Dr Louise Reardon

Louise Reardon

Department of Public Administration and Policy
Associate Professor in Governance and Public Policy
School Deputy Director of Research (Impact)

Contact details

School of Government
Room 536, Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Louise is Associate Professor of Governance and Public Policy at the Institute of Local Government Studies and School Deputy Director of Research (Impact)

Louise has written widely on agenda setting, multi-level governance, policy change, and wicked problems. She is particularly well known for her research on transport governance, and the wellbeing agenda.

Her work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Political Studies, Policy Studies, and Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. She has been involved in securing and delivering high-value research awards from funders including the Economic and Social Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Australian Research Council.

Louise embraces interdisciplinarity and collaborative approaches to research, whilst also being a passionate advocate for increased recognition and application of political science insights and approaches for addressing complex societal problems. To this end, she co-Chairs the Special Interest Group on Governance and Decision-Making Processes for the World Conference on Transport Research Society, is Governance and Policy strand lead for ISTEMMiCS and has co-edited several collections that advance interdisciplinary debates across a range of issues.

Louise is Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and specialises in supporting public sector professionals to advance their careers and develop effective approaches to public service. She led the development and delivery of the College of Social Science’s first Degree Apprenticeship programme and has specialised in developing blended approaches to teaching and learning.


  • PhD in Political Science, University of Sheffield, 2014
  • MA in Governance and Public Policy, University of Sheffield, 2009
  • BA (hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Durham, 2008


Louise is internationally recognised for her expertise in governance and public policy and regularly provides advice to international funders and policy makers. She also convenes multiple fora for the translation of research findings across disciplines and policy practice.

Broadly, Louise’s research seeks to advance understanding of the contribution governance and public policy processes make to some of society’s most intractable problems, particularly those felt at the urban level.

She is best known for her research on transport policy and governance, including highlighting the political and non-rational nature of transport policy and decision-making, and the tensions between central and local government (and their wider networks) that can limit policy change and stifle implementation. She has also sought to advance analysis of the governance processes related to “smart” and “sustainable” innovations, for example in relation to autonomous vehicles and the future of flight.

Her theoretical interests in governance and policy processes have also been applied and well recognised in relation to wellbeing. Her co-authored monograph The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing (with Prof. Ian Bache, University of Sheffield) was one of the first to apply a political science analysis to the rise of the wellbeing agenda in the UK and internationally.

Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2017, Louise was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds. She has also taught at the University of York, University of Sheffield, and provided guest lectures at the University of Oxford.

Louise is currently Director of Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies and has held several other leadership positions in the department, including Director of Post-Graduate Research and Programme Leader of the Public Management and Leadership Degree Apprenticeship.

She is on the Editorial Boards of Research in Transportation Business & Management and Local Government Studies, having previously been co-editor of the latter. Louise also regularly acts as a peer-reviewer for international research funders and leading academic journals, across disciplines. 


 Louise is currently teaching on the following modules:

  • Public Management and Governance
  • Democracy, Governance and Participation

Postgraduate supervision

Louise is keen to supervise PhD students in her areas of research expertise and interest, including:

  • Multi-level governance
  • Agenda setting and policy change
  • Policy implementation
  • Smart and sustainable transitions
  • Transport policy
  • Urban governance
  • Wellbeing and quality of life

Please contact her for an informal chat about the topic you have in mind.


Research interests

  • Multi-level governance
  • Agenda setting and policy change
  • Policy implementation
  • Smart and sustainable transitions
  • Transport policy
  • Urban governance
  • Wellbeing and quality of life

Current projects

Future Flight (ESRC):

Louise is part of a team led by Prof. Fern Elsdon-Baker (University of Birmingham), which is seeking to advance social science analysis of the public desirability of a range of future flight technologies, such as drones and air taxis. Louise’s research focuses on the governance and public policy challenges across scales (local, regional, national, international), linked to transition to these technologies.

‘Emerging transport technologies: finding new practices in urban governance’:

(Australian Research Council)’ – Led by Professor Carey Curtis, Dr Crystal Legacy, and Dr John Stone (University of Melbourne), Louise is a co-Investigator. The research explores the rapidly changing political economy of Australia’s urban transport systems as private companies deploy new technologies, such as platform services and automation. Many new and existing policy instruments are available to governments to manage this difficult technological transition. In-depth case studies of emerging policy responses in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will be set in the context of fast-moving international developments to explore these issues. This work will deliver new insights into the design and use of better instruments for policy, planning and governance to meet the needs of businesses and the public in this rapidly changing context and to ensure that the potential benefits of the new technologies are fully realised in Australian cities.

