Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Motoring of the Future

Motoring of the Future

Evidence from Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, has been extensively cited in a major new report published by the House of Commons Transport Committee. Informed directly by Professor Carsten and other prominent contributors, the Motoring of the Future report calls for the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to set out a comprehensive strategy to link the introduction of autonomous vehicles and other emerging technologies to the achievement of stated policy goals.  In his wide-ranging oral evidence to the hearings on which the report is based, Professor Carsten advised the committee on several key issues, including on the role of government, and the significant potential of Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) to reduce road casualties. Read the report’s recommendations. 

Women of Achievement

Women of Achievement

Anne Clarke, a graduate of our MSc Sustainability (Transport) programme, has been selected for special commendation in this year's University of Leeds Women of Achievement event. The event recognises women who have achieved an external prize or award in their field, and supports the University’s Athena SWAN objective of advancing women in the Arts and Sciences. Anne was awarded the MVA Transport Prize in 2013 for best dissertation, and also won best paper by a young author at the STAR (Scottish Transport Applications and Research) Conference in 2014. She now works for Arup’s transport consulting team, providing development planning and design advice, with a particular focus on cycling. Read more about our alumnae.


LEP Resilience

Resilience Planning - walking & cycling 

Research by ITS supported by Sustrans is developing a new tool to help Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS) plan resilient local transport systems. Based on Dr Ian Philips' PhD thesis, the research has mapped how walking and cycling can contribute to maintaining people’s ability to get to work when faced by disruption to other modes.  Using the model developed, regional planners can examine which interventions might be useful in different geographical areas – giving a tool that can suggest cost-effective targeting of policies to specific circumstances. Read more.

Transport Investment and Economic Performance

Economic Appraisal 

A report by the Oxford University, ITS and the London School of Economics is leading to changes in transport appraisal practice.  The Transport Investment and Economic Performance report by Professor Tony Venables (Oxford), Dr James Laird (ITS) and Professor Henry Overman (LSE) was commissioned by the Department for Transport. The research considered how transport can affect the economy and whether the Department for Transport’s approach to appraisal needs to be adjusted to ensure that these impacts are fully captured.  Read more.

Research shows growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion

Growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion

New research by ITS has shown that cycling could provide economic benefits to England worth £248bn between now and 2050.  

The 'Economic Cycle' report by Fiona Crawford (ITS) and Dr Robin Lovelace (School of Geography) was commissioned by CTC, the national cycling charity. It was released as Parliament prepared to debate the inclusion of a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in legislation.  The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s ‘Get Britain Cycling’ (GBC) report called for targets to substantially boost cycle use, from less than 2% of trips at present to 10% by 2025, and to 25% by 2050. The research compares the economic benefits of meeting these targets, compared with the lower growth proposed in the Government’s draft Cycling Delivery Plan (CDP). Researchers Fiona Crawford and Dr Robin Lovelace found that meeting the GBC report’s 2025 target in England would yield economic benefits that year worth £6.4bn in today’s money, whereas the Government’s CDP target would be worth just £2.1bn. Download the report or read more via the CTC website.

Research Report

Annual Reseach Report

Our annual report on research activity is now available. Encapsulating a year in the life of the Institute, the report highlights the projects undertaken, together with research outputs and a summary of  other developments  in the proceeding twelve months. Download the report

Transportation Research Board

Transportation Research Board

The 94th meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting saw a sizeable contingent of ITS staff disseminate their research.  Institute Director Professor Greg Marsden and colleagues communicated a broad range of research findings encompassing aviation, choice modelling, disruption, green driving, sustainability, and vehicle automation - via presentations, posters, and as co-ordinators of workshop sessions. Held in Washington D.C, USA, ITS researchers are regular attendees at the TRB annual meeting, which is one of the world’s largest and most prominent events for transport professionals.  Read more about ITS at TRB.  

Top 10 research downloads

Popular Research Downloads 

Research papers by members of ITS have been amongst the most popular downloads from two leading journals.   Professor Richard Batley’s research Marginal valuations of travel time and scheduling, and the reliability premium has been viewed more than 54,000 since its first publication in Elsevier’s Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review. More recently, Professor Simon Shepherd’s article A review of system dynamics models applied in transportation, in Transportmetrica B: Transport Dynamics,  is amongst the  'top 10 of 2014' most downloaded articles from transport journals published by Taylor & Francis. Read more of our journal articles via our publications section.  


Research Excellence Framework

The results of the national Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) have confirmed ITS’ position as a centre of excellence for research outputs, impact and environment.  ITS was assessed within the Civil and Construction Engineering sub-panel, via a joint submission with the University’s School of Civil Engineering (SoCE). The overall result for ITS/SoCE is a research quality profile of 3.04, which means that our research activity is  ‘internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour’. ITS is the UK’s largest transport research and this is also reflected in our REF ranking - 2nd  nationally for research power - a measure capturing both quality and quantity. Read more.        

Tour de Yorkshire

Tour de Yorkshire -  Effective Travel Planning

A major survey by ITS has shown that the effective communication of travel advice was a key factor in the unparalleled success of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.   ITS' Jeremy Shires, commissioned by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, led a study to assess how people travelled to watch the stages, and how their decisions were shaped by communications from the event organisers.  The results showed that over 90% of the spectators were aware of the advice and the majority had gathered their information on-line or via social media. At 28%, the level of car use was less than half the original forecast, with public transport accounting for 26% and 46% walking or cycling to see the race.  The survey results were issued to coincide with the publication of the evaluation report, highlighting the £102m boost to the regional economy and the wider legacy. Read more.       

on the buses - pedestrian warning

On the buses: pedestrian safety warning

Research conducted by ITS has led to the introduction of a new pedestrian warning bell to improve road safety around buses in Manchester. Launched during Road Safety Week with Brake, the road safety charity, the warning bell has been introduced as trial by First Bus on a route between Manchester and Oldham.  If successful the bell could be applied to all First Group buses in Manchester and eventually to other buses in the UK.  The study by Dr Frank Lai and Dr Daryl Hibberd was conducted in Manchester, Oldham and Leeds. It found that pedestrians commonly take risks with their own safety around buses - being focused on mobile phones and other distractions, people often simply don't look when crossing the road. When surveyed, pedestrians said they would appreciate a gentle warning sound, to keep them alert to their surroundings.  
Read more and listen to the warning bell.

