News from the Centre for Transport and Society (CTS)
Read the latest news and activities from our members.
The Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) is regularly involved in policy shaping research and important events.
Dr Steve Melia gave evidence on the third day of the inquiry into Bristol Airport's appeal against North Somerset Council's refusal of its application to expand. In it, he argues that the government’s recent policy paper on Decarbonising Transport has failed to provide a credible plan to reach net zero emissions but has authorised local authorities to make their own decisions on the climate impacts of expanding airports. Watch the recording of Steve giving evidence.
The CTS had thirteen papers accepted for the Universities’ Transport Study Group annual conference, which took place online on 5 to 6 July. Dr Kiron Chatterjee’s and Dr Sarah Collings’ paper on ‘How transport can enable young people to thrive’ was selected as the opening plenary paper. Ten members of CTS (virtually) attended the conference. Dr Steve Melia presented three papers, on: transport protest movements, road building and loss of countryside and how traffic “disappears” when roads are closed (with Dr Tom Calvert). Dr Caroline Bartle presented a paper on 'Who uses e-bikes in the UK?' co-written with Steve Melia.
Freight transport is a fundamental component of the economy, but it is responsible for traffic congestion, carbon emissions, road safety risks and poor air quality. On 1 July, Dr Daniela Paddeu discussed these issues in the last CTS webinar of the academic year, now available to watch on demand.
CTS members, Professor Graham Parkhurst, Dr Miriam Ricci and Dr Ian Shergold contributed chapters to the International Encyclopedia of Transportation, which has just been published. Their contributions are as follows:
- Parkhurst, G. (2021) Electric mobility. In: Vickerman, Roger (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Transportation, pp. 64-72.
- Ricci, M. (2021) Public engagement in transport planning. In: Vickerman, Roger (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Transportation vol 6. pp. 266-271.
- Shergold, I. (2021) Community transport: Filling the gaps for those in need of mobility. In: Vickerman, Roger (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Transportation, pp. 314-319.
Dr Steve Melia was interviewed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy to produce a video for their training programme Carbon Literacy for Planners and Conservation Officers. Watch the video via YouTube.
CTS has teamed up with walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, to deliver a research project which aims to address transport-related barriers faced by young people aged 12 to 24 years in the UK. The project launched this month and had pick up from industry press including bikebiz, The Planner, and The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
CTS held a webinar on Healthy Ageing and the role of mobility, public transport and internet, which broadcasted live on 22 April. Our speaker was Dr Evangelia Pantelaki, Research Fellow at the Economics Department, University of Insubria (Italy) and former visiting researcher at CTS. Eva shared with us the key findings from her PhD, which she has recently and successfully completed. Watch the recording of Dr Pantelaki's talk.
On 15 April, Professor Glenn Lyons chaired a Fireside Chat on a women of colour perspective on transport, and implications from the pandemic. Read the writeup of the event which includes a reading list of particular value to those who enjoy white, male privilege. You can also view a recording of the session via YouTube.
In March, we held two public webinars. On 3 March, Dr Adrian Davis (UWE Bristol Visiting Professor; Professor of Transport and Health, Edinburgh Napier University) presented a review of evidence of the effects of closing school roads to traffic. View the recording of Dr Davis' talk. On 18 March, we welcomed our former PhD student, Dr Alex Nikitas (now Reader in Smart Transport at the University of Huddersfield), who presented a review of the successes and failures of bike sharing schemes and the lessons learnt from these. Watch the recording of Dr Nikitas' presentation. Both live events attracted over 30 attendees from all over the world.
The CTS webinar was held on 22 April and the speaker was our former Visiting Researcher, Dr Eva Pantelaki, who has successfully completed her PhD at the University of Insubria (Italy) in March. She presented her research on Healthy ageing: Mobility, public transport and Internet use. See further details of the Healthy Ageing webinar.
- Kiron gave oral evidence to the Transport Committee inquiry on young and novice drivers with the final report citing CTS research on decreased driver licensing rates amongst young adults and the impact of car access on their life opportunities. Kiron’s evidence contributed to the Committee’s recommendation that the Department for Transport conduct further research into the social and economic consequences of a Graduated Driver Licensing Scheme before considering its introduction.
- Steve gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into Greening the post-COVID recovery last December. The final report, Growing Back Better, cites his evidence in three places, related to road building, decarbonisation and hydrogen power. One of the points they cited was that “the Government’s plans to invest in road building risked accelerating the loss of biodiversity by severing and further fragmenting habitats”. This statement drew on this study published last year.
Dr Miriam Ricci was invited to present on Transport inequalities in access, pollution emissions and exposure at the Environment Agency’s series of workshops for the Air Quality Inequalities project, on 17 February 2021. Miriam also facilitated workshop discussions in breakout groups. The event was chaired by Dr Jo Barnes, from the Air Quality Management Research Centre.
