The development and implementation processes of a travel plan within the context of a large organisation : using an embedded case study approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Transport Policy in the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the early 1990s has been focused on increasing car use at the expense of investment in public transport services and infrastructure. This has culminated in a poorly integrated public transport network that has seen continued decline in use outside of London. The Competition Act (1998) has exacerbated this, as public operators risked prosecution if they were seen to collaborate. A policy shift in 1998 introduced the concept of Local Transport Plans, Organisational Travel Plans and Quality Partnerships as local policy tools for developing and implementing travel solutions using the planning process. Travel Plans today are viewed by the UK Government as a local delivery tool for transport policy, inspired by the successes in Europe and the United States in changing individual travel behaviour, where the Smart Growth Agenda has emerged as a mass transit based planning response to urban sprawl. In the UK, success in delivering significant modal shift away from private car use has seen limited success, hence the rationale for this research. Using this wider policy context, this research uses the University of Hertfordshire as a case study with the objective to research the development and implementation processes of a Travel Plan. The research conducts a review of travel behaviour within the case study, providing recommendations for implementing alternative interventions to car-based travel. Making use of national policy tools, using insights from both Smarter Travel / Smarter Choice agenda, the research includes the development process of a complex city wide Quality Partnership – a delivery mechanism for travel behaviour change incorporating multiple stakeholders. This thesis uses an embedded and reflective critical realist approach to researching Travel Plans from the perspective of a Travel Plan Coordinator. Through applying a multi-method dimension to empirical data collection, the use of structured quantitative commuter surveys, semi structured qualitative interviews and supporting secondary data sources are all utilised. Using such an approach provides the research with the flexibility for reporting complex social and empirical data, including the researcher’s embedded reflective insights throughout the process. An evaluative matrix ‘lens’ has been developed for reporting back the multitude of factors, including identifying Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators that underpin the success or failure of such travel planning approaches. The research culminates in the development of a Travel Plan for the University of Hertfordshire and a voluntary Quality Partnership for the City and District of St Albans. A conclusion is drawn based on the unique perspective of an embedded reflective researcher as an active practitioner in the field of travel planning. In order to be successful a Travel Plan should feed into the wider quality partnership structures for mutual benefit where multiple stakeholders are able to influence the development of interventions at the local level, which could lead to significant travel behaviour changes. It is argued that this will ultimately help Travel Plans and quality partnerships achieve their key performance objectives and help meet government policy agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Life and Medical Sciences
  • Southern, Richard, Supervisor
Award date8 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2013


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