Dr Tim Schwanen
  • Director of the Transport Studies Unit
  • Associate Professor in Transport Studies and Human Geography
  • Research Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford


Tim is Director of the Transport Studies Unit, Associate Professor of Transport Studies in the School of Geography and Environment, and Fellow at St Anne's College. He joined the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) in March 2009 and became Director in September 2015.

Before coming to Oxford he worked as a lecturer in urban geography at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. At that university he also completed his PhD dissertation (2003, cum laude) and MSc dissertation (1999, cum laude).

Tim is also a Co-Director of the RCUK funded Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (2013-2018) in which the TSU collaborates with research groups in the Universities of Sussex and Manchester.

Since July 2016 he has been a Visiting Professor of Human Geography at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Current Research

Tim's research concentrates on the geographies of the everyday mobilities of people, goods and information. It is international in outlook, interdisciplinary in scope, informed by the thinking in various sub-disciplines within Geography, and organised around five more general concerns:

  • Low-carbon mobilities and cities - innovation and experimentation, politics and governance, justice;
  • Futures and temporality - sociotechnical transitions, path dependency, habit, rhythm, resilience, vulnerability;
  • Social and spatial inequality - age, gender, the role of mobility and infrastructure;
  • Well-being - conceptualisations, relationships with mobility and place, politics;
  • Philosophy of transport and mobility - history of thought and praxis, new concepts and modes of thinking.


Tim teaches on the Preliminary Examination (Prelims) and Final Honour School (FHS) in Geography, as well as the Nature, Society and Environmental Governance (NSEG) MSc programme.

On the Prelims programme he teaches some of the 'Networks and Mobilities' lectures in the Human Geography course. He coordinates and teaches on the FHS Special Subject course 'Transport and Mobilities'. On the NSEG Course he teaches half of 'Decision Making Processes', which is one of the programme's core modules, and offers the 'Cities, Mobility and Climate Change' Elective to students across the School's MSc Students.

Tim also leads the Geography School at St Anne's College where he teaches most of the human geography tutorials. He is also involved in the TSU's short-course programme 'Global Challenges in Transport'.

Current Graduate Research Students

Paola Castaneda

How is the bike made mobile? Learning from bicycle advocacy in Latin America

Eric (Tak Hin) Chan

The role of built environment and travel behaviour in influencing people's well-being - A case study of Shenzhen

Wenbo Guo

Mobility, subjective well-being and health in transitional China: towards socially sustainable cities

Yifan Han

A demand atlas for the planning, operations and upgrading of bicycle-sharing systems

Luis Iturra

Exploring urban inequality through unveiling uneven atmospheres in everyday mobility practices

Helen Morrissey

Taxi Wars: understanding 'data as governance' in South Africa's transport sector

Nina Teng

Examining Trust in Shared Mobility: The Case of On-Demand Peer-to-Peer Ridesharing in Southeast Asia

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Heuishilja Chang
Completed DPhil in 2018

The resilience of shrinking communities in rural Japan: Can the Cittaslow approach be a possible development strategy?

Anna Davidson
Completed DPhil in 2018

Moblizing bodies: unsettling sustainable mobility through cycling in Los Angeles

Rafael Pereira
Completed DPhil in 2018

Distributive justice and transportation equity: inequality in accessibility in Rio de Janeiro

Thomas Ashfold
Completed DPhil in 2016

Work, Time and Rhythm: Investigating contemporary ‘time squeeze’


Tim regularly gives key notes and invited talks at conferences and departments, including the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Plenary Lecture at the 2016 Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

He was the editor-in-chief of Journal of Transport Geography in 2013-2015 and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of multiple academic journals: Applied Mobilities, European Journal of Future Studies, Journal of Transport Geography, Sustainability, Transportation, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, and Travel Behaviour and Society.

Tim is one of the Fellows of the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis.

Publications (since 2009)


Journal Articles

Book Chapters


Co-edited Special Issues