- Understand the implications of long-term transformations in societies, such as population dynamics and changes in norms and values, for everyday travel;
- Examine how the use and design of transport systems reflect and shape social and economic inequalities;
- Explore the links of transport system use with social relations and identities;
- Make active contributions to transport related policies, community actions and other initiatives that redress inequalities and empower disadvantaged groups and communities.
Current research projects
Care on the Move: active travel and the everyday mobilities of children with non-visible disabilities
The care on the move project funded by ESRC focuses on children with non-visible disabilities. At least 1.5 million children in England have special educational needs (SEN), with the most common type of need involving a non-visible disability (GOV.UK, 2022) yet there is no academic research that has specifically examined their everyday mobility needs and experiences.
The main objective of Climate Mobility, Onward Precarity and Urban Environment (CEMENT) is to generate new empirical evidence to assess the importance of climate change in the mobility decisions made by 10 farming families across two different villages in Ethiopia.
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 transition to electric mobility will have significant impacts on energy infrastructure systems. On the other hand, urban development plays a crucial role in determining where the need may arise for electric vehicles (EVs) and their charging infrastructure. Yet to date, the interaction and dependency of energy infrastructure and urban development, alongside the impacts of EV policies, within different institutional contexts remain insufficiently explored.
The FAIR (Fuel and trAnsport poverty In the UK’s energy tRansition) project will examine the intersections between fuel and transport poverty, and low carbon energy transitions, in the UK. Fuel poverty has been defined as the inability to secure materially- and socially-necessitated energy services, such as heating a home or using appliances. Transport poverty is the enforced lack of mobility services necessary for participation in society, resulting from the inaccessibility, unaffordability or unavailability of transport.
It is estimated that seniors will make up approximately one fifth of the UK population by 2030. Promoting the wellbeing of this growing ageing population is a pressing contemporary issue, and a key factor relating to older adults' quality of life is their mobility. Not only is mobility a basic human need associated with independence, health, and wellbeing, but it is also important for older adults wishing to "age in place": to remain living in their homes or their communities with some level of independence, rather than in residential care. To successfully age in place, older adults need to remain mobile to stay active, to access desired people and places, to meet their daily needs, and to participate in social life.
Transport appraisal practices are often criticised for poorly accounting for the unequal ways in which the costs and benefits associated with transport schemes are distributed. Often, the barriers which prevent individuals and groups from benefiting from new transport services, are poorly understood and addressed.
Past research projects
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.
This is a public engagement project centred around a virtual exhibition (available at www.NotWorkingFromHome.org) which documents the everyday lives and everyday mobilities of key workers who have not been able to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
Transport affordability is often understood in purely economic terms, as the mismatch between high transport prices and low incomes. But experiences of being unable to afford transport can be much more complex, and incorporate different social practices, changing technologies, and political and business decisions. Examples include a passenger not having the exact fare for a bus journey, or a rail commuter being unable to buy a season ticket and relying on expensive day fares. During 2021 and 2022, the project New theoretical and methodological approaches to transport unaffordability, led by Dr Anna Plyushteva, will examine this expanded notion of transport unaffordability.
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.
The impacts of commuting on employment and well-being of different social groups in African cities are understudied. This pilot project addresses the gender dimensions and implications of congestion and mobility in Accra, Ghana - a rapidly growing city with inadequate provision of housing and transport infrastructure amidst limited employment opportunities. It will deploy a survey of 500 commuters and focus groups and use the resulting data to explore the impact of commuting on labour market activities, health and well-being given prevailing socio-cultural gender norms. The project will deliver proof-of-concept for the methodology, build capacity for a large grant application, and generate three journal articles.
Transport services are increasingly booked through smart phones, yet travellers are often unaware of the impacts that changes in technologies have for operators and how they shape the city. This project engages with citizens of Bengaluru, India, and further afield by producing and disseminating a short documentary film that traces the day-to-day lived experiences of auto rickshaw drivers who form a key component of Indian mobility systems.