The curious death - and life? - of British transport policy



Docherty I, Shaw J, Marsden G & Anable J (2018) The curious death - and life? - of British transport policy. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36 (8), pp. 1458-1479.

This article analyses the transport policy record of the 2010–2015 Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition and 2015–2016 Conservative majority UK governments. We argue that the style of policy making under these administrations departed significantly from that of previous decades, which had been characterised by the ascendancy of specific technical disciplines and decision-making norms about how transport planning should be carried out. Our key contention is that despite abandoning the idea of a single, overall narrative for transport policy, these governments (perhaps unwittingly) gave new life to broader debates about what transport investment is actually for and how investment decisions should be made. We interpret this as a shift away from the longstanding idea of a ‘deliberate’ strategy of intervention to a more ‘emergent’ approach, which raises important new questions about the future of transport policy both in terms of the objectives it seeks to realise and the relative influence of professional/technical and political actors in the policy process.

Deliberate strategy; emergent strategy; policy appraisal; transport

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space: Volume 36, Issue 8

FundersUniversity of Glasgow
Publication date01/12/2018
Publication date online26/03/2018
Date accepted by journal26/03/2018

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Professor Iain Docherty

Professor Iain Docherty

Dean of Institute for Advanced Studies