The Future of Transport Policy: was Einstein right?

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Information about The Future of Transport Policy: was Einstein right?

Published on March 19, 2014

Author: ITSLeeds



Inaugural Professorial lecture by Greg Marsden, Director of the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), University of Leeds. Held on 18 March 2014

Full transcript plus audio (mp3) available at:

The lecture explores the future of transport policy. Albert Einstein once said “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. This talk asks whether Einstein was right. Will the current policy direction really deliver a better future? If not, what do we have to rethink to make a difference?

Inaugural Lecture  Professor Greg Marsden 18 March 2014

“We can't solve  problems by  using the same  kind of thinking  we used when  we created  them.” Georgios Kollidas ‐

testing‐ 89% of lost time is in urban areas – The Eddington Review

‘New’ Challenges: Climate Change Source: Network Rail Transport contributes 23% of global CO2 emissions  ‐ IEA 

15 of our largest urban areas will not meet safe air quality  standards by 2020

Road fatalities are still the leading cause of death for 5‐19 year olds

28.5% of the UK population do not get 30 minutes moderate exercise PER WEEK!!!

A characterization of Problem  ImportanceImportance Time 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010‐> Economy & Congestion Air quality Climate Mitigation Resilience Safety

The same kind of thinking... How we think about demand Infrastructure as main solution Technological Optimism

The demand for travel

Investment for growth

A New Realism 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 1999 congestion Reference Case 2031 Infrastructure schemes only 2031 Infrastructure schemes & road user charges 2031 Infrastructure schemes, road user charges & behavioural change 2031 Wastedvehiclehoursperyear(000,000s)

Curious Trends

Or more of the same? Image Courtesy of Professor Phil Goodwin

Technological Optimism

The Role of the State

Image from Johnson et al., 2012 Not connected directly but.... RAC Foundation (2012)

Source: Phil Goodwin


Seasons 0 50 100 150 200 250 January February March April May June July August September October November December Median daily total count of cyclists Source: Sustrans

Concluding comments

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