An Assessment of the Barriers to the Delivery of Sustainable Local Surface Transport Solutions

An Assessment of the Barriers to the Delivery of Sustainable Local Surface Transport Solutions


R Tricker, A Hull, University of the West of England, UK


This paper summarises a UK-based questionnaire survey on the barriers to the local delivery of sustainable transport solutions, and part of the 'DISTILLATE' research programme, evaluating technical, organisational and external challenges to delivery


The realisation of sustainable transport systems in UK towns and cities relies upon the smooth implementation of national policy delivered at the local level. This paper summarises a questionnaire survey (N=16) carried out as part of a UK EPSRC programme of research named DISTILLATE (Design and Implementation Support Tools for Integrated Local Land-use, Transport and Environment). The survey was completed by officers from transport planning authorities within different levels and contexts of decision-making, who were involved in the delivery process for sustainable local surface transport solutions (SLSTS).

The findings capture the difficulties faced during the delivery process for SLSTS, and the perceived barriers. Funding, modelling, monitoring & evaluation, strategy option generation, and strategic appraisal were identified as the most problematic stages and barriers to delivery. The answers received from the questionnaire noted the specific organisational barriers which affect the way in which individual authorities operate; the external constraints to sustainable outcomes including the need for the efficacious engagement of stakeholders; and how these difficulties affect the use of tools (namely indicators, option generation tools, and appraisal and modelling techniques). This information will be used to ground further research within the realities of the challenges and constraints faced in the delivery of sustainable transport solutions at a local level.

The analysis of the survey has allowed the prioritisation of key technical, organisational and external challenges and constraints to the delivery process and the achievement of sustainable outcomes from the perspective of the respondents. This is also briefly compared with wider objectives for UK government and European Union policy and planning, with evidence of a potential mismatch in approaches due to discontinuities evident within and between different levels of policy and decision-making. Specific attention is also given to the barriers faced in the planning, design and implementation of specific policy measures through local transport strategies, including those instruments related to demand-managed accessibility and modal shift.

The outputs and understanding from this research will directly influence the development, practice and use of decision and analytical support tools aimed at overcoming these barriers in selected urban transport authorities through case studies in the wider DISTILLATE research. This paper also strengthens the research evidence base for the process of, and barriers to, the implementation of sustainable transport solutions at a local-level in the UK.

Key words: transport, organisational barriers, policy delivery, decision-making, tools, implementation, local government, sustainable urban environment


Association for European Transport