EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G00045X/1
Title: Understanding walking and cycling
Principal Investigator: Pooley, Professor CG
Other Investigators:
Tight, Professor M Jones, Dr T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Geography
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2008 Ends: 30 September 2011 Value (£): 936,620
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Transport Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Feb 2008 Walking and Cycling (ENG) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is widely recognised that 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. This is demonstrated by a wide range of policy initiatives by national and local governments, by health authorities and a variety of non-governmental organizations. Recent reviews of research on travel behaviour have emphasised that the ways in which travel decisions are made remains poorly understood, especially in the context of complex and contingent household travel arrangements. This research seeks to fill this research gap through an in-depth analysis of household decision making with respect to short journeys in urban areas. The research starts with a number of assumptions. First, that travel on foot or by bicycle is often complex and needs as much (if not more) planning as travel by car. Second, that many short trips in urban areas will be relatively spontaneous and thus subject to decision-making frameworks that differ from more regular journeys. Third, that many short trips are dependent on others. Fourth, that decision making about travel mode and route choice is dependent on a complex interaction of social, economic, cultural, environmental and psychological variables. Fifth, that walking and cycling are very different modes of travel even though they are frequently linked together in travel policies. Using these assumptions as a starting point the research has two key aims: To develop better understanding of the complex ways in which households and individuals make everyday travel decisions about short trips in urban areas; and to develop a 'toolkit' that helps planners, policy makers and others concerned with promoting more sustainable travel practices in urban areas to target policies and interventions more effectively. These aims will be explored through a series of specific research questions. These objectives are important because a modal shift from cars to walking and cycling could significantly reduce congestion, pollution and carbon emissions in towns and improve human health, and because if transport policies do not adequately understand the complexity of micro-scale travel decisions both local and national policies may be ineffective or have unintended consequences.The research will adopt a mixed methodology, but with the main emphasis on in-depth qualitative research, and will examine individual, family and household decision making in four different neighbourhoods. Data collection will include the following elements: first, a questionnaire survey of residents in four neighbourhoods to provide an overview of travel behaviour and select participants for in-depth study; second a quantitative assessment of the accessibility and permeability of the urban environment in each locality; third; in-depth household interviews; fourth, the collection of audio travel diaries; fifth detailed ethnographic study of the household decision-making process. These data will all be fully analysed using a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques and the integrated results will be used to develop a 'toolkit' designed to help planners and policy makers develop transport policies that relate more closely to the everyday travel behaviour of individuals, and which therefore may be more successful at promoting walking and cycling. Throughout the research the project will engage with a range of stakeholders and potential users, and in the final part of the project will engage potential users with the development of outputs. In addition to the toolkit, results from the research will be disseminated at academic and practitioner conferences and through papers in both academic and policy journals.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL: http://www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/research/society_and_environment/walking_and_cycling.php
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk