Centre for Transport and Society news and events 2015

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Dr Steve Melia gave keynote presentation to Intelligent City Mobility Conference at the Kia Oval

Dr Steve Melia, Senior Lecturer at Centre for Transport and Society (CTS),was invited to give a keynote presentation to the Intelligent City Mobility Conference organised by Landor Links at the Kia Oval in London on 12 November 2015. The conference, which also featured UWE Emeritus Professor Phil Goodwin, aimed to explore how mobility in cities is evolving. Steve’s talk was on ‘Liveable Cities and the Myths of Urban Transport, drawing on his recently published book 'Urban Transport Without the Hot Air'.

CTS created transport theme for ‘Our Green City’ free online course

Our Green City: Global Challenges, Bristol Solutions is a six-week free online course on environmental and social challenges, faced by cities across the world, and solutions to them. One of the six themes, relating to transport, has been created by four members of CTS:

  • Graham Parkhurst provided an overview to the transport theme, considering how urban development occurred in earlier times and how the private car has caused cities and their suburbs to spread, causing environmental and social problems. Sustainable urban mobility policy seeks to reverse these trends by promoting higher density and mixed-use development to reduce the need for travel, and by providing alternatives to the car. Shared ownership and use of vehicles has emerged as one potential solution, particularly in suburban areas where traditional solutions such as bus services are often not viable.
  • Ben Clark examined the challenges of providing for non-car transport in urban areas, where car travel remains an important mode. He explored how to encourage cycling in cities, drawing on Bristol as a case study. Bristol is developing a reputation for being a ‘Cycling City’ in the UK having seen significant increases in cycling over the last ten years.
  • Billy Clayton looked at public transport, with a particular focus on buses. Why is promoting bus use such a challenge and why do more people prefer to use a car? He looks at improvements to Bristol’s bus network, using new technology and upgraded vehicles. What is the likely impact of these changes?
  • Steve Melia looked at past and present ways of dealing with traffic in cities. In the 1960s and 70s planners built urban motorways, ring roads and walkways to separate pedestrians from vehicles. That approach was abandoned, partly due to public opposition but also because planners came to realise that it didn’t work.  This section explained why and finished with some positive examples of how traffic has been removed from parts of Bristol, returning streets and squares to the people who live, work and play within them.

CTS visiting research fellow Jon Parker won sustainable transport planning award

CTS is delighted to congratulate Jon Parker of Integrated Transport Planning Ltd (ITP) on his receipt of the prestigious ‘Smarter Travel Professional of the Year’ award for his outstanding personal contribution to sustainable transport on 13 February 2015. Jon is a Director of ITP and was appointed to a three-year Visiting Research Fellowship at UWE Bristol in Autumn 2014. He focussed his fellowship on developing collaborative practice-oriented research and knowledge exchange with the CTS team. Please see the ITP press release for further details of Jon’s expertise and award.

Do employers believe that sustainable transport measures can benefit their business?

This question attracted considerable interest at the Smarter Travel 2015 conference in Birmingham on 5 February 2015, where Caroline Bartle presented findings from research interviews with senior managers in the North Fringe and Ports areas of Bristol. The research contributed to one of four national case studies that evaluated the impacts of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, as part of the Department for Transport’s monitoring and evaluation programme. CTS collaborated with Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council on the case study in the West of England.

“Whilst believing that the car is likely to remain the most common way for staff to travel to work, all the managers interviewed perceived that measures to encourage the use of alternative modes could benefit their business or individual employees, by helping to ease congestion on the network, improve staff satisfaction, widen recruitment opportunities and help employers deal with over-demand for car parking”.

Do maximum parking standards make any difference?

This article by Steve Melia was featured on the front cover of Parking Review in February 2015. It argued that “the debate over whether parking standards influence traffic and travel is largely spurious – clearly, they can do, where they are set below the natural level of demand and are effectively enforced. The real issues for debate are whether, where and how parking standards ought to be used to reduce car ownership, traffic generation and the sprawl of cities. That debate is more about values than evidence. It is about the sort of cities and the sort of country that we want to live in.”  Read the full article.

CTS lunchtime seminar: Commuting, Life Events and Wellbeing

The Centre for Transport and Society was delighted to welcome Adam Martin from the University of East Anglia (UEA) to present his highly publicised research on commuting, life events and wellbeing on 16 February 2015. The commute is an unavoidable part of the working day for many of us. But what impact does it have on our wellbeing? And in what circumstances do we change the way we get to work?

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