Dr Miriam Ricci was invited to give a presentation to the Bristol Citizens Assembly on Saturday 6 February 2021 on the causes and consequences of car dependency in cities. Watch Miriam's presentation Transport & the City: What’s gone wrong and why we need to fix it.
Dr Miriam Ricci was invited to give a presentation on Effecting Behaviour Change and Supporting Public Transport Use at Transport for Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund Conference, which attracted 100+ delegates. Watch the presentation and Miriam’s contribution to the live Q&A session (using the password - caps sensitive - Bpfc1).
Jonathan Flower joined the board of the Transport Planning Society in order to strengthen the Society’s link with students and universities and to seek research evidence that can inform transport policy and practice.
Roads, Runways and Resistance – from the Newbury Bypass to Extinction Rebellion by Dr Steve Melia has just been published by Pluto Press. The book is based on over 50 interviews with government ministers, advisors and protestors - many of whom, including 'Swampy', were speaking for the first time about the events they describe. It is a story of transport ministers undermined by their own Prime Ministers, protestors attacked or quietly supported by the police, and smartly-dressed protestors who found a way onto the roof of the Houses of Parliament. The research for the book, partly funded by UWE Bristol, also led to two journal articles (Melia 2019, Melia 2020). Watch a short film about Steve's book.
On 26 January, Steve gave an online talk about Roads Runways and Resistance, chaired by Professor Graham Parkhurst. Watch the recording of Dr Melia's talk and Q&A session.
Dr Daniela Paddeu and Jozef Denby, former student of the MSc in Transport Engineering and Planning (2018/19), had a journal article accepted for publication in Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. The paper explores the opportunities for truck platooning to decarbonise freight transport in the UK and reflects the high-quality work carried out by Jozef in his Masters dissertation.
Dr Kiron Chatterjee chaired a two-day Zoom meeting of the International Transport Forum Working Group on ‘Travel Transitions & New Mobility Behaviour’ on 7-8 December. It was a big challenge to his multi-tasking capabilities to steer the discussion, read the on-screen chat and take on board the key ideas raised, especially when occasionally losing the connection. There were about 40-50 different participants in total over the two days, drawn from different ministries of transport across the globe and expert researchers. The Working Group will need to produce a report in time for the next International Transport Forum Summit in May 2021 and Kiron expects to have a bit of work helping with this.
CTS resumed its seminar series, with a fully online delivery on MS Teams. The fourth and last seminar before the Christmas break, held on 8 December, featured Dr Caroline Bartleand Dr Steve Melia presenting 'The Electric Bike Revolution – Who is Joining?'. Watch the recording of 'The Electric Bike Revolution - Who is Joining?' via Panopto.
Dr Steve Melia gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into Greening the post-COVID recovery on 3 December. Watch the recording of Greening the post-COVID recovery by parliamentlive.tv.
Sarah Tauwhare, who recently completed her MRes Mobilities in Geography and Environmental Management, gave a presentation with her supervisor Dr Juliet Jain at the New Zealand Geographical Society Annual Conference. The presentation, ‘More than a walk in the woods’, deconstructed an ethnographic evidence from a health walk in Southmead to reconceptualise such activities. The benefit of COVID enabled the participation with the conference via Zoom, although the 13 hour time difference was challenging!
Professor John Parkin is a member of Research Excellence Framework 2021 Sub-panel 12: Engineering. He has been appointed in the role of an output assessor. The full listing of panel membership was updated on 4 December 2020.
Dr Kiron Chatterjee was invited to be a witness for the Transport Select Committee enquiry on Young and Novice Drivers inquiry in a session focusing on the relationship between driving and social mobility held on 21 October. Instead of being in the Thatcher Room at Portcullis House, he contributed to the session from his home office.
The exciting new interactive CAPRI Virtual Museum that charts the achievements and findings of the recently completed CAPRI research project will feature contributions from CTSand the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL). CAPRI was a practical, evidence-led research project that has broadened the UK’s knowledge of the impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV). Read about this in our new blog post and, for more information, contact Dr Daniela Paddeu or Dr Ian Shergold.
Professor Glenn Lyons, in collaboration with PTRC, has organised a series of ‘Fireside Chats’ – 90-minute panel sessions on the implications of COVID-19 for transport. The next event on 15 October, 'Reflections from emerging and established transport professionals', will focus on the voices of young professionals in looking at future transport. View the recording of the PTRC Fireside Chat event. The write-ups and YouTube recordings of past events are freely available:
- As we face the greatest fight of our professional lives, we need transport planners with super powers (23 April)
- Public transport: Overcoming social distancing to help ensure people are not socially excluded (18 June)
- Never waste a crisis: Rethinking what we want our roads to do for us (16 July)
- And don’t forget walking: taking steps out of the pandemic (17 September).
