Sustainable Transport Evidence and modelling Paradigms: Cohort Household Analysis to support New Goals in Engineering design (STEP-CHANGE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

There is an accepted need to promote step changes towards more sustainable urban environments, notably in transport and travel, which we will focus on. While many model-based desk-studies have aimed to simulate such environments as part of a decision support tool, they adopt many unvalidated, hypothetical assumptions, particularly in the way that major transport focused interventions might impact on both behaviour and the effectiveness of the infrastructure. There is very little real evidence of what works and what can be used to promote such changes, deriving from either the physical nature and make-up of urban environments and in the way that people choose to act and behave. This 5 year proposal will build on the momentum of major EPSRC- and ESRC-supported activity at the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds and the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester in order to fill this evidence gap, providing an empirically grounded frame for the modelling of transformational futures.The project seeks to produce a step change in current knowledge and practice using a mix of new data sources, methodological innovation in analysis of this diverse data, development of new planning practices and procedures and supporting modelling tools. To this end it will develop visions of urban futures of 2050 which are both resilient to external change and sustainable. The knowledge and procedures developed as part of this project will provide a foundation upon which planners and others involved in decision-making in relation to urban transport, at both local and national levels, can start to put in place the necessary changes to achieve the resilient and sustainable visions of 2050.The proposed research is ambitious and novel. We will undertake the first largely qualitative longitudinal panel study of households which focuses on their transport activity, in particular delving into questions of why they do certain things and how change might be brought about. This work will be complemented by study of historical information over longer periods of time, making use of available information from a variety of transport and non-transport databases, coupled with testimony from planners and others in two study areas who have experienced changes first hand. The task of bringing these diverse data sources together will be innovative and seek to effectively explore ways of integrating these materials in a number of different ways which recognise the complexity of decisions and practices around transport and allow us to draw some understanding of why step changes occur. We will use the results of these analyses to feed into more theoretical work which will consider firstly the potential for new planning procedures and practice and secondly new modelling tools which provide the means to help achieve the step changes necessary in transport for sustainable and resilient urban futures by 2050.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries The immediate and medium term beneficiaries of this project will be: - Transport and urban planning practitioners, including commercial consultants and policy makers, at both the local and national levels - Local authorities and other planning and transport agencies - The national and international transport research community - The national and international social science research community In the longer term the transformational potential of this research in helping to bring about a step change to resilient and sustainable environmental futures planning, offers major economic, social and cultural gains to the general public. Benefits There will be three principal areas of benefit from the research in which practitioners, researchers and authorities will share: - Resources - the project will create and make widely accessible rich, new data sources. These will build the capacity and extend the reach of the UK's archive of qualitative evidence. Extending beyond the transport arena into the broader contexts and dynamics of urban life they will offer new perspectives to current and future researchers in a range of fields. - Knowledge - the development and application of innovative methodologies to the analysis of these new data will furnish practitioners with transformational tools for planning, visioning and modelling step-changes to resilient and sustainable urban environments. They will also inform new thinking on mixed-methods and models of behaviour and agency in the social sciences. - Engagement - our approach to methodological synthesis and the adaptive use of metaphors from a range of subject areas challenges both disciplinary and practice boundaries. It offer new lines of communication between engineering and social sciences and between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Facilitation We will facilitate access to these benefits in the following ways: - A series of workshops and focus groups attached to Strands 2 and 4. These will engage stakeholders, partners and the wider practitioner and researcher communities in explorative, deliberative and didactic sessions on the evolution of policy and practice, futures visioning and planning, and data use. - Annual reporting made publicly accessible in the form of a regular E-bulletin. - Information and updates posted on our project website, which will include an interactive forum for comment and feedback on strand development, preliminary findings and workshop outcomes. - Thematic working papers, which will be available from the website, and the publication of articles aimed at leading transport and social science journals. - Further dissemination through our collaborations with project partners and visiting researchers, and through papers given at national and international conferences. We will also explore possibilities for wider public engagement, including: - Extending web-based publicity and forums for interaction. - End-of-project review and evaluation sessions with mixed sub-samples of cohort members - Bidding for inclusion of project-based public events in the ESRC's annual Festival of Social Science Both ITS and CRESC have established track records in user engagement and knowledge transfer. One of the key roles of the Project Advisory Committee, drawn from project partners, academic visitors and other stakeholders, will be to advise further and more specifically on dissemination and outreach opportunities.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/I00212X/1 01/01/2011 01/04/2012 £1,267,585
EP/I00212X/2 Transfer EP/I00212X/1 02/04/2012 12/08/2016 £1,091,728
 