Transport Committtee

Motoring of the Future Inquiry

Professor Oliver Carsten gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee during its inquiry into new road safety technologies. Responding to a range of questions from the committee's MPs, Professor Carsten stressed the importance of studies of in-vehicle systems, and cited ITS research on Intelligent Speed Adaption (ISA) which has demonstrated the potential for significant advancements in road safety.  The role of government in the take-up of safety systems across the entire car market was also discussed; Professor Carsten encouraged the Department for Transport to be proactive in mapping out a strategy for using technology to meet transport policy goals. Listen to the evidence here.


Latest Newsletter

The December edition of ITS NEWS, our bi-monthly update, is now available on-line. As a summary of activities from across the Institute, it's a succinct opportunity to catch up with what staff, students, alumni and guest visitors have been doing. To read the latest edition, or sign-up to receive a copy to your in-box, visit our newsletter page.

House of Lords evidence HS2

High Speed Rail - Evidence to Parliament

Professors from the Institute have given extensive evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee inquiry on the economic case for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2). Over two sessions,  responses were given to issues raised by Lord Lawson (formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer) and the panel of fellow peers.  In the first session, Professor Peter Mackie called for the Treasury to provide clear advice on the framework for GDP and Gross Value Added calculations, including the underpinning macroeconomic assumptions.  In the second session, Professor Chris Nash covered a number of areas including ticket pricing, regulation and network capacity. View the evidence via Parliament TV: session one; session two.


ISA: Safety as Standard

Professor Oliver Carsten presented research evidence on Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) to an event hosted at the European Parliament. As part of the European Transport Safety Council’s iSAFER project, the event explored how the latest in-vehicle safety technologies can save lives, boost innovation and reduce government spending.  With road collisions the single biggest cause of non-health related deaths in Europe, the European Commission is reviewing the Regulation on the General Safety of Motor Vehicles. Against this backdrop, safety technologies such as ISA and Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) are increasingly likely to be introduced as a standard feature for new EU vehicle production.  View the ISA presentation



Valuing Public Transport

A new report on Valuing Convenience in Public Transport has been published by OECD's International Transport Forum. The report, authored by Professor Mark Wardman, reports the outcomes of a Roundtable held at OECD's Paris headquarters in September 2013 and provides an extensive account of international empirical evidence in the area. Download the report.

Academic Fellowships

New Academic Fellowships 

The University of Leeds’ biggest ever recruitment of academic researchers includes exciting new opportunities to join the Institute for Transport Studies. The University is recruiting up to 250 exceptional early career academics to tenure track equivalent Academic Fellowships over the next three years. Applications are invited both from those looking to establish their academic career as a new fellow, and those who already hold an existing funded fellowship and wish to bring it to the University of Leeds.   Applications are invited to three of ITS’ core themes, but we also welcome informal inquiries from those with the skills and potential to win one of these fellowships in other thematic areas:

* Big Data and Transport Modelling.
* Transport Resilience.
* Vehicle and Road Automation. 

To read more please visit the University's news page.

Big Data & Governance

Big Data: utility versus privacy

ITS’ Dr Susan Grant-Muller will represent the transport sector at an event on ‘Big Data and Governance: - balancing risks and rewards’ organised by Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).   Experts from across academia, government, industry and the third sector will discuss where the balance between maximising the utility of data and protecting personal privacy and civil rights should lie, and how this balance should be achieved. The Guardian’s data editor, Alberto Nardelli, will chair the event, which includes a keynote by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee (view programme).  Dr Grant Muller will share her perspectives from data-rich transport research projects and as Co-Investigator to the University of Leeds Consumer Data Research Centre.



hEART 2014 Symposium

Two-hundred delegates and speakers attended the 3rd Symposium of the European Association for Research in Transportation (hEART2014) hosted by ITS.  The symposium is an interdisciplinary research conference, covering all areas of transportation research, with a focus on quantitative methods and analysis of transport systems.  This annual event brings together leading experts and promising young researchers (with a dedicated summer school for PhD students preceding the Symposium).  Keynote speakers included Professor Kay Axhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Associate Professor Joan Walker, University of California Berkeley, and Professor Otto Anker Nielsen of Technical University of Denmark.  Delegates also enjoyed an evening reception at the historic Royal Armouries museum in Leeds and a conference dinner at the National Railway Museum in York.  
View photo gallery.

Choice Modelling Handbook

Handbook of Choice Modelling

A new Handbook of Choice Modelling, edited by Stephane Hess and Andrew Daly, provides an uniquely authoritative resource for researchers and practitioners interested in human choices.  

There has been intensive recent interest and exiting developments in choice modelling, which is widely recognised as a key tool in understanding behaviour and decision-making across many spheres, including transport, health economics, environmental analysis and marketing. This handbook represents a milestone in bringing together these new fundamental and applied perspectives on decision-making, with contributions from the leading figures in the field, including Nobel Laureate Daniel McFadden.    The significance of the handbook is summed up by Professor  Kenneth Train, of University of California, Berkeley,  who describes it as “A truly astonishing collection of papers. This book is the new place to go for learning the latest and greatest in choice modelling”.  Further details are available via the publisher’s website 


Royal Geographical Society

Researchers from ITS made a major contribution to the Royal Geographical Society’s (RGS-IBG) annual conference, ensuring a significance and growing presence of transport geographers at this high profile event.  A record number of sessions were hosted by the Transport Geography Research Group (TGRG), which is chaired by ITS’ Dr Karen Lucas and includes Joanna Elvy as postgraduate representative.  The conference presentations by members of ITS encompassed social equity, health, energy and climate change - view presentations.



