BACK-SCENE: Backcasting scenarios as collaborative learning process: involving stakeholders in transport climate policy

Scenario building provides a family of methods that can be used for studying the likely response of the transport sector to the climate change problem. The backcasting approach has gained particular prominence in transport studies over the last years. The distinctiveness of this approach lies in taking a normative view of desirable endpoints in the future and then examining the means and pathways by which those futures can be reached.

While transport planning has seen markedly increased stakeholder participation and interaction, backcasting studies tend to use a single normative vision (often with clearly stated environmental targets) and then develop alternative pathways to reach that vision. This methodology could strongly limit the potential capacity of backcasting studies to bridge the gap between research and action in the context of transport climate policy.

"BACK-SCENE" aims to further develop backcasting methodology by examining two sets of issues: (i) the assessment of backcasting scenarios and collaborative learning processes in urban transport and climate policy; (ii) and secondly the means by which research and action can be made more effective. These issues will be addressed by using an innovative methodology labelled "experiential research design". Its proponents highlight the idea that innovations in planning require not only research directed at understating planning problems, but also research directed at developing new approaches for solving them. Involving stakeholders is essential to the latter. The way in which the methodology is applied consists in sequential and reciprocal "learning processes" between planning researchers and stakeholders from an inter- and multidisciplinary viewpoint.

The empirical focus of the project is on the region of Andalucía in Spain. Affected by growing concerns over the effects of climate change and the adoption of international agreements (i.e. Kyoto Protocol, EU-directives, IPPC, etc.), the government of Andalucía is now designing regional scenarios to face to climate change. While such scenarios focus mainly on issues such as temperature, rainfall and land degradation, only limited attention is paid to the contribution of the urban transport sector to climate change.

BACK-SCENE is structured around three interrelated specific objectives:

  1. To generate visions for the Andalucía transport sector and its emissions in 2050 by using a participatory process.
  2. To construct policy packages scenarios for reaching CO2 reduction targets from the generated visions.
  3. To test the implementation desirability and likelihood of policy packages scenarios according to the perceptions of Andalucía-policy-makers.

Further Information

For more information and output from this research project, please contact Professor David Banister.