our civil infrastructure, particularly given current financial constraints, will require innovative and integrated thinking across engineering, economic and social sciences. If the process of addressing these issues is to take place efficiently, whilst also minimising associated risks, it will need to be underpinned by an appropriate multi-disciplinary approach that brings together engineering, economic and social science expertise to understand infrastructure financing, valuation and interdependencies under a range of possible futures. The evidence that must form the basis for such a strategic approach does not yet exist. However, evidence alone will be insufficient, so we therefore propose to establish a Centre of excellence, i-BUILD, that will bring together three UK universities with world-leading track records in engineering, economics and social sciences; a portfolio of pioneering inter-disciplinary research; and the research vision and capacity to deliver a multi-disciplinary analysis of innovative business models around infrastructure interdependencies.

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 Department of Sociology at the University of York (Leeds/Birmingham award roughly £750,000). 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.

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 (Leeds award £560,377).

This research seeks 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.

Understanding Walking and Cycling. (Co-Investigator, leading Leeds contribution) Funded by EPSRC – project value £1.1 million. October 2008-September 2011. Jointly with Universities of Lancaster (lead) and Oxford Brookes (Leeds award £324,963).

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 seeks to fill this gap through an in-depth analysis of household decision making with respect to short journeys in urban areas. It has two key aims: To develop better understanding in which households and individuals make travel decisions about short trips in urban areas; and to develop a 'toolkit' that helps 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. 

Other activities

Co-author of recent International Walking Data Standard (see:


Recent publications include:

Books/book chapters

  • Rogers, C., Shipley, J., Blythe, P., Braithwaite, P., Brown, C., Collins, B., Juned, S., Mackenzie, A., Miller, R., Pawlyn, M., Price, J., Swain, C., Tight, M., Tindale, S., Toyne, P. & Leach, J. M. (2014) Future Urban Living – A Policy Commission Investigating the Most Appropriate Means for Accommodating Changing Populations and Their Needs in the Cities of the Future. University of Birmingham. 60 p., October.
  • Colin Pooley, Tim Jones, Miles Tight, Dave Horton, Griet Scheldeman, Caroline Mullen, Ann Jopson, Emanuele Strano (2013) Promoting walking and cycling: New perspectives on sustainable travel. Policy Press, Bristol.
  • Tight, M.R. (2012) Visions 2030 – walking (and cycling) friendly cities. In Albrecht, V. And Hass-Klau, C. (2012) (eds.) Zu Fuss in die Stadt der Zukunft. Kirschbaum Verlag GmbH, Bonn.
  • Hall, J.W., Dawson, R.J., Walsh, C.L. Barker, T., Barr, S.L., Batty, M., Bristow, A.L., Burton, A., Carney, S., Dagoumas, A, Evans, S., Ford, A.C., Glenis, V., Goodess, C.G., Harpham, C., Harwatt, H., Kilsby, C., Kohler, J., Jones, P., Manning, L., Mccarthy, M., Sanderson, M., Tight, M.R., Timms, P.M., and Zanni, A.M. (2009) Engineering cities: how can cities grow whilst reducing emissions and vulnerability? Newcastle University ISBN 978-007017-0225-0.

Selected Academic Journal Papers/refereed conferences

  • Carlo Luiu, Miles Tight & Michael Burrow (2017) The unmet travel needs of the older population: a review of the literature. Transport Reviews, Preview version online.
  • Suliemann, A, Tight, M.R. and Quinn, A. (2016) Hybrid Neural Networks and Boosted regression tree models for Predicting Roadside Particulate matter. Environmental Modelling and Assessment. DOI: 10.1007/s10666-016-9507-5.
  • Tight, M.R. (2016) Sustainable Urban Transport – the role of walking and cycling. Engineering Sustainability. Vol 169(3), pp 87-91. 10.1680/jensu.15.00065.
  • Colin G Pooley, Dave Horton, Griet Scheldeman, Caroline Mullen, Tim Jones and Miles Tight (2014) ‘You feel unusual walking’: The invisible presence of walking in four English cities. Journal of Transport and Health. DOI: 10.1016/j.jth.2014.07.003
  • Mullen, C., Tight, M.R., Jopson, A. And Whiteing, A. (2014) Knowing their place on the roads: what would equality mean for walking and cycling? Transportation Research A, Vol 61, pp 238-248.
  • Timms, Paul, Tight, Miles and Watling David. (2014) Imagineering mobility: Constructing utopias for future urban transport. Environment and Planning A. Volume 46 (1), pp 78-93.
  • Colin G. Pooley, Dave Horton, Griet Scheldeman, Caroline Mullen, Tim Jones, Miles Tight, Ann Jopson, Alison Chisholm (2013) Policies for promoting walking and cycling in England: A view from the street. Transport Policy, Vol 27 (2013), pp 66-72.
  • Jones, T., Pooley, C., Scheldeman, G., Horton, D., Tight, M., Mullen, C., Jopson, A, and Whiteing, A. (2012) ‘Moving around the city: discourses on walking and cycling in English urban areas’. Environment and Planning A, Vol 44 (6), pp 1407-1424.
  • Tight, M., Timms, P., Banister, D., Bowmaker, J., Copas, J., Day, A., Drinkwater, D., Givoni, M., Guehnemann, A., Lawler, M., Macmillen, J., Miles, A., Moore, N., Newton, R., Ngoduy, D., Ormerod, M., O’Sullivan, M., Watling, D. (2011) Visions for a walking and cycling focussed urban transport system. Journal of Transport Geography. Vol 19 (6), pp 1580-1589.
  • Pooley, C., Horton, D., Scheldeman, G., Tight, M., Harwatt, H., Jopson, A., Jones, T., Chisholm, A. (2011) ‘Household decision-making for everyday travel: a case study of walking and cycling in Lancaster (UK)’ Journal of Transport Geography. Vol 19(6), pp 1601-1607.
  • Kelly, C.E., Tight, M.R., Hodgson, F.C. and Page M.W. (2011) A comparison of three methods for assessing the walkability of the pedestrian environment. Journal of Transport Geography. Vol 19 (6), pp1500-1508.
  • Henrik Gudmundsson; Mary Lawler; Maria J Figueroa and Miles Tight (2011) How does transport policy cope with climate challenges? Experiences from the UK and other European countries Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol 137, No 6, pp383-392.
  • Harwatt, H., Tight, M. and Timms, P. (2011) Personal transport emissions within London: Exploring policy scenarios and carbon reductions up to 2050. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Vol 5 (5), pp 270-288.

View all publications in research portal