Current transport systems, with associated emissions and lifestyle choices, have widespread adverse impacts on public health and wellbeing. Inactivity, emissions and accidents all are a growing source of public concern. Research in this theme examines the complex causal relationships among different forms of mobility, health and wellbeing.

What is studied?

Detailed information on travel patterns, time use and mobility experience is used to unravel behaviours and to evaluate policies, strategies and interventions that improve public health and wellbeing. Specific attention is given to the contributions that active travel can make to health and wellbeing, and to effective and efficient ways in which cycling and walking can be encouraged.

The TSU approach

Datasets are analysed to create integrated impact assessments of transport behaviours. Quantitative methods such as simulation and optimisation tools are developed and deployed. Research also makes use of interviews and methods that let research participants create data and capture their experiences.

Research objectives

  • Examine how transport contributes to the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
  • Develop and apply methods to evaluate the health impacts of transport use and transport-related policy.
  • Understand how people whose abilities do not always conform to societal norms accomplish and experience movement around the city.
  • Understand the processes of behaviour change in active travel and public health in order to refine theory and inform practice.

Current Research Projects

Illustration applying the Dorling cartogram algorithm, in terms of the size in proportion to the average daily activity and travel radius of consecutive residents, across the UK

Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor

2020; Dr Won Do Lee and Prof Tim Schwanen

Prof Tim Schwanen Dr Won Do Lee
Medellin, Colombia

Access to healthy living for women in low-income households in peripheral neighbourhoods in the Medellin metropolitan area, Colombia

Funded by PEAK-programme funded by GCRF; 2019 - 2020; Local universities (EAFIT, Universidad Nacional); Local governmental officials (Itagüí Mayor's office, Environmental authorities in the metropolitan area and in Colombia); Dimú (group of 37 women in Itagüí); Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela Prof Tim Schwanen

Prof Tim Schwanen Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela
View over Accra, Ghana. Image: Stefanie / Adobe Stock

Gendered commuting in Accra, Ghana

Funded by John Fell Fund; 2019 - 2020; Prof Tim Schwanen

Prof Tim Schwanen
Global and Local Health Impact Assessment of Transport (GLASST): methods for prioritising model development)

Global and Local Health Impact Assessment of Transport (GLASST): methods for prioritising model development

Funded by EU Horizon 2020; 2019 - 2024; Dr Christian Brand

Christian Brand
PEAK Urban

PEAK Urban

Funded by the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund; 2017-2022; University of Oxford with Peking University; The African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town; The Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Universidad EAFIT; Prof. Tim Schwanen, Dr Lucy Baker, Dr Jacob Doherty and Dr Juan-Pablo Orjuela

Lucy BakerTim SchwanenJuan-Pablo OrjuelaJacob Doherty

Recent Research Projects

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

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; Prof. Tim Schwanen and Dr Denver Nixon

Tim Schwanen
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

Jennie Middleton
Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches - PASTA

Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA)

Funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme; 2013-2017; University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) with multiple research partners; Dr Christian Brand

Christian Brand
Travel behaviour change in Greater Oslo

Travel behaviour change in Greater Oslo

Funded by the Institute of Transport Economics; 2013-2016; Prof. David Banister

David Banister
Impact of Constructing Non-motorised Networks and Evaluating Changes in Travel - iConnect

Impact of Constructing Non-motorised Networks and Evaluating Changes in Travel (iConnect)

Funded by the ESPRC; 2008-2013; University of Oxford with multiple research partners; Dr Christian Brand and Dr Tim Jones.

Christian Brand