The August edition of ITS NEWS, our bi-monthly update, is now available on-line. As a summary of activities from across the Institute, it's a succinct opportunity to catch up with what staff, students, alumni and guest visitors have been doing. To read the latest edition, or sign-up to receive a copy to your in-box, visit our newsletter page


Partnership with Transport Systems Catapult

The University of Leeds has been selected as one of seven academic centres of excellence to join the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) – the national research and innovation centre for Transport Systems – in developing programmes for innovation through the TSC’s ‘University Partner Programme’.  Representatives from the University’s Transport Systems Hub (TSH) are attending today’s lunch event  at the Catapult Centre in Milton Keynes, which will shape future research and innovation themes and create opportunities for staff across TSH, the University and industry partners. Initial scoping work is taking place to identify projects in which Leeds academics can make key contributions, initially through a series of secondments funded through the University’s ‘Impact Acceleration Account’. The launch today at the ‘Brains to Business’ event is part of the Catapult’s ‘Imagine Festival’, a series of events to which TSH members are contributing.  Read more.


Value of time: new study for DfT

A new study launched by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) will provide up-to-date valuations of travel time savings and reliability in order to better appraise transport infrastructure schemes. DfT has appointed Arup to manage and deliver market research for the study. Arup will deliver the project in partnership with ITS, who will be responsible for the technical research and analysis, and Accent, who will undertake the data collection.  Read more.



The June edition of ITS NEWS, our bi-monthly update, is now available on-line. As a summary of activities from across the Institute, it's a succinct opportunity to catch up with what staff, students, alumni and guest visitors have been doing. To read the latest edition, or sign-up to receive a copy to your in-box, visit our newsletter page.

Choice Modelling Centre

Choice Modelling Centre launched

A new cross-disciplinary Choice Modelling Centre (CMC) has been launched at the University of Leeds. CMC brings together strong expertise in choice modelling from different Faculties across the university of Leeds, notably the Institute for Transport Studies, the Leeds University Business School, the School of Earth and Environment and the Academic Unit of Health Economics.

Choice modelling is a key analytical technique used to study and predict people’s decisions in a variety of contexts. Alongside being a highly active academic research area, the models are used routinely to advise policy makers and industry, largely through predictions of demand for services and products. The new centre brings together the expertise  at Leeds , and provides a focus for an extensive network of external collaborators.

CMC is led by director Professor Stephane Hess and deputy director Dr Charisma Choudhury, both from the Institute for Transport Studies. It aims to be a one-stop-shop for conducting state-of-the-art theoretical research, making a step-change in applied work, leading the way in postgraduate study, and providing world class teaching and continuing professional development.

Evidence to Transport Select Committee

Security on the Railway

Dr Richard Batley, ITS’ Director of Research & Innovation, has given evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee, in relation to their ongoing enquiry into ‘Security on the railway’.  Dr Batley’s evidence focussed on the research study ‘Evaluating measures to improve personal security and the value of their benefits’, which was funded by the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB), and undertaken jointly with the Applied Criminology Centre at the University of Huddersfield.  

The purpose of the study was to evaluate two schemes designed to improve personal security and reduce crime at railway stations and railway station car parks, namely ‘Secure Stations’ and ‘Safer Parking’.  The study found that these schemes: - Reduce crime; - Derive value for existing rail users; - Generate new rail demand; - Derive net social benefits.

Against this background, the study recommended that Secure Stations/Safer Parking interventions should be appraised in a similar manner to other comparative interventions such as station quality and railway safety improvements.

Following questioning by the Committee, Dr Batley commented: “Concerns over personal security are recurrently cited in passenger satisfaction surveys. This study employed an innovative collaboration between economists and criminologists to yield insights on this complex issue, and to help build the business case for investment in improved personal security at railways stations and station car parks. It is testament to the significance of the ITS Leeds work that it is now been disseminated at all key railway industry forums dealing with crime and security, not only the Transport Committee, but also the Rail Personal Security Group, the Public Transport Crime Liaison Group (chaired by Norman Baker MP, then Parliamentary Undersecretary for Transport), and the Passenger Demand Forecasting Council”. 

The full report and a briefing note is available via the RSSB website. Dr Batley’s evidence to the Select Committee can be viewed via Parliament TV. For enquiries regarding the research please contact Dr Richard Batley.



The April edition of ITS NEWS, our bi-monthly update, is now available on-line. As a summary of activities from across the Institute, it's a succinct opportunity to catch up with what staff, students, alumni and guest visitors have been doing. To read the latest edition, or sign-up to receive a copy to your in-box, visit our newsletter page.        


'Big Data' centre

A new Consumer Data Research Centre is to be hosted at the University of Leeds, as a collaboration between the Faculty of Environment and the Business School. Announced by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) centre will involve a total investment at Leeds of around £6.5 million.   ITS’ Dr Susan Grant-Muller is a co-investigator to the new centre and will be leading research involving data routinely collected by business and local government to gain new insights related to transport and mobility. Read more.



The latest edition of ITS NEWS, our bi-monthly update, is now available on-line. As a summary of activities from across the Institute, it's a succinct opportunity to catch up with what staff, students, alumni and guest visitors have been doing. To read the latest edition, or sign-up to receive a copy to your in-box, visit our newsletter page.        

Inaugural lectures

Inaugural Professorial Lectures

In the first of three ITS events, Professor Greg Marsden will present his inaugural lecture to an invited audience on 18 March 2014. Entitled ' The Future of Transport Policy: was Einstein right?' the lecture will consider if new ways of thinking are needed to resolve long established problems.  Tickets for the lecture, which is also being made available as a live webcast, can be booked via the lecture series webpage.