Description The research undertook a longitudinal cohort survey of a sample of residents living in Leeds and Manchester. The focus of the survey was on transport and particularly how it impacts on people's lives and how it has changed over their lifetime. Where possible we revisited members of the sample on a number of occasions to explore how things had changed, but also to explore in more depth different aspects of transport and lifestyle. The survey generated a large amount of qualitative findings from the interviews which has been coded and stored. Analysis of this data is continuing and we expect a number of papers to develop from this as well as ideas for future research.

The research also further explored alternative transport futures and visions, holding a number of workshops with urban practitioners to examine in detail the feasibility of such visions in real circumstances. The visioning work and the urban workshops have been reported on in a number of project outputs.

Work also progressed on the modelling side of the project, exploring in particular ideas for development of conceptual models which promote major change to transport systems rather than stifle it.
Exploitation Route The findings from the cohort survey provides a valuable resource for future researchers which we intend to make available through the ESRC data archive once initial analysis work has been completed.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

URL http://www.changing-mobilities.org.uk
 
Description The findings have been presented to a wide group of public and other bodies and we have held a number of workshops with such groups too. The aim of these was to raise awareness of the findings and to explore with those groups how they might use them in the future. We have also contributed to a recent (2017) Uk Government Office for Science thinkpiece about the future of mobility.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Transport
Impact Types Societal

 
Description 3S-RECIPE Smart Shrinkage Solutions - Fostering Resilient Cities in Inner Peripheries of Europe.
Amount £160,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 03/2017 
End 04/2020
 
Description From Citizen to Co-innovator, from City Council to Facilitator: Integrating Urban Systems to Provide Better Outcomes for People
Amount £400,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P002021/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 10/2017
 
Description SMArt CitIES Network for Sustainable Urban Futures (SMARTIES Net)
Amount £193,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/P000517/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 05/2017
 
Description University of Birmingham Institute for Global Innovation - resilient cities theme
Amount £350,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 02/2021
 
Description i-BUILD: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery
Amount £3,567,862 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K012398/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2013 
End 03/2018
 
Description "Una visión para peatones y ciclistas de San Salvador en 2030" (A vision for pedestrians and cyclists in San Salvador in 2030). Participatory workshop for the Ministry of Transport, local government engineers/architects and NGOs. San Salvador, El Salvador 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop was run to engage with practitioners on the issues of long term planning of transport and change in their urban areas.

Increased interest in taking the ideas drawn from the workshop forward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Stepchange workshop Colchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop considering the potential for Stepchange in transport in the Colchester area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Stepchange workshop Telford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop explored future transport systems for the town of Telford in the West Midlands. The participants were local practitioners who were presented with different transport futures for Telford and asked to consider how they might operate and the pathways by which the futures might be achieved.

Awareness raising of alternative possibilities in terms of transport and approaches to achieve those futures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Visions for the role of walking and cycling in Porto Alegre in 2030. Participatory workshop at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop raised awareness of existing transport problems and potential long terms measures to resolve these.

Increased awareness of opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Workshop at the Transport Catapult on: Constructing coherent approaches for imagining the future of the transport system 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited workshop/presentation to the Transport Catapult in Milton Keynes..
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Workshop on Measuring Walking 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop on measuring walking held in Sydney as part of the Walk21 conference. Work lead to the development of an international standard for the measurement of walking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Workshop on Measuring Walking, Vienna 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop on measuring held at the Walk21 conference in Vienna. Main outcome was the delivery of an international standard for walking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015