The Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, is a major partner in a £1.4m, three year project that aims to develop visions of sustainable urban futures. 'Visions of the role of walking and cycling in 2030' (Visions2030) seeks to revitalise the quality of walking and cycling in the UK and explore ways in which more people might be encouraged to use these modes in the future.
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the research commenced in October 2008 and also involves the universities of Leeds, East Anglia, Salford and Manchester. It builds upon a growing recognition that walking and cycling can make a considerable contribution to sustainable transport goals, public health and the sociability of communities.
The amount of walking and cycling in the United Kingdom has declined significantly over the last sixty years and previous research suggests that there are currently major obstacles preventing people from using these modes. Visions2030 is unashamedly radical in its approach to this challenge and will examine the means by which a fundamental change to both the quantity and quality of such 'active travel' can occur.
Public engagement with the visioning process is a key priority, and a range of participatory tools will enable people to weave their own stories in and out of expert visions, thus opening up the possibility of a richer and expanded set of visions, grounded in real experiences.
James Macmillen, research fellow at the Transport Studies Unit, comments: "Urban space is an extremely precious resource and our society needs to think seriously about how we would like our cities to function. This research represents a fantastic opportunity to improve the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the UK."
For more information and output from this research project, please see the Visions2030 website.