A new member has joined the CTS family on 1 September, Dr Sarah Collings. Sarah is our 'Senior Research Fellow for Young People, Transport and Health’ to work on the Health Foundation funded project to make the case for better transport for young people. We are jointly conducting this project with Sustrans. Sarah's previous positions include overseeing UK-wide schools campaigns (at Sustrans), and working in sustainable transport consultancy during which she designed, managed and delivered a range of behaviour change interventions for government funders including personalised travel planning in communities across north England and Scotland. Before working in transport, Sarah completed a doctorate modelling Antarctic food webs for the British Antarctic Survey and University of York.
Much of the focus of research and innovation in the transport sector has been on motorised transport (including driverless cars). In Professor Glenn Lyons' newly published open access paper, Walking as a service – Does it have legs? , he highlights how, far from being dull, walking is at the heart of mobility innovation. The paper sets out how Google Maps Navigation could represent a win-win-win for promoting walking, helping (local) businesses and (of course) generating profit for Google. See also Glenn’s LinkedIn article which summarises the paper.
CTS is recruiting a Senior Research Fellow for Young People, Transport and Health. This is an exciting and unusual opportunity to work at the interface between research and policy in a role aiming to use high quality evidence to influence transport policies and bring about better transport for young people. Take a look at the full job description and the information for applicants. The application closing date is 16 June 2020.
On 23 April, Professor Glenn Lyons chaired a PTRC ‘fireside chat’ on the topic of “The Global Shock of COVID-19 – Will it jolt the transport sector into significant change?”. This talk attracted 1,200 registrations and nearly 600 people joined the event. With the climate crisis still facing us, hope rests upon a silver lining to the COVID-19 being a change to how, and how much, we use the transport system.
When it comes to driverless cars, there are lovers and haters – they are like oil and water, they don’t generally mix. To address this, Professor Glenn Lyons took forward the Driverless Cars Emulsion initiative. Involving over 100 people in six UK cities, he ran workshops to bring the lovers and haters together to creatively explore whether or not driverless cars were a great opportunity for society. The final report for the Driverless Cars Emulsion initiative was published at the beginning of April with key insights for the future of mobility.
CTS is part of a consortium led by Mott MacDonald that is in its second year of providing futures support to the UK Department for Transport. The consortium has just completed a major piece of work to develop a series of technology roadmaps for reducing and removing ‘tailpipe’ emissions from across UK domestic transport – the sector with the greatest single contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The work is a key pillar within the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan currently under development. Read theDecarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge report. Professor Glenn Lyons is technical lead for the work and can be contacted for further information.
Sarah Caughey, UWE Bristol Geography graduate, won first prize and Becky Cox, runner up prize, were awarded the best dissertations on the Masters programmes in transport by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). Sarah presented her topic "Digital distraction: An investigation into the distracted behaviour of pedestrians in Bristol." Becky’s topic was "How accessible is the Swindon cycle network to disabled cyclists?”. Jozef Denby, also a UWE Bristol Civil Engineering graduate, was awarded the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) prize for best overall performance on the Masters degrees. The prizes were awarded by David Coombes of CILT, and Tony Sharp, of the CIHT. Afterwards, Andrew Hemmings, the Chair of the CILT rail forum gave a talk on sustainability in the rail freight sector. A good evening was had by all!
Dr Steve Melia gave an eight minute presentation to the UK Climate Assembly on Saturday 9 February. The citizens' assembly, representative of the UK population, was convened by six parliamentary committees to advise them and the government on how to decarbonise the UK to reach the legislated net zero requirement by 2050.
CTS has received £117,000 from the Road Safety Trust to undertake research to assist in the design development of side road crossings. The team expects this well researched evidence base will underpin future design standards and guidance and help make roads safer for everyone. Professor John Parkin at UWE Bristol said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this Road Safety Trust grant which will allow us to explore in depth the issues linked to the design of side road layouts and the way priority is offered to different users. There are significant pressures to improve street environments for all users, and understanding user behaviour will allow us to provide recommendations for principles to be adopted for further developments in making streets more comfortable, attractive and safe for all users.”
Dr Steve Melia has been selected as one of the expert speakers at the Climate Assembly in Birmingham on 8 February. The Assembly has been convened by six parliamentary committees to examine how the UK can reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 as required by law. It will be made up of citizens representative of the UK adult population. The citizens will hear presentations from invited experts and will then be able to question them.
Dr Kiron Chatterjee and Dr Ben Clark were Guest Editors of the recently published issue of Built Environment on Changing Patterns of Commuting. The ten papers in the issue cover three continents and seven countries. Each paper offers new insights on how commuting journeys vary across space and how this is influenced by spatial development and economic, technological and cultural change. Read the summary of the special issue's highlights and key messages.