Disruption and Adaptability: Unlocking Insights into Low Carbon Travel

Greg Marsden, Jeremy Shires, Antonio Ferreira, Jillian Anable

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper

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This paper identifies disruption as a potential powerful lens through which to understand and, in turn, influence travel behaviour. Our conceptualisation of disruption is broad and includes natural (i.e. volcanic ash clouds, extreme weather) or anthropogenic (i.e. strikes, terrorist attacks, life-events and policy shifts) situations and events which can have a variety of origins and take on numerous time, social and spatial scales. Based on research so far undertaken within a three-year qualitative and quantitative study of disruptive events and travel practices in the UK, this paper offers a way of bringing these diverse events together under a common conceptual framework of the relationship between the origins of disruptive events, the nature of these events and their impacts and outcomes. Five dimensions of disruption are identified which flesh out the mechanisms behind the triggers, outcomes and impacts and highlight the far-reaching implications that disruptive events can have on the way sectors and even society develops. Using a review of the literature and data collected from case studies of flooding and fuel shortages, a broad typology of responses from travellers is identified which goes well beyond those typically measured and modelled in standard evaluations of travel behaviour. In addition to developing our theoretical understanding of the relationship between disruptions, agents and social structures, the paper seeks to challenge current thinking about data needs and incremental policy design to achieve lower carbon transport.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013
EventWorld Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) 2013 - Rio de Janiero, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jul 201318 Jul 2013


ConferenceWorld Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityRio de Janiero


  • transport
  • disruption
  • travel behaviour
  • churn


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