Project: The Impact of Transport on Different Social Groups (ESRC Studentship)

Reference: STP 14/5/19

Last update: 31/12/2009 10:49:00


To determine how different social (including ethnic) groups make transport choices. To determine the likely impacts of the 10 Year Plan for Transport, and related measures on these different social groups. To investigate the geographical dimensions of transport choices and impacts. To assess, for a number of different areas, the extent to which the 10 Year Plan will promote social inclusion.


The research is envisaged to produce an improved understanding of the extent to which transport investments can promote social inclusion. The project will be based on three substantive case studies, an urban area, a rural area and an inter-urban corridor. In each of the three areas, focus groups will be held to determine the key drivers of transport choice amongst different social groups. These would be accompanied by the collection of travel diary information for the key groups in each location. The travel diary information will be used in conjunction with existing information on elasticities and values of time to forecast the likely impact on different social groups of the transport investmests planned in the case study areas. Particular attention will be paid to the extent gainers and losers are geographically clustered or scattered.


University of Oxford
Research Services Office, University Offices, Oxford, OX1 2JD

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £27,500.00

Actual start date: 01 October 2002

Actual completion date: 30 September 2005


From Exclusionary Engineering to Inclusive Planning: Transport's Role in Tackling Community Severance
Author: Fiona Raje
Publication date: 01/08/2004
ISBN: ISBN: 1-903825-20-2
Source: ESRC/ODPM Postgraduate Research Programme
More information:

Summary of results

  1. The project explored the complexities associated with travel for different social groups and, in so doing, the impacts of transport on members of these different social groups. The work set out to determine how people perceive transport impacting on their lives; to determine how different social groups make transport choices; to determine the likely impacts of transport interventions and related measures on these different social groups; to investigate the geographical dimensions of transport choices and impacts; and to assess, for two different areas (one urban, one rural), the extent to which particular interventions will promote social inclusion.

    In terms of the policy-making and planning sector, the work indicates that the transport realm appears to be characterized by a degree of disengagement and dissatisfaction amongst users and planners. This has led to the creation of a vernacular of distrust around transport. There needs to be a bridging of the gap between professional narratives and street discourse related to transport. The findings also indicate that entering into effective dialogue with local communities can enable planners and policy-makers to develop greater insights into people's day-to-day experience of transport. This can lead to more appropriate deployment of resources and solution development.

    With respect to transport system users specifically, the work suggests that participants exhibit a high degree of autonomy in their decision-making around travel. At the same time, for many participants, transport does not appear to be a major concern. However, it is equally apparent that the transaction of daily activities requires negotiation around the transport system. For the less mobile, social networks can provide an alternative to public transport. For the more mobile, the availability of a car to one person can result in hidden displacement effects for another. In addition, women who are largely dependent on walking can become 'tired'. However, for these women, walking stretches limited household budgets that may be even more constrained if they had to accommodate the costs of public transport fares also. The research suggests further that personalised travel planning can broaden people's mental maps of their city or town by providing knowledge of what is accessible along transport corridors already available to them. In addition, the research indicates that the traditional view that car ownership equates in some way to being socially included may not always pertain.