- Explore the political contexts of transport systems and understand how these are related to developments and sustainability transitions in transport;
- Understand the institutional domains of transport and develop methodologies for effective, just and inclusive transport decision-making;
- Examine and reflect on the politics around the creation of knowledge and expertise regarding transport through (big) data analysis, scenarios, risk analyses, and theory building;
- Make a practical contribution to transport policy-making, particularly at the level of cities and urban areas.
Current research projects
European cities' attempts to accelerate the transition to electric mobility (EM) are generating environmental benefits and enhancing economic viability. Unclear is how socially just these attempts and their outcomes are in terms of who benefits (distribution), whose needs are considered (recognition), and who gets to decide and how (procedure).
With the growing concern regarding the decarbonization of the transport, travel behaviour research has been constantly emphasizing the importance of analysing transport disruptions and subsequent individual traveller responses. Voluntary or involuntary, planned or unplanned, travel disruptions change stable mobility habits and preferences and increase attentiveness to alternative solutions (e.g., teleworking) and transport modes, hence, a higher probability of a conscious (re)consideration of current travel behaviour and a change is expected. From a policy planning perspective, moments of disruption are highly valuable as they open up a "window of opportunity" for introducing and encouraging the use of sustainable transportation alternatives and for promoting health and environmental concerns.
The Politics of Road transport InsuraNCE (PRINCE) studies insurance practices and new sustainable mobility innovations.
Past research projects
Research on digitalisation and its manifold implications for social justice and environmental integrity has been gaining momentum in recent years. Various studies have shown that current forms of digitalisation tend to accelerate economic and social inequalities while environmental costs outweigh environmental benefits. Hence, the need for societal and political action to reshape digitalisation is becoming increasingly clear. But what are core elements of a sustainable digitalisation that contribute to deep sustainability transformations, and how can these be implemented?
Advances in vehicle connectivity and autonomy have increased speculation around the future of the car. Dominated by techno-economic views, these debates currently tend to overemphasise the scale, speed and benefits of a shift to connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). 'Non-technical' factors (e.g., costs, regulatory frameworks, public acceptance) are typically seen as presenting the main barriers to deployment. Such accounts fail to recognise how cultural, institutional and everyday practices will shape CAV developments.
The purpose of this project is to develop an alternative path to electric vehicle ownership and use for households without sufficient or appropriate parking to charge electric vehicles from their homes. Park and Charge (PnC) aims to deliver a new technological and business model design via an easy-to-use, car-park-based service.
Private cars' dominant role in urban transport imposes huge health and environmental costs on cities worldwide, with the greatest share paid by more vulnerable citizens, including children and ethnic minorities. Traffic fatalities, reduced space for safe social interactions together with dangerous levels of air-pollution and carbon-emissions are key issues for cities struggling with both a public health and climate emergency. However, reducing the number of private cars in urban environment it's proven to still be a substantial challenge for planning and policy, as it requires a radical reconfiguration of infrastructure, lifestyles, cultures as well as of transport planning and policy frameworks, politics and economy. The reduced capacity of public transport linked to the Covid-19 pandemic risks to exacerbate the situation.
Transport remains the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, accounting for 34 per cent of total emissions. Despite some advances in other sectors of the economy in the last thirty years, total transport emissions have barely changed.
PEAK Urban is a 51-month, international, multidisciplinary programme (PI Michael Keith, University of Oxford) funded by the Research Councils UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) of UK Research and Innovation and involving researchers at the University of Oxford, Peking University, University of Cape Town, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and EAFIT University.
Road-based transport is undergoing a transition: a series of rapid transformations in technology, business models, regulation and user practices. These processes are studied by scholars from many different disciplines, including transport engineers and social scientists.
The Governance of Controversies in the Allocation of Road Space: The Case of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) provide an important example of controversies around road space allocation, and they have recently made headlines across England. LTNs remove through traffic from residential streets, often through modal filters, while leaving streets 'permeable' to pedestrians and cyclists. They raise profound questions of governance, at both national and local levels, and also expose basic differences within local communities. Implementation of LTNs may appear to follow technocratic processes, but in reality they can lead to the formation of rival coalitions of different actors and generate intense conflicts, with both protagonists and opponents unwilling and incapable of listening to those with (perhaps slightly) different views and perspectives.
The energy storage capacity of electric vehicles (EVs) presents new opportunities and value propositions for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power system services. Potential benefits could include the alleviation of the need for generation and transmission investments and increases in network efficiency and energy security. These benefits arise as V2G technologies enable EVs to deliver electricity from their batteries back into the smart grid which can then be used to power homes and businesses.
Automated vehicles (AVs) could represent the most profound technological change in road transport since the rise of mass production, with reductions in energy demand being one of the many anticipated benefits. Expectations about the effects of AVs on transport systems, including their impacts on energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, are currently soaring. However, there is considerable uncertainty because 1) AV technology is developing rapidly and needs to be embedded in existing mobility systems, 2) automobility is also in flux for factors beyond automation, and 3) AV adoption is in its infancy.