People's movements through time and space and the social consequences of their mobility and immobility is a key feature of this research theme.

Mobility encompasses people's actual use of transport systems; their experience of such use; the meanings and power relations that shape, and are shaped by, transport; and the potential movements through space that people can undertake. Research highlights the centrality of mobility to contemporary ways of everyday life, systems of meanings and values, social and spatial inequality, and the formation of identity categories such as those of the cosmopolitan citizen and the responsible parent. The work under this theme is strongly informed by thinking from human geography, sociology and cultural studies.

Research in this theme aims to:
  • Understand the implications of long-term transformations in societies, such as population dynamics and changes in norms and values, for people's mobility and everyday activities;
  • Develop new understandings of how people use transport systems and of patterns of immobility resulting from social, cultural or economic disadvantage; and
  • Explore the ways in which mobility and immobility are central to the creation and reproduction of social and spatial inequalities between individuals, households and places.

Core strands of work include:

  • Everyday urban mobilities: Research focuses on the relationships between the multiple dimensions of people's everyday coordination activities and the complexity of moving into, and through, urban space.
  • Mobility practices and inequality: Research investigates how different social groups undertake and experience everyday movement and how mobility is shaped by, and shapes, the built environment, technology and media use, and people's social and other forms of capital.
  • Meaning, identity and mobility: Research explores the multiple meanings, values and norms that individuals, public authorities, the media, and the scientific community associate with movement, and how those meanings contribute to social differentiation and identity formation.

Current Research Projects

Gender, Freight and Automation

Gender, Freight and Automation

Funded by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport; 2017 - 2018; Dr Debbie Hopkins

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The Oxford New Parents Project

Funded by the Wellcome Trust; 2017 - 2018; Dr Jennie Middleton


Go Ultra Low Oxford (GULO) - Monitoring and Evaluation Study

Funded by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicle (OLEV); 2017 - 2019; Dr Brendan Doody

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TEMPEST (Transforming household mobility practices through shared consumption: Low-carbon transport and sustainable energy solutions in urban areas)

Funded by Research Council of Norway: Forskerprosjekt - ENERGIX (Project Number: 255430); 2017-2019; Dr Brendan Doody

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International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Countries (INTALInC)

Jointly funded by ESRC and Department for International Development, under the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund; 2017 - 2018; Dr Tim Schwanen

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Maximising Home Delivery

Funded by the EPSRC; 2016-2018; University of Oxford with University of Cambridge, Heriot Watt University, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Tesco; Dr Tim Schwanen and Dr Christian Brand


DEsigning and Policy Implementation for encouraging Cycling and walking Trips (DEPICT)

Funded by the ESRC; 2015-2018; University of Oxford with Utrecht University and University of São Paulo; Dr Tim Schwanen and Dr Denver Nixon

Everyday Mobilities of Visually Impaired Young People

Everyday Mobilities of Visually Impaired Young People

Funded by the John Fell Fund, University of Oxford; 2014-2018; Dr Jennie Middleton


Recent Research Projects

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Young People's Travel Behaviour - Evidence Review

Funded by the Department for Transport; 2016; University of Oxford with UWE Bristol; Dr Tim Schwanen and several TSU researchers

TranSENDaNC: Transport and Social Exclusion: New Directions and National Comparisons

TranSENDaNC: Transport and Social Exclusion: New Directions and National Comparisons

Funded by EU Marie Curie International Researcher Exchange Scheme (IRSES); 2011-2014; University of Oxford, University of Ghent, Belgium and the Universidad de Concepción, Chile; Dr Karen Lucas and Dr Tim Schwanen

Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities in the Recife Metropolitan Region

Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities in the Recife Metropolitan Region

Funded by the Brazilian National Science Research Council; 2011-2014; University of Oxford and the University of Pernambuco, Brazil; Dr Karen Lucas.


Past Research Projects