Greener Journeys

Greener Journeys

ITS research provides the basis for a new report highlighting the importance of buses to the UK economy.  Published by Greener Journeys, 'Bus 2020: a manifesto for the next parliament' sets out practical solutions to generate growth, jobs, and protect the environment. The research conducted by Dan Johnson and ITS colleagues shows that buses carry millions of commuters each year who generate economic outputs worth £64 billion, and play a key role in employment levels, particularly amongst young adults. Read more via the Greener Journeys website.   

CH4LLENGE sustainable mobility
18 December 2013

CH4LLENGE – sustainable mobility

ITS is part of major new project on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. With expert partners and cities across Europe, the CH4LLENGE project expands understanding, transfers knowledge, and supports implementation of schemes covering four key challenges in sustainable urban mobility planning: - Public and Stakeholder Participation; - Institutional Cooperation;  - Measure Selection; - Monitoring & Evaluation. ITS works across these challenges, with particular focus on measure section and monitoring and valuation.  Members of the Institute are involved in developing knowledge and practitioner learning across these areas, and in supporting the partner cities in development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable urban mobility plans.  For more information please contact Caroline Mullen or visit the project website.

TRB award Stephane Hess
9 December 2013

TRB honours Stephane Hess

ITS’ Professor Stephane Hess has been honoured as the Outstanding Young Member 2014 by Transport Research Board (TRB). The award, administered by the Young Members Council, recognizes a distinguished younger member of a TRB standing committee who has demonstrated exceptional service to TRB and achievements in transportation research, policy, or practice.   The award will be conferred at the Thomas B. Deen Lecture and Presentation of Awards at TRB on 13 January 2014.  Read more about the award and Stephane’s activities via the TRB Young Professionals website.

Road Safety Week
19 November 2013

Driven to distraction

ITS contributed expert insight during the launch of UK Road Safety Week, with drivers being urged to ‘tune in to road safety’.  

The University of Leeds hosted the regional launch of the campaign by road safety charity Brake, as it was revealed that 42,000 Yorkshire drivers have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted.  In a series of appearances on the BBC, Professor Oliver Carsten and Dr Daryl Hibberd demonstrated the risks of distraction, using the University’s Driving Simulator.
Read more.

Values of travel time
29 October 2013

Valuation of travel time savings

The UK Department for Transport has published several new reports undertaken by ITS, which provide a significant update to appraisal methodology.    

Valuing travel time and reliability remains a key component of the appraisal of transport schemes. The most recent UK national value of time study was conducted nearly twenty years ago before the internet revolution and other changes in working and commuting practices. The two new reports examine the evidence on the value of travel time savings for journeys made on business, commuting, and for leisure purposes.  
Read more.

Evidence to Transport Select Committee on Winter Disruption
22 October 2013

Winter Resilience in Transport

ITS researchers have submitted evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee Inquiry on winter resilience.

In their submission, Greg Marsden and Jeremy Shires draw on key issues from the Disruption Project,  which included a large scale survey of UK regions affected by snow, storms and flooding during January 2013.  Their evidence examines the sources of information used by people when making decisions about travel and their wider behavioural responses to the disruption.  A key theme is the extent to which travellers have an adaptive capacity to respond to unplanned events, and how this might be harnessed by organisations and within transport networks.  
Read the  evidence here.


Rawia El Rashidy
17 October 2013

'Women of Achievement' award

ITS PhD student Rawia El Rashidy is one of ten women from the staff and student body to have been honoured by the University of Leeds. The 'Women of Achievement' have all achieved since January 2010 an external prize or award in their field for outstanding research, teaching, scholarship, or technical work. Rawia’s research on resilience of transport to unexpected climate-related events was awarded a Gold medal in the Young Researchers in Europe competition 2012, for the governance of transports system pillar, one of six thematic pillars in the competition. Read more.



Transport Curriculum
6 October 2013

What Curriculum for Transport Studies?

In this new research Dr Greg Marsden and Dr Antonio Ferreira, together with Dr Marco Te Brömmelstroet, explore what future transport professional should be taught. To understand the complex meanings of mobility and to engage in transport planning processes, a variety of disciplines, skills, and tools are needed - but where should the priorities be? This study asked academics at a number of universities to reflect on the most appropriate approach for developing transport practitioners. Read the published paper in Transport Reviews Journal.

The Forge
23 September 2013

Debating the Dynamics of Mobility

Last week saw the Institute’s staff and PhD students leading the way in social science research training once again. The ESRC funded Forge Network Summer School (convened by Professors Marsden (ITS) and Shove (Lancaster) tackled the issue of understanding the dynamics of mobility. 22 PhD students and early career researchers from 6 countries attended the sessions which were facilitated by Dr Antonio Ferreira and Dr Dave Milne. Participants were exposed to a mix of lectures and workshops to try and understand how and why patterns of demand for mobility change and what might be done to influence them with 5 coming from the University of Leeds. Further details are available at and presentations will be uploaded shortly. This is the fourth and final of the Forge Summer Schools – but training opportunities for PhD students will continue to be provided through the DEMAND Centre on end user energy demand reduction in 2014. 

Techno Scholarships
24 July 2013

Scholarships for South East Asian students and researchers

Applications are invited for Techno project Erasmus Mundus scholarships, funded by the European Commission, for students and researchers from certain South East Asian countries to study or undertake research at ITS.  The application deadline is 15 September 2013 – for full details and eligibility criteria please visit

Transport Appraisal
1 July 2013

Transport appraisal:
international best practice

A research report by ITS on International Comparisons of Transport Appraisal Practice has been published by the UK Department for Transport.  The main report was written by ITS’ Peter Mackie and Tom Worsley with country reports from a team of ITS colleagues and international partners.  The report compares appraisal practice and its development in England, with that in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.  The report authors examined a range of issues, from the specific weights and values used, through to the institutional framework in which national appraisal frameworks sit.  Read the report via the DfT website.

