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Transport & Accessibility Policy
Alternative Solutions

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The UK Transport ideas exchange
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Welcome to TAPAS

Here are just some of the issues we are keen to see under discussion

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Latest issues under discussion amongst transport professionals

Triple Access Planning – a diffusing innovation that reflects our new look world

Transport planning must evolve to match the new context of a changing world in which mobility is just one element of how we connect with the things we need and want to have, and to do, says Professor Glenn Lyons. Here he explains the origins and development of the Triple Access Planning idea, and introduces a new Handbook about it with guidance for practitioners about implementing the concept in the context of their professional activities.

Decision time for England’s biggest road project. What are the implications?

The recently completed examination of the revised National Highways proposals for a new downstream crossing of the Thames between Kent and Essex exposed some fundamental issues about how the rationale behind its justification was both presented and tested, believes Phil Goodwin. These are matters of more general significance, he feels, and here he provides an analysis of the case presented, and the wider questions it highlights about major road scheme appraisal and the robustness of the review process, in the first of a two parts TAPAS contribution on the Lower Thames Crossing, and the issues it raises

The Theoretical and Practical Limits to Demand Responsive Transport Services

As someone involved in studying and delivering community transport and dial-a-ride schemes from the 1980s, and more recently a consultant to one of the Rural Mobility Fund DRT projects, John Sutton believes he can offer some perspective and realism to the true prospects for DRT in the passenger transport spectrum. In this contribution he explores the theoretical and practical limits of DRT, and why these realities mean it can only be effective in limited niche markets and special circumstances, even with the deployment of the latest scheduling and communications technology.

Beyond Carrots & Sticks – why it’s time to replace this unhelpful transport policy metaphor

It is said that language can drive us apart, and that’s the case with the concept of deploying carrots and sticks, widely, but mistakenly, adopted by the transport planning and policy fraternity, believes Pete Dyson co-author of ‘Transport for Humans’, doctoral researcher at University of Bath and former behavioural scientist at Department for Transport. He points to its unwanted messaging implications in presenting the case for change to decision-makers and transport users, and proposes there are better ways to discuss travel behaviour change

Rowing Backwards: The New Politics of Decarbonisation

There has been a substantial reaction to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policy changes to the Government’s approach to achieving Net Zero, most specifically the commitment to end fossil fuel car sales in 2030, extending the deadline to 2035. But he also sought to present a different way of thinking about the broader policies on the trajectory to the 2050 Net Zero deadline. TAPAS asked Professor Greg Marsden to comment on the implications.

The journey to Net Zero: examining the assumptions and expected outcomes from policy aspirations and interventions

The last few months have seen hightened discussion of the contribution of transport to addressing global warming and climate change, and which measures will be the most effective to achieve genuine reductions in carbon emissions and progress towards Net Zero. TAPAS presents here a series of articles exploring the recent political commitments and projections in this field, and their strengths and weaknesses, with potential wider application in transport policy and planning.

Lessons from the Elizabeth Line: what can we learn from the emerging evidence?

An exceptional level of high-quality monitoring has been undertaken by Transport for London as the passenger responses to the opening of the new Elizabeth Line emerge. TAPAS presents here a series of articles exploring the significant behavioural and system development implications, including the elasticities of demand relating to major journey time and service quality changes, with potential wider application in transport policy and planning.

Replacing bus services in low demand areas: Can Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) play a worthwhile and cost-effective role?

With continuing financial pressures on the provision of conventional public transport in rural and low density suburban areas, Demand Responsive Transit systems, providing services by small vehicles running to dynamically determined schedules based on specific customer journey requests, have been advicated as a suitable alternative. Considerable public money has been made available for their intruduction, but how successful have they been, and is this a cost-effective solution? TAPAS presents some contrubutions on this issue, and welcomes further submissions.

