Tim Jones: researcher in OISD: SPU
Find out more about the research here
Tim Jones and Alison Chisholm from OISD:SPU (and the Department of Planning) have begun research with partners from the Universities of Lancaster and Leeds on a three year EPSRC-funded project titled Understanding Walking and Cycling.
An increase in walking and cycling for short journeys in urban areas could significantly reduce traffic congestion, improve the quality of the urban environment, promote improved personal health, and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. Yet recent reviews of research on travel behaviour have emphasised that the ways in which travel decisions are made remain poorly understood, especially in the context of complex and contingent household travel arrangements. This means that policies and interventions to promote walking and cycling are being developed without full understanding of their likely impacts across the population, which may lead to unintended effects and limited success. The research aims to develop a better understanding of how decisions about short-distance everyday mobility are made, and about how these decisions – especially with regard to walking and cycling – are embedded in individual and household circumstances.
Working in four study sites across England, the researchers will adopt intensive and innovative qualitative methods, linked to established quantitative techniques, to demonstrate the ways in which economic, social, cultural, environmental and perceptual factors interact to construct different personal identities of walking and cycling. Engaging a range of stakeholders throughout, the project will assess the implications that these have for travel behaviour and the development of policies and interventions designed to promote more sustainable travel. Alison Chisholm said:
"By understanding more about the personal and household factors that influence the decision of whether to walk or cycle, we hope that this project will contribute something new and valuable to efforts to boost sustainable transport and improve quality of life. This is crucial at a time when issues such as local traffic congestion, public health and climate change are high on the political agenda."