Behavioural Adaptation and Road Safety
13 June 2013

New Book Informs Road Safety

A new book co-edited by ITS makes an “important contribution to the advancement of evidence-based road safety delivery.”
Adaptation is a sign of intelligent behaviour, and is frequently ignored in the field of road safety. This new book on behavioural adaptation, edited by Samantha Jamson and Christina Rudin-Brown (Canadian government) has assembled a group of international experts who write about adaptation from differing perspectives. The result is a comprehensive handbook of particular relevance to researchers, practitioners, designers and policymakers who are interested in maximising road safety. Read more.

30 May 2013

New Project Models Health

ITS will be contributing to a new research project which will see modelling techniques applied to public health.   Dr Ronghui Liu and Dr Charlotte Kelly, part of a consortium led by X-Lab, will use modelling and simulation techniques to aid the treatment of sepsis, which is more commonly known as septicaemia or blood poisoning. Sepsis is a major public health concern, as it causes millions of deaths globally each year, including an estimated 37,000 in the UK.   Funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the work will use techniques pioneered in transport research, to develop Network Tools for Intervention Modelling in Sepsis (NETIMIS).

Investors in People
20 May 2013

An Investor in People

ITS has retained Investors In People (IiP) status, following a recent assessment process.  In the report following the independent visit, the External Assessor commented that “outputs from the Institute mean that it enjoys a very high (world-renowned) profile within the academic and applied world of research”.  The report went on to mention many strengths highlighted by the assessment process - “a genuine collegiate spirit within the Institute was described by staff - what one member of staff called a culture of collaboration.”  
IiP is the UK’s national standard for a well-managed organisation  and ITS has been recognised by the scheme since 2004.  
Read more here.

Karen Lucas joins ITS
13 May 2013

Karen Lucas to join ITS

We are pleased to announce that Karen Lucas will be  joining ITS, as Associate Professor in Transport Geography, from 1st September 2013.

She joins ITS from the Transport Studies Unit (TSU), University of Oxford where she continued her pioneering research and policy development work of social equity issues  in transport. Dr Lucas will add further significant strength to ITS’ capabilities at the interface of transport and geography, and will play a central role in the range of ITS activities delivered with the School of Geography. Read more here.

Emissions monitoring
3 May 2013

Peter Mackie joins new expert panel

Professor Peter Mackie has been appointed to a new panel of experts to advise the UK government on aviation capacity needs.  The Airports Commission panel brings together leading experts in the field, to help ensure that its recommendations are informed by "the very best scientific and technical expertise". Professor Mackie is joined in this advisory role by Faculty colleague Piers Forster, Professor of Physical Climate Change, giving the University of Leeds two representatives on the panel of 13 experts.
Read more.

Emissions monitoring
25 April 2013

City air pollution study

Dr James Tate’s latest study of urban traffic emissions has been reported extensively in the media. The analysis is enabling Sheffield City Council to examine real-time air pollution on some of the city's busiest roads, thus providing an evidence base for considering wider policy interventions such as Low Emission Zones.  View an excerpt from BBC TV’s Look North programme or read more here

Budget day 2013
18 April 2013

Visit to Indonesia

The Institute’s Dr Chandra Balijepalli is currently on a tour of Indonesia, visiting our links in Universities and Government departments, as well as catching up with alumni.  Follow the various stages of Chandra's trip and all our international visits by following the ITS blog:

15 April 2013

ITS NEWSletter

Our latest bi-monthly newsletter - ITS NEWS – which captures a range items of interest from across the Institute, is now available – read here.

Budget day 2013
21 March 2013

Budget 2013 - transport drives growth

The annual Budget statement has sent the clearest message yet about the UK Government strategy of delivering economic growth via investment in transport infrastructure.    The Chancellor George Osborne said that “by investing in the arteries we will get growth flowing to every part of the country.” He added that via current rail projects, the Coalition was “already presiding over the biggest spend on railways since Victorian times” and the biggest spend on roads in a generation. To help stimulate UK economy the Chancellor pledged to invest £3bn p.a in infrastructure from 2015-16, amounting to £15bn of extra capital spending over a decade.  The Treasury has also issued an update to its current Top 40 priority investments, which include the £14bn Crossrail project, which will deliver estimated benefits of £42bn to the UK economy.  Read more.

ITS In the news
25 February 2013

ITS contributes to Armitt Review

Peter Mackie and Tom Worsley, together with Robert Cochrane of Imperial College, have recently contributed evidence to the Independent Infrastructure Review, led by Sir John Armitt CBE. The Armitt Review seeks to determine whether a new institutional structure can be established to improve the long-term decision making for strategic infrastructure planning.  In their evidence, Peter, Tom and Robert consider the need for change, provide a diagnosis, and the address the scope of an Infrastructure Planning Commission. Read the evidence here.  

11 February 2013

Smartphones for smarter travel

The Institute is one of nine European partners in the SUNSET project, which will use social networking (through Web 2.0 and smartphone technology) alongside smart incentives to encourage sustainable transport in EU urban areas.   The project has developed Tripzoom  - a mobile application which integrates with social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to allow users to gain access to services, share news and reviews, exchange information about their travel patterns, compare personal behaviours, and make choices based on real-time information. Read more about SUNSET here.

ITS In the news
28 January 2013

Media seek out ITS commentators

A day of intense media interest in transport issues saw ITS commentators sought out by several national news providers.  
On the day that High Speed 2 (HS2) routes to Manchester and Leeds were announced, Channel 4 News interviewed Professor Peter Mackie on the extra rail capacity which will be created by the new lines  - watch the video (01:50) here.  
The Independent newspaper reported Professor Greg Marsden's comments that critics of HS2 can rightly round on the lack of precision and detail on what it will deliver for its big ticket price - read here.  
On the BBC’s Inside Out programme, Dr James Tate explained why levels of nitrogen dioxide haven’t reduced, despite car manufacturers spending millions of pounds to meet EU emissions standards - watch on iplayer here

Chinese delegation to ITS
22 January 2013

Does transport policy need a new direction?

