Incentivising transport and wider policy benefits

I may have mentioned before that transport plays a fundamental role in our lives.  As part of my PhD research, I am investigating the interaction between transport policy and wider policy issues.  We often talk about how better transport infrastructure and services generate wider economic benefits, but there are much wider and even more interesting connections…

Health is a very obvious connected area.  These 2 articles show practical applications:

http://www.wired.com/2013/11/squats-train-ticket/

http://inhabitat.com/france-is-paying-commuters-to-bike-to-work/

If we were to deploy transport policy as a tool to generate policy outcomes in social and environmental outcomes as well as economic ones, then what could we actually achieve?

Active travel, more walking and cycling, encouraging health benefits – so a prescription (that could be measured), or an investment by the health sector to use transport to derive the sought after health outcomes – and delivering health improvements and reduced costs.

Pedestrianisation and cycle paths, refocusing urban realm on the space and its users and supporting active travel, as well as the potential air quality and pedestrian/cyclist safety improvements.

A shift of focus on parking policy, controlled by planning? or pricing? or shifted into different areas (edge of town/city centre) and making central areas accessible only by public or active travel modes.

There are plenty of examples, but the key is perhaps to take a more creative approach to policy-making combining creativity with the art of the possible.  The other vital point is an early cross-sector approach to how different areas of policy could collaborate to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.  There is a long way to go but I hope to develop a wealth of research exploring these ideas further.

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