Visions require validation: new approaches for deciding and testing which policies will deliver

It has been widely accepted that better approaches are needed to developing and defining local transport strategies beyond the old ‘predict and provide’ thinking. But that will require new frameworks for creating the agreed visions, and ensuring that proposed policy measures are robust and effective, says Professor Peter Jones. Here he explains the concept of ‘vision and validate’ and what it means for the way transport planning practitioners work.

From black and white to shades of grey – the flawed world of expert knowledge dissemination in transport

How should creative thinking and research about the challenges facing transport best be presented, and is the traditional ‘academic publication’ model fit for purpose in the new world of exploding information provision? Professor Phil Goodwin has strong concerns that what has grown up as academic protocol is deeply flawed, and has been marginalising some of the most important content coming from beyond the universities. He’d like to see a better and more accessible framework.

Round Table Discussions

Second successful ‘Transport Thinking Forum’ Round Table event in association with TAPAS tackles ‘changing travel behaviour’

We are very pleased to record our holding of the second successful ‘Transport Thinking Forum’ Round Table event in association with TAPAS, which addressed the theme of achieving behaviour change in transport. You can read several articles on this topic on TAPAS.

First successful ‘Transport Thinking Forum’ Round Table event in association with TAPAS

We are very pleased to record our holding of the first successful ‘Transport Thinking Forum’ Round Table event in association with TAPAS, which addressed the theme of achieving a sustainable future for UK transport.

Featured TAPAS Collection

Road Plan Assessment and Appraisal

With both economic and environmental issues to the fore, TAPAS contributors, Phil Goodwin, Greg Marsden, Derek Halden, David Metz and others explored the basis on which major road investment schemes can be justified or not.

See the articles and join the discussion.

The route to Net Zero: DfT assumptions look well off course

The Welsh Government Roads Review

The 2022 DfT National Road Traffic Projections: unanswered questions and required conversations

More Work is Needed on the Interactions between Appraisal and Investment - and explaining where the costs and benefits go

When the facts change, we should change our thinking – and that’s the case with planning our future transport now

Reviews and Reflections

Reviews and Reflections

Phil Goodwin

Phil Goodwin

Professor Phil Goodwin is Emeritus Professor of Transport Policy, University College London and University of the West of England. He was head of the Transport Studies Unit at Oxford University for 16 years, before moving to UCL in 1996.

50th Anniversary of the Transport Studies Unit, Oxford University: A Memoir

Having been (up to now) TSU’s longest serving Director, I was pleased to open the 50th Anniversary celebrations, with an assessment of its changing role over the years.

The arc of TSU has been an unusual one. The pre-history in the 1950s was intended as a focus for the intellectual activity of the transport industries. The Unit itself started in 1973, with Ian Heggie as Director, as a mostly detached part of the Economics Sub-Faculty, with almost no teaching, entirely self-funding, and research that was a challenge to the prevailing transport orthodoxy of economics-based modelling. When I was Director, it developed a strong research-based influence on policy, mostly in challenging the predominance of ‘predict and provide’ approaches subordinated to car dependence. At the height of this influence, in 1994, we were awarded an exceptional ESRC ‘centre of excellence’ designation, with 10 year funding based on rethinking traffic growth and replacing equilibrium methodologies by dynamic ones: that work was completed not in Oxford, but by the Unit decamping to London.

Arman Farahmand-Razavi

Arman Farahmand-Razavi

Arman Farahmand-Razavi is a transport and planning advisor and a business strategy professional. He is the joint editor of the TAPAS.Network.

This might turn out to be another significant moment

Arman Farahmand-Razavi offers his personal reflections on a forum that embraced the big issues of our time, and how it has reminded him of past gatherings of the sector’s leading thinkers

REFLECTING on the 5th Annual Local Transport Summit in Brentford last month, I felt privileged to be part of a discussion that could come to be seen as a significant moment in the history of professional transport planning in the UK. The significance may not have been the event itself, or any of the individual speakers and their presentations. But after the traumatic experience of the past 18 months it provided a special opportunity to get together physically and to take stock of what had changed in the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the world certainly seems to be a different place, needing new approaches to addressing the very real challenges that humanity faces.