TSU Seminar Series - Hilary Term 2014

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Seminars were delivered during Hilary Term (January - March) 2014 in the H O Beckit Room, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford.

For more information on this seminar series, please contact


Week 1: 4pm, 21 January 2014, Beckit room, SoGE

High Speed 2: The spatial implications

Issues: Non-transport impacts of HS2, covering topics such as employment, north-south divide, types of impacts and land values. Chaired by Matthew Niblett, historian.

High Speed Rail in the West Midlands

Neil Ross, Principal Transport Strategy Officer, Centro

The Government is promoting High Speed Two to address the UK's growing rail network capacity challenge as a consequence of the success of passenger and freight services. High Speed Rail will also connect 8 out of 10 UK 'Core Cities' and, based on international experience, can be a catalyst for transformational economic development and growth. The West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority strongly supports High Speed Two for the rail network, economic and congestion benefits it will generate for the West Midlands and the UK. So what are the challenges and benefits for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands? How do we ensure a fair and equitable spread of benefits to ensure all our residents and businesses can benefit? What will be spatial benefits and land-use changes we are projecting to occur?

Neil Ross has worked for Centro for 7 years as Principal Transport Strategy Officer developing and promoting key strategy and policy documents on behalf of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority. In Neil's time at Centro, he has worked on key projects such as the West Midlands Local Transport Plan, rail devolution and High Speed Two (HS2) and presently has the lead policy role for strategic highways and freight. In relation to HS2, Neil developed Centro's response to the original Government consultation, has developed formal inquiry responses on HS2 such as the Transport Select Committee whilst recently helped coordinate the West Midlands Local Connectivity Package required to maximise the benefits of HS2. Neil previously worked for Birmingham City Council's strategic planning team for 5 years and has read a Masters in Transport Planning.

Will HS2 End the North-South Divide? The wider economic impacts of HS2

Henry Overman, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics

Great claims have been made for the economic impact of HS2. This seminar will consider some of the evidence underpinning these claims. What do we know about the likely impact on employment and growth? How should we think about the regeneration benefits? What might be the impact on the North-South divide? The seminar will consider how these effects might be analysed and assess the current approaches to evaluating their impact. It will be argued that, at least on the basis of evidence available, claims on these wider economic impacts appear to have been exaggerated.

Henry Overman, BSc. (Bristol), MSc. (LSE), PhD. (LSE), AcSS, FRSA is Professor of Economic Geography in the department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics. From 2008 to 2013 he directed the Spatial Economics Research Centre. From September 2013 he is director of the new What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth. His current research interests include the causes and consequences of spatial disparities and the impact of urban and regional policy. He has provided policy advice to, amongst others, the European Commission, Department for International Development, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Department for Communities and Local Government, HS2 and the Department for Transport, HM Treasury, the Manchester Independent Economic Review, and the North East Independent Economic Review.


Week 3: 4pm, 4 February 2014, Beckit Room, SoGE

London Airports: Meeting demand

Issues: Meeting projected demand, the limits of current airport capacity and what would be the impacts of a new airport to the east of London and spillover effects of the development constraints at Heathrow.

Where the UK's Hub Airport will be Located in Forty Years' Time: Why Heathrow has to move before it's too late

Daniel Moylan, The Mayor of London's adviser on aviation

Heathrow is the closest thing the UK has to a 'hub' airport, the globally-accepted model of airport infrastructure that allows more new routes to be established to key emerging economies. But Heathrow has run out of capacity, and it will never be expanded because of its a huge noise and air pollution problems. Daniel will explain why we need a single, large hub airport; why it benefits us for the UK's main hub to be in this country rather than overseas; and why our only option for retaining a hub airport in the UK is to build it on a new site. Our airport policy debate boils down to one question: do we want our own world-class hub airport, or would we rather make the vast majority of our journeys into and out of the UK via hub airports on the continent in cities like Amsterdam and Paris?

Daniel Moylan has led the Mayor of London's work on aviation policy for over three years, championing the case for construction of a new hub airport to serve London and the UK. He was Deputy Chairman of Transport for London from 2009 to 2012, where he oversaw a massive programme of investment in transport infrastructure and led the Mayor's work to improve London's public realm. He remains a Member of the Board of Transport for London, and was appointed by TfL as a non-executive director of Crossrail Limited in July 2013. He also served as Chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Spillover Effects of the Development Constraints at Heathrow Airport

Sveinn Gudmundsson, Professor of Strategic Management, Toulouse Business School

Development constraints of airports have grown dramatically in the last few decades, becoming a major public policy issue. In Europe, inability to expand capacity due to land planning constraints and environmental concerns plagues airlines by reducing availability of landing and take-off slots, necessitating shift of traffic to other less congested airports. Even if airport infrastructure can be expanded the time frame is very long, raising an important question: how do air transport systems scale if key hub airports are development constrained? Scalability is the ability of a system, an airport system in our case, to handle growth by increasing efficiency, shift traffic, or increase physical capacity. Estimating the spillover effects from Heathrow airport on other London and regional airports allows deeper understanding of the magnitude and scope of the effects on the UK air transport system and beyond. The presentation will explore the implications of spatial traffic shifts reinforced by spillover effects from London Heathrow.