Thirty two UK transport Professors, working with the Transport Planning Society, have published an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, raising a number of concerns about the current state of transport policy and investment in the UK.

In the letter to Right Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, particular concerns are raised around how transport is funded, the integration of land-use policies, and a lack of understanding of if and how infrastructure investments will deliver the economic growth that is claimed.  Professor Greg Marsden, who has taken a leading role in co-ordinating the Professor’s response, said, “The number of signatories shows a strength of feeling that better policies are out there to help meet the economic imperative and create the cities, streets and countryside we want for the future.” 
Read more here.

Chinese delegation to ITS
23 November 2012

Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand Centre

ITS is to play a major role in one of five new energy efficiency research centres, as part of a £39m investment by UK government and industry.  The DEMAND Centre brings together leading researchers at Lancaster, ECLEER, and ITS, and has attracted  £1.6m of industrial funding from EDF, Transport for London  and Tesco’s Sustainable Consumption Institute. The Centre’s ambition is to provide evidence and ideas capable of informing decisions and inspiring interventions of the kind required to reach the UK’s 2050 greenhouse gas emissions target. Read more about the centre here and about the wider UK research investment here

Chinese delegation to ITS
16 November 2012

Chinese goverment delegation visits ITS

A delegation from Chinese central and regional governments visited ITS this week, hosted by Dr Frank Lai. The delegation, which included senior officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, approached ITS to learn about UK transport informatics best practice, particularly the use of intelligent transport systems in urban network design, traffic management, speed control, network status reporting and sharing.  Following a training session, the delegates had hands-on experience of the University of Leeds Driving Simulator. A further Chinese delegation, from the Ministry of Transport, will be visiting ITS later this month. 

1 November 2012

ITS links with Korea Transportation Safety Authority

A ceremony in Seoul celebrated the exchange of a memorandum of understanding between ITS and the Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA).  The link will promote a range of activities, including joint research projects, partnered events, knowledge sharing, exchange of staff and placement of students.  The MoU will also enable KOTSA’s interest in vehicle safety and the Korean New Car Assessment Program (KNCAP) to align with the research of the ITS Safety and Technology Group, on advanced driver assistance systems. Pictured are Mr Dongkook Kim, the Head of Green Transport and IT at KOTSA, and ITS’ Professor Oliver Carsten. The ceremony took place during KOTSA’s Traffic Safety Grand Conference 2012, on the theme of South Korea’s relatively poor performance in road safety. Professor Carsten presented on British experience in addressing pedestrian safety.   Read more about KOTSA

Job satisfaction - transport sector
24 October 2012

Transport sector: rewarding careers

The transport sector has been voted one of the best in Britain for job satisfaction and career development in a recent graduate survey. asked 3000 graduates in their first three years of employment to score their company on a range of criteria including responsibility, progression opportunities, colleague interaction, training, work-life balance and benefits. The sector came second in the UK for both career progression and overall role enjoyment and also scored particularly highly for colleague interaction and company culture. Read more here

TECHNO project
9 October 2012

TECHNO project – postgraduate funding

ITS is extending its participation in the European Commission funded TECHNO project, which facilitates students and researchers from South East Asia to come to Europe.  The TECHNO consortium involves 19 partner organisations across 11 countries, and promotes mobility in applied science and engineering.   As part of this Erasmus Mundus scheme, ITS is inviting postgraduate students and researchers to apply, to follow the 3 Masters students and 2 PhD students who were funded to come to Leeds earlier this year. Applicants should be from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia or Thailand  - for details of the funding and the application process please visit

Automated car
5 October 2012

Driverless cars to re-define ‘driving’

A new special issue journal co-edited by ITS’ Dr Natasha Merat considers how our roads will dramatically change as vehicles become ever more automated.  With driverless cars now street-legal in three American states, the once futuristic vision of cars driving themselves is rapidly become a reality.   This special issue brings together leading US and European research to consider key issues for vehicle designers and policy makers.   Read more via the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society website

The Independent
25 September 2012

Independent recommendation

The Independent, one of the UK’s leading national newspapers, has recommended ITS to students considering a career in transport planning.  The  postgraduate supplement cites ITS as a ‘concentrated pool of knowledge’ and highlights the specialisms available. Read more on the Independent's website

17 September 2012

Bus industry presents ITS research 

The importance of the bus to the UK economy, highlighted recently by an ITS report, will be presented to the House of Commons today by bus industry leaders.  The Buses and Economic Growth report, produced by Professor Peter Mackie, Dr James Laird and Dr Dan Johnson, revealed a number of key issues including:  that more people commute to work by bus than all other public transport combined; bus commuters generate over £64 billion of economic output and 400,000 people are in better more productive jobs as a result of the bus. Drawing on key findings from the report, Greener Journeys, a campaign to promote sustainable travel, have produced Bus Policy: a five-point plan for growth, which will be presented at the House of Commons. Read more.

14 September 2012

Environmental impacts of transport 

ITS will be contributing to the first TEDx event at the University of Leeds. 
The event will bring together leading experts whose work aims to contribute to a substantial reduction in emissions from transport by means of behaviour change, new technologies and new ways of travelling around our future cities. Speakers from ITS will be Dr Greg Marsden and Dr James Tate and their presentations will be followed by discussion and audience participation.  It will take place in the University’s Great Hall on the evening of 1st November 2012 – for further details see 

Leadership Chair
10 September 2012

Leadership Chair in Future Mobility

Applications are invited to a new role of strategic importance to the Institute and its sustained reputation for excellence.  The Leadership Chair will be a significant catalyst for helping define and progress creative and challenging new research agendas, as well as delivering outcomes which are academically world-leading and policy relevant. The appointee will lead an innovative programme of research examining the relationships between technological change, social change and changing mobility.  Read more here.

