Towards Socially Inclusive Sustainable Mobility: Initial Reflections on the Role of Social Capital in Participatory Transport Planning Processes
Joanna Elvy, University of Leeds
This paper reflects on the progress of a PhD study exploring the influence and role of social capital in participatory transport planning processes, with a particular focus on the planning and provision of socially inclusive sustainable mobility.
Transport related social exclusion is a problem that has been widely documented (Lucas, 2012). Attention of policy makers on this issue has faded in the UK transport arena in the aftermath of economic austerity measures and cuts to local public transport and community/voluntary transport funding. However, the underlying causes and effects of transport related social exclusion remain. Sheller’s (2011) call for a ‘twin transition’ of sustainable mobility and mobility justice provides an opportunity for new research which will examine mechanisms for achieving more socially inclusive sustainable mobility. Participatory transport planning could provide an opportunity to give socially excluded groups and individuals a voice, leading to the co-production of knowledge and solutions to suit specific problems and contexts. This research will look beyond debates about empowerment by additionally considering what participants bring to and get out of the process. One important and seemingly under-researched aspect of this is an understanding of the role(s) of productive and unproductive social capital (such as access to information, trust, skills and competences, fear, and the exclusion of others).
Participant observations and interviews will be used to collect data from a number of pre-existing participatory transport planning case studies and a constructivist grounded theory analytical framework will be used. From this analysis a framework for effective participatory transport planning processes for socially inclusive sustainable mobility will be proposed. This paper will reflect on progress to date on the exploration of the influence and role of social capital in participatory transport planning processes which focus on the planning and provision of socially inclusive sustainable mobility.
Association for European Transport