Bus stop

In response to the introduction of carbon budgets within the transport sector, the Department for Transport (DfT) has developed a new carbon reduction strategy and is planning to introduce new policies and measures to reduce CO2 emissions from transport. This review is designed to identify the main literatures, datasets and models with which to guide a future framework for the assessment of the social distributional effects of these policies, in particular, their potential to disproportionately negatively impact on already vulnerable and disadvantaged groups within society. It follows in the footsteps of a number of other synthesis reviews that have been commissioned by the Department in order to better understand the social equity effects of its policies, strategies and funded projects and programmes.

The primary objectives for the project were to:

  1. Draw together and review the social research evidence base as it relates to potential SDIs associated with climate change policy options;
  2. Review the evidence base to draw conclusions on any differences in the responses of different social groups to climate change policy options (e.g. acceptability, behavioural response) and the effect of policy options on CO2 emissions from social groups' travel; and
  3. Identify remaining gaps within the evidence base and our understanding of the issues involved and make recommendations on how the gaps could be addressed.

In order to achieve these objectives, the project has focused on the following research questions:

  • What are the potential key social impacts of different climate change policy options?
  • How will these impacts (positive or negative) differ between social groups (distributional impacts)?
  • What key groups will be impacted (positively or negatively) by different climate change policy options?
  • How are public attitudes (including acceptability) likely to differ between social groups for both mandatory and voluntary options? How will take-up (and the barriers to take-up) of voluntary measures differ between groups?
  • What will the impact (in qualitative terms in absence of quantitative data) of policy options be on the i) transport behaviours, and ii) CO2 emissions of different groups?
  • What remaining gaps exist in the evidence base and how could these be filled?

While there is a significant amount of work on the climate change impacts of transport and transport-related mitigation measures, these effects are rarely socio-demographically and / or spatially disaggregated. Similarly, there is an increasing literature on transport disadvantage and its impacts on social exclusion but not specifically in relation to climate change policies. A core aim of this project, therefore, is to bring these two research areas together.


Further Information

For more information on this research project please contact Dr Karen Lucas.