Professor Sveinn Vidar Gudmundsson PhD (Cranfield) is Professor Strategic Management at Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France. Sveinn was Senior Visiting Fellow at the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University (2008-9), and is currently the IRCA Award Visiting Researcher at ITLS, University of Sydney (2013-14). He is Vice-President of the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) and Associate Editor of Transportation Research Part E. Sveinn has co-edited over 40 special issues of academic journals dealing with air transport issues and published extensively in transport and management journals. In his work, Professor Gudmundsson uses multi- and inter-disciplinary research to address strategic questions in the air transport and aerospace industries. He has made a significant contribution to the air transport academic community and the education of senior professionals in aerospace and air transport around the world.


Week 5: 4pm, 18 February 2014, Beckit Room, SoGE

Transport Infrastructure Investments - Development or Growth?

Issues: Public private partnerships in the development of the necessary infrastructure planning for countries in transition.

Distributional Aspects of Investments in Transport Infrastructure with Respect to Different Social Groups

John Howe, International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands

The presentation examines what is known from theoretical and empirical studies about how investment in rural transport infrastructure impacts on different social groups. The point of departure is the late 1950's and early 1960's with the growing number of independent countries and the rise of large scale aid-assisted development. It traces the gradual change from a focus on wholly economic benefits to the comparatively recent emphasis on the lives of the poor. The central argument is that investment in infrastructure is a blunt instrument for effecting socioeconomic change, which requires a much clearer understanding of the nature of transport among the poor and the influence of geographical and cultural constraints, and a policy set of responses that address the concerns such an approach reveals.

Dr John Howe joined the Overseas Unit of TRL in 1961 and spent 12 years on research into the road and traffic engineering problems of rural developing countries. Between 1972-74 he established an MSc course in highway and traffic engineering for developing countries at the University of Surrey. He set up his own consultancy in 1979 and was appointed Professor Transport Engineering (1991-2001) at IHE Delft, Netherlands, after which he returned to international consultancy. His specialization is the transport policy and planning problems of the least developed countries and their poorest populations. He has working experience of more than 50 countries the majority of which have been in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America.

Do Infrastructure Public Private Partnerships work in Countries in Transition?

Marcial Bustinduy-Navas, European Bank for Reconstruction (EBRD)

Infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe suffered from years of under investment and is in need of modernisation and development to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in these transition countries. Government resources alone cannot meet these investment needs and yet public private partnerships (PPPs) have not been widely used to date in this region to mobilise private capital and know-how. Why is this so, despite the development of the enabling legal and regulatory frameworks in many of these countries to support such as an approach? The reasons are numerous and range from lack of political will, reluctance to invest time and resources in proper structuring of PPPs, to concerns about the accounting treatment of PPPs in government budgets. This session explores the reasons behind the limited number of PPPs in Central and Eastern Europe and the role of International Financial Institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in supporting wider use of PPPs to speed up the modernisation of key infrastructure in this region.

Marcial Bustinduy-Navas is a Sustainable Transport Specialist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Week 7: 4pm, 4 March 2014, Beckit Room, SoGE

The Transport Debate: A new book by Iain Docherty and Jon Shaw

Issues: The quality of Britain's transport system, the economic, social and environmental costs, and the potential for affordable and politically deliverable solutions.

Iain Docherty, Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Glasgow, and Jon Shaw, Professor of Geography, Plymouth University

On being asked to write a book about transport policy from a UK perspective, we set ourselves the task of challenging the status quo. Of course we wanted to critique what have become established norms in British transport policy, but we also challenged ourselves to write about them in a novel way. Rather than focusing our chapters on specific modes or issues (environment, economy, society etc.) we designed the narrative around a series of journeys, the sorts of transport experiences with which you, and we, are most familiar. This approach allows us both to explore the links between transport issues and policies as they apply to everyday activities we all understand well, and to relate emerging themes to broader economic, social and environmental imperatives. Drawing up on 'traditional' transport literature as well as that emerging from the 'new mobilities paradigm' we follow journeys made - the commute, the school run, the business trip, the family visit and the summer holiday - by our very own 'Motorway Man', Paul Smith, and his family. The Smiths' experiences reveal the many shortcomings, occasional successes, and various opportunities for improvement evident in UK transport policy.

Jon Shaw and Iain Docherty have published five books together on various aspects of transport geography and policy. Jon is Professor and Head of Geography at Plymouth University, and has been Associate Editor of the Journal of Transport Geography and a Specialist Adviser to the Transport Committee of the House of Commons. He researches issues associated with mobility, transport policy and governance and his current research activity includes a large EU-funded project on the mobility needs of older people. Iain is Head of Management and Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School. He has advised a range of private sector, governmental and other organisations in the UK, US, Canada and Sweden, and served as Non-Executive Director of Transport Scotland. His current transport-related research focuses on the delivery of low carbon transitions.