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Institute for Transport Studies FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENT Human and Social Factors in Transport What are the opportunities for building inter-disciplinary.

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Presentation on theme: "Institute for Transport Studies FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENT Human and Social Factors in Transport What are the opportunities for building inter-disciplinary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Institute for Transport Studies FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENT Human and Social Factors in Transport What are the opportunities for building inter-disciplinary partnerships at Leeds Dr Karen Lucas, Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds, UK ITS SEMINAR SERIES 9 th July 2014

2 Background Human and social factors have not been very dominant aspects of transportation research compared with more technical avenues of enquiry Huge increase in number of projects, PhDs, journals and academic publications around these issues in last years Conference opportunities –Transport Geography Research Group of Royal Geographical Society –Association of American Geographers Annual Conference –Transportation Research Board ‘Social and Economic Factors Committee’ –World Conference for Transport Research (WCTR) new Special Interest Group ‘Cultural and Social Issues in Transport’ established 201 Numerous publishing outlets within the transportation journals –Journal of Transport Geography; Transport Policy, Transportation, Transportation Research A & C & E, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Transport Reviews, Mobilities, etc. Also in diverse non-transport facing journals: –e.g. Journal of Poverty; Applied Geography; Ageing & Society; Built Environment; Energy Policy; Environment and Planning A & B; Regional Studies; Human Factors, etc.

3 What are human and social factors? Refers to a wide variety of research issues including: Various traveller behaviours, attitudes, perceptions, experiences, habits, social practices and social norms Human interaction with new transport and communication technologies - vulnerability, safety and risk Relationships between transport, network capital, mobility, accessibility and human and social capital Human exposure to negative transport externalities, transport justice and social (in)equalities The transport needs of different social groups in different spatial contexts The wider role of transport in economic, political and social integration and cohesion Transport planning, policy and governance and participation and exclusion from transport decision processes

4 Methodologies Both qualitative and quantitative studies and often using hybrid/mixed methods and analysis Everything from behavioural and choice modelling through GIS-based and other spatial modelling to qualitative, participative, ethnographic and action-based research Also a focus on developing new forms of impact analysis and social appraisal methods Often studies have a cross-disciplinary focus and set of expertise, e.g. environmental modelling with epidemiology; social practices and in context of technical interventions; psychological surveys with index of happiness; travel behaviours with health & wellbeing

5 Visioning the inter-disciplinary interface within ITS and beyond

6 Existing cross-disciplinary partnerships Civil Engineering Geography Leeds Social Science Institute Business Psychology Health/Epidemiology Social Policy ???

7 What is the motivation? Funders such as RCUK and EC increasingly emphasis multi-disciplinary research enquiries; Leeds’ University Strategy identifies cross-cutting research themes as the way forward and ITS’ Research Strategy echoes this: –Because human and social factors in transport offer this broad base our research is the best opportunity for cross-disciplinary interaction within UoL and beyond –The focus on societal outcomes makes this is a good way for ITS to enhance its research impact across all 4 RGs –H&S Factors already has experience in delivering high quality cross- disciplinary projects, e.g. DEMAND Centre, Driver Centre, Disruptions, etc. –It is the best way to promote research innovation, discover new horizons and identify opportunities

8 University Draft Strategic Plan Research & Innovation Strong disciplines with an appropriate balance of ‘curiosity-driven’ and applied research Highly focused interdisciplinary research networks with the expertise, range and reputation to address funding and impact priorities in the UK and further afield Successful doctoral training centres and a vibrant PhD and post doctoral community A step-change in postgraduate research funding Investing in University fellowships & tenure track appointments to nurture and incentivise early career researchers Highly competitive, strategic leadership appointments and a commitment to supporting and retaining existing, high performing staff and academic leaders Sector-leading technology platforms with first rate technical support – these will be attractive to staff and meet relevant industry standards Stronger links with industry and active funder relationships Translating research into pedagogy; creating research opportunities for students. What we will do: Invest in 250 new academic fellows to sustain our academic future, 100 to be externally funded Invest in postgraduate research studentships: £2.7m central funding in 2014/15, with matched faculty support, and total funding of £22.4m in the period ; make a determined effort to raise further support from industry, government & EU for doctoral training Continue University development and investment for existing & emerging research strengths Establish world-leading positions in key aspects of major interdisciplinary research themes; health, water, food, energy, culture & cities Invest in platform technologies, ensuring shared use of expensive equipment & resources Ensure our research outputs (publications and data) are freely accessible in line with the policies of research funders

9 Leeds Social Science Strategy Vision and Strategy It is our ambition for the University of Leeds to be a globally recognised powerhouse for social science research and innovation where our world-leading research has significant and broad impact on society, shaping global public debate and policy and supporting the training of the next generation of social science leaders. Our aims are: –To develop wide ranging and significant societal, economic and environmental impact –To support social science disciplines in achieving globally-recognised excellence in research –To become world-renowned for our centres of interdisciplinary social science research and innovative methods –To train the next generation of social science leaders equipped to tackle global challenges –To maximise the effectiveness of social science research funding by becoming the focus of significant international and national investment. To take these aims forward our strategy for the social sciences is to: –enhance the capacity of social science research to produce knowledge with impact that shapes regional, national and international policy, public debate and professional practice –promote interdisciplinary research and team-building that afford novel and critical insights to contemporary research challenges –support and enhance the successful capture of large-scale, problem-focused and complex cross-disciplinary research funding grants –forge and promote cross-institutional partnerships within the region, nationally and across the globe which add value –advance the integration of social sciences methodologies and concepts within cross-disciplinary research themes and programmes throughout the University –further develop our reputation as a world leader in advanced skills and methods training by capacity building for postgraduate and early career researchers.

10 What are the barriers? Different disciplines have different research cultures, standards and methodologies Trans-disciplinarians often feel ‘left out’ by both disciplines – it takes time to build up trust relationships You can feel like you are not speaking the same language and/or like a Jack of All Trades and master of none You effectively need to network and function in 2 (or more) academic circles – who has the time? The world of publishing has not caught up yet - it is not always easy to publish in journals outside your main discipline It can slow down your career development pathway – multi-disciplinarily is often not rewarded as quickly or as well as the ‘siloed’ approach

11 Discussion Over to you!!!

12 And thanks for


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