‘Facilitating Policy Change for Low Carbon Mobility: The Role of Multilevel Governance’

(CREDS/EPSRC). Louise is PI of this project, collaborating with Dr Timea Nochta (INLOGOV) and Dr Li Wan (University of Cambridge). Urgent and significant change in transport policy is required if the UK wants to meet its net-zero ambitions. This project uses interpretive network and problem analysis to identify the role multi-level governance plays in influencing local-level policy responses towards low carbon mobility.

The project is comparing the multi-level governance of two city regions: Birmingham and Cambridge, using original data from policy documents, participatory mapping workshops and semi-structured interviews. In doing so, the project will provide important and timely recommendations for ways current UK governance arrangements can be supported to enable more effective local policy responses towards low carbon mobility. More information on the project can be found on the CREDS website.

Previous projects:


Louise was co-Investigator of ‘UNDERstanding Indian Urban Governance REFORM: A comparative analysis of the Smart City Mission reforms and their impact on sustainable urban mobility’. This project was an interdisciplinary collaboration led by Prof. Greg Marsden, University of Leeds, alongside Prof. Sanjay Gupta, School of Planning and Architecture Delhi (SPA), Prof. Ashish Verma, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and the World Resources Institute.

This research had two primary aims. The first was to develop cutting edge, theoretically informed insights into the nature of mobility governance reform in India’s smart cities and their potential to generate more sustainable urban mobility. The second aim was to bring together, develop and inspire a community of researchers and practitioners to advance the study and understanding of mobility governance across India and between the UK and India. More information on the project can be found on the Under Reform website.

Long-term institutional Change in the Wake of Crisis (IGI):

Louise was co-Investigator of the project, in collaboration with Dr Xinfang Wang (University of Birmingham) and Dr Long Seng To (Loughborough University). The research focused on energy resilience in Nepal in the wake of the 2015 earthquake. The aim was to ascertain the extent to which long-term institutional changes have been made in relation to energy supply and energy access in response to the earthquake (covering both infrastructure changes and governance processes) and the extent to which these changes have the potential to create a more resilient energy system.

DEMAND (RCUK): Louise worked as a research associate as part of the Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand Centre, funded by Research Councils UK. The Centre aimed to understand the social practices that determine the demand-side of energy and mobility demand. Louise’s research focused on the role of politics and policy in steering and shaping demand for mobility services.  

Other activities

Louise is co-Chair of the Governance and Decision-making Processes Special Interest Group of the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS). The aim of the special interest group is to transform the ways in which the formation and delivery of transport policies are understood within the research community and amongst policymakers and practitioners, with the aim of accelerating the adoption of more inclusive and sustainable transport futures. 


Highlight publications

Reardon, L, Marsden, G, Campbell, M, Gupta, S & Verma, A 2022, 'Analysing multilevel governance dynamics in India: exercising hierarchy through the Smart Cities Mission', Territory, Politics, Governance. https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2022.2107559

Marsden, G & Reardon, L 2017, 'Questions of Governance: Rethinking the Study of Transportation Policy', Transportation Research. Part A: Policy & Practice: an international journal, vol. 101, pp. 238-251. <http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116788/>

Reardon, L & Marsden, G 2020, 'Exploring the role of the state in the depoliticisation of UK transport policy', Policy and politics, vol. 48, no. 2, 18, pp. 223-240. https://doi.org/10.1332/030557319X15707904263616

Reardon, L 2018, 'Networks and problem recognition: advancing the Multiple Streams Approach', Policy Sciences, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-018-9330-8

Bache, I & Reardon, L 2016, The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing: Understanding the Rise and Significance of a New Agenda . Edward Elgar.

Recent publications


Andres, L, Bryson, JR, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L (eds) 2024, Pandemic Recovery? Reframing and Rescaling Societal Challenges. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781802201116

Bryson, JR, Andres, L, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L (eds) 2021, Living with Pandemics: Places, People and Policy. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800373594

Marsden, G & Reardon, L (eds) 2018, Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.


Marsden, G, Reardon, L, Campbell, M, Gupta, S & Verma, A 2024, 'Tightly Bound, Loosely Interpreted: MetaGovernance and Local Institutional Adaptation in the Implementation of the Smart Cities Mission India', Administration & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/00953997241237531

Radcliffe, J, Bryson, JR, Cox, E, Leach, J, Luiu, C & Reardon, L 2022, 'A regional approach to COVID-19 recovery: lessons from the West Midlands', Town Planning Review, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 7-14. https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2021.40

Eskandari Torbaghan, M, Sasidharan, M, Reardon, L & Leila, M 2022, 'Understanding the potential of emerging digital technologies for improving road safety', Accident Analysis & Prevention, vol. 166, 106543. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2021.106543