20 August 2012

Internship at UNESCAP

ITS Masters student Vinod Soman has secured a prestigious internship at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia & the Pacific (UNESCAP). Based at the sub-regional office in New Delhi (SRO-SSWA), Vinod is contributing to policy briefings on economic and social development, Millennium Development Goals achievement,  urbanization and regional economic integration including transport connectivity.  One of their key activities is developing a policy framework for a Trans-Asian rail link and road link connecting Turkey and Bangladesh.  The internship follows that of Nalini Murkutla (ITS class of 2011) at the Bangkok UNESCAP offices last year.  Vinod will be completing his 3-month internship before returning to ITS to conclude his Masters programme.  

Prof. Andrew Daly
8 August 2012

Emissions research featured on BBC

Dr James Tate's pioneering vehicle emission assessments have featured in a BBC Radio 4 programme, exploring the link between diesel fumes, air quality and significant public health concerns.  James’ research, using unique remote sensing technology, has demonstrated that oxides of nitrogen emissions from modern diesel vehicles in urban driving conditions are significantly higher than previously thought, and that conventional UK and EU vehicle emission predictions and models are unreliable.  Listen to the BBC 'File on 4’ programme (skip to 0:15:40).   

Prof. Andrew Daly
24 July 2012

Andrew Daly wins IATBR award

Professor Andrew Daly has received the IATBR Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented to Andrew at the 14th triennial IATBR conference, held in Toronto earlier this month, and recognises Andrew's key contributions in the field of travel behaviour research over a period of 40 years. Read more...

23 July 2012

NECTAR workshop  - call for abstracts

Abstracts are invited for a NECTAR event on ‘Exploring equity issues of ICT for transport networks’.   The workshop is organised by ITS and will be held in Harrogate, near Leeds, on 28-29 September 2012.  NECTAR workshops are open to both early career and more experienced researchers and this event welcomes submission by anyone interested in this interdisciplinary theme.  Abstracts of up to 350 words should be submitted by 24 August 2012 by email to  Places are limited according to NECTAR workshops rules, so early submission is advised. Further information about NECTAR and this call are available on the NECTAR website.

22 July 2012


ITS will be hosting the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research (IATBR) conference in 2015, the first time the event has been staged in the UK. The Institute’s Dr Stephane Hess has been chosen as organiser for the triennial conference, which will be co-chaired with Dr Aruna Sivakumar of Imperial College London, who will act as joint host with ITS. Stephane, alongside Aruna,  Professor  John Polak and Professor Andrew Daly will form the academic committee for the conference, which will be held in London in summer 2015.  IATBR is the leading forum for work on travel behaviour research, bringing together scholars, researchers, practitioners, consultants, and public agency professionals.  The association was established in the early 1970s and this 14th triennial conference will be a first for the UK.

7 July 2012

Economic Productivity & Investment

ITS has been successful against world class competition in a consortium bid to the US National Co-operative Highways Research Programme (NCHRP). The consortium will be led by Glen Weisbrod of Economic Development Research Group of Boston, and participating for ITS will be Peter Mackie, James Laird and Daniel Johnson. The study will provide a guidebook of methods for modelling and assessing the impact of transport infrastructure investment on the wider economy for the US State DOTs. The ITS team will provide evidence on methods, data needs and analytical approaches based on European experience.

3 July 2012

Buses and Economic Growth

New research by ITS has highlighted the economic role of buses, in generating more than £64bn of benefits  a year.

The Buses & Economic Growth Report by Professor Peter Mackie, with Dr James Laird and Dr Dan Johnson, commissioned by Greener Journeys, brings together for the first time an assessment of the economic contribution of the bus in growing the economy, connecting people with jobs, helping businesses and supporting the vitality of city centres.  Reporting that bus commuters generate £64 billion of economic output every year, the research highlights that

  • More people commute by bus than all other forms of public transport combined. 
  • People use the bus to make shopping and leisure trips with an annual value of £27.2 billion
  • 1 in 10 bus commuters would be forced to look for another job if they could no longer commute by bus.
  • More than 50% of students are frequent bus users and depend on the bus to get to their education or training.
  • An estimated 400,000 people are in work or in a better job because of the availability of a bus service, equating to £400 million additional gross value added p.a. 

The report’s underpinning fieldwork, research and analysis took place in January - May 2012 and comprised of an analysis of existing data sources such as the DfT's National Travel Survey, an internet survey of more than 2000 bus users; and a survey of stakeholders and large employers.   Read the summary report here  and also the coverage in The Guardian of the linked announcement by bus operators to offer discounted bus travel to unemployed young people.

Leanne Farrow CIHT
18 June 2012

Alumni award winner

ITS alumna Leanne Farrow has been awarded the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Young Professional of the Year for her ‘invaluable contribution to raising the Institution profile with younger members’.  Leanne is a Senior Transport Planner with JMP Consultants, having been with the organisation since graduating from ITS with an MSc in Transport Planning in 2007. She is pictured collecting her award from the Princess Royal at the CIHT awards ceremony on London. Read more here.