Wang, X, Reardon, L & To, LS 2022, 'Visualizing Nepal’s electricity supply resilience from a whole-systems perspective: a participatory approach', Energy Research & Social Science, vol. 85, 102409. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102409

Chatterjee, K, Chng, S, Clark, B, Davis, A, De Vos, J, Ettema, D, Handy, S, Martin, A & Reardon, L 2019, 'Commuting and Wellbeing: A Critical Overview of the Literature with Implications for Policy and Future Research', Transport Reviews , vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 5-34.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Andres, L, Bryson, JR, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L 2024, Fragmented recoveries and proactive adaptability: new paradigm shifts and theoretical directions to unpacking recovery processes and behavioural change. in L Andres, JR Bryson, A Ersoy & L Reardon (eds), Pandemic Recovery?: Reframing and rescaling societal challenges. 1 edn, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 359-381. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781802201116.00039

Bryson, JR, Andres, L, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L 2024, Introduction: Shock Chains and Parallel Shocks: Towards a Social Science of the Recovery Society. in L Andres, JR Bryson, A Ersoy & L Reardon (eds), Pandemic Recovery? : Reframing and Rescaling Societal Challenges . 1 edn, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781802201116.00008

Bryson, JR, Andres, L, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L 2024, The Magic of Ordinary rather than Extraordinary Resilience? Higher Education and Longer-Term Pandemic Impacts . in L Andres, JR Bryson, A Ersoy & L Reardon (eds), Pandemic Recovery? : Reframing and Rescaling Societal Challenges. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 322-332. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781802201116.00035

Bryson, JR, Andres, L, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L 2021, A year into the pandemic: shifts, improvisations and impacts for people, place, and policy. in JR Bryson, L Andres, A Ersoy & L Reardon (eds), Living with Pandemics: People, Place and Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 2-34. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800373594.00010

Bryson, JR, Andres, L, Ersoy, A & Reardon, L 2021, The preparedness, responsiveness and recovery triality: a pandemic research and policy framework. in JR Bryson, L Andres, A Ersoy & L Reardon (eds), Living with Pandemics: People, Place and Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 286–305. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800373594.00038


Reardon, L 2020, Smart Mobility as a Catalyst for Policy Change towards Low Carbon Mobility? in A Paulsson & C Sorensen (eds), Shaping Smart Mobility Futures: Governance and Policy Instruments in Times of Sustainability Transitions. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., pp. 139-154.

Commissioned report

Acton, J, Anderson, P, Andres, L, Angus, M, Amor, P, Arrowsmith, J (ed.), Asmelash, H, Bartington, S (ed.), Bengtsson, F, Bhullar, L, Bloss, W, Bonet, B, Börner, S, O Bonsu, N, Bryson, JR, Burns, V, Burrows, A, Calvert, C, Cassidy, N, Cavoski, A, Chadyiwa, M, Chapman, H, Chapman, L, Cockram, M, Degendardt, L, Dickinson, D, Ding, Y, Dobrzynski, D, Dolo, M, Dora, J, Ercolani, M, Ersoy, A, Farag, H, Ferranti, E, Fisher, R, Freer, M, Goldmann, N, Goode, CE, Greenham, S, Gulati, S, Hadfield-Hill, S, Harper, G, Hegerl, G, Hillmansen, S, Holmes, J, Huang, JJ, Huser, C, Jackson, R, Jaroszweski, D, Jefferson, I, Johnson, J, Kaewunruen, S, Kelly-Akinnuoye, F, Kettles, G, Kraftl, P, Krause, S, Leckebusch, GC, Lee, R, Lockwood, B (ed.), Lohse, J, Luna Diez, E, Lynch, I (ed.), MacKenzie, R, Maddison, D, Makepeace, J, Mann, V, Marino, R, Mavronicola, N, McDonald, M, McGowan, K (ed.), Metje, N, Ng, K, Nicol, J, O'Sullivan, C, Phalkey, N, Prestwood, E, Pyatt, N, Quinn, A, Radcliffe, J (ed.), Ravi, M, Reardon, L, Reeder, T, O’Regan, P, Remedios, L, Roberts, J, Rogers, C, Rungskunroch, P, van Schaik, W, Swan, J (ed.), Thomson, I, Toft, H (ed.), Tong, J, Botello Villagrana, F, Walton, A, Wason, C (ed.), Weir, C, Wood, R & Zhong, J 2021, Addressing the climate challenge. University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00003451

View all publications in research portal



Expertise in the governance and public policy challenges associated with the transport sector's response to the climate change challenge, and also the smart mobility transition (including automated vehicles, ride sharing, electronic vehicles). Also the links between transport and wellbeing and governance for improved wellbeing.