14 May 2012

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - York study

ITS is delivering improved assessments of LEZ policies in the City of York using the next generation of vehicle emission information and models. The simulations across the city are highly detailed, down to individual vehicle level, and are a step towards a second-by-second virtual representation of the traffic network and the emissions generated.  The modelling allows researchers to analyse the impact of congestion using a detailed breakdown of the local fleet and the emissions profile, such grams per second or distance travelled, for different ages and types of vehicle. The results from the modelling can then be compared  to recent on-road vehicle emission remote sensing measurements. This feasibility study forms part of a wider analysis by ITS of vehicle emissions, with the established EU methodology now under scrutiny for being overly optimistic and unreliable for diesel cars and vans.  The project is being delivered in partnership with the Halcrow Group, who have developed the traffic microsimulation models being used in this study.  For further details of the study please contact Dr James Tate

30 April 2012

Time savings for business travellers on HS2

An independent peer review by ITS of a controversial aspect of the High Speed 2 (HS2) business case  has recently been published by the Department for Transport (DfT). Commissioned by the DfT Strategy Unit, the work by ITS considered the Department’s approach to valuing time savings for business travellers, savings which form an important part of the justification for the £32.7b investment. Read the full review at

PhD medals
24 April 2012

PhD medal winners

ITS PhD student Rawia El Rashidy has been awarded a gold medal in the ‘Year 2012’ European young researchers competition, at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) conference in Athens.  The competition, supported by the European Union, profiles promising young researchers specialising in surface transport.  European Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, awarded the gold medallists for their outstanding work.  Rawia won the medal for the Governance of the transport system pillar, one of six thematic pillars, for her work on use of intelligent transport systems to enhance the resilience of transport system under unexpected climate change related events.   Rawia holds White Rose scholarship and is in the second year of her PhD at ITS.  Adding to the podium places, Gillian Harrison, was awarded a silver medal in the competition; Gillian is a PhD within the DTC Low Carbon Technologies, and is supervised by ITS. Her PhD research field is implementing ethical approaches to alternative fuel uptake. Read more about the competition at

12 April 2012

Two Hands Better Than One

A study conducted by ITS for esure car insurance, has revealed that motorists who drive whilst eating at the wheel see their reaction times increase by a half.

The small study, conducted by Dr Samantha Jamson, using the University of Leeds Driving Simulator, aimed to evaluate drivers’ ability to drive with only one hand on the steering wheel.  Drivers were asked to complete a number of tasks while driving with one hand on the wheel, such as eating, drinking and talking on a hands-held mobile phone (only the latter is illegal in the UK).  Drivers’ performance was compared to when they drove with two hands on the wheel and to when they used just one hand, but with no additional task. The study found that lane position varied more whilst driving with one hand, resulting in drivers spending more time towards the edges of the lane boundaries.  This was particularly so for the drinking task.  In a car-following task, where drivers were asked to maintain a safe and constant gap to the vehicle in front, performance also degraded when eating or drinking. It also found that when simply driving with one hand (whilst not undertaking a secondary task), drivers were able to maintain the same level of performance as when driving with two hands.    It is possible that the poorer performance exhibited when eating or drinking while driving with one hand is the result of increased visual demand – the act of unwrapping and looking at the food or tipping the bottle up in order to drink. Rather than “refuelling” on the move, it would be preferable to make a dedicated stop or, where possible, plan journeys around mealtimes.
Read more here.

7 March 2012

Greener Journeys 

ITS is working on a new project examining the links between buses and the economy. The research sponsor, Greener Journeys, is a high-profile coalition of bus companies working to improve the attractiveness of bus travel. Using existing data plus new interviews and surveys, the research team will look for empirical evidence linked to the assertion that buses have a greater economic impact than their use value. The results will map onto government appraisal methods and inform investment in bus infrastructure and services.  For further details of the project, please contact Dan Johnson or read the feature in The Telegraph.

22 Feb 2012

Chinese Olympic Team Travel Plan

ITS is helping to develop the transport plan for the Chinese Olympic team, which will have its training base in Leeds, in preparation for the London 2012 games. The transport plan includes the arrival of the various teams into Leeds and onto the Olympic village, plus the logistics of moving the teams around the various training venues within the region. To hear more about why the Chinese Olympic team have chosen Leeds as their base, please see the ITS Facebook page.

3 Jan 2012

New Year Honour

Tom Worsley, ITS Visiting Research Fellow, has been awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours list, for his services to the UK Department for Transport (DfT). Tom retired from DfT in May 2011, having held a number of senior economist posts during an impressive career. He was responsible for setting up NATA (the New Approach To Appraisal) in 1997 and for the development of the Department’s National Transport Model in 2001. He led the team responsible for Network Modelling Framework, a forecasting model used to provide the evidence to inform the 2007 Rail White Paper and High Level Output Specification. Since joining ITS his research interests have included an OECD discussion paper on the Crossrail scheme.

New Director
22 Dec 2011

New Director of ITS

From January 2012, Dr Greg Marsden will take over as the Director of ITS.  Greg steps up from his role as Director of International Activities to take on the top job, succeeding Professor Mark Wardman, whose term of office ends.  In other recent changes to the senior management team, Dr Richard Batley is the Director of Research & Innovation, whilst Dr Samantha Jamson is the new Director of International Activities.

20 Dec 2011

TECHNO mobility

ITS is a partner in a European Commission funded project, which will encourage students and researchers from South East Asia to Europe.  The TECHNO consortium involves 19 partner organisations across 11 countries, and promotes mobility in applied science and engineering.   As part of this Erasmus Mundus scheme, ITS is inviting postgraduate students and researchers to apply for funding to come to Leeds. For details of the funding and the application process, please visit

14 Dec 2011

Class of 2011 - graduation celebration

The Masters class of 2011 were welcomed back to ITS for their graduation ceremony. Following the ceremony in the University's Great Hall, the graduates braved the weather of the short walk to ITS where a warm reception was laid on.  As well as catching up on what they are all now doing, it was also the time to confer the annual student prizes.   We now look forward to staying in touch with the class of 2011 throughout their lives and careers, via the alumni network. A video of the graduation ceremony in the Great Hall can be viewed here.

8 Dec 2011

Crossrail Appraisal

Tom Worsley, ITS Visiting Fellow, gave a presentation to the OECD's International Transport Forum in December.  At the Round Table meeting on Major Infrastructure Projects and Regional Development, Tom presented the key issues from his paper ‘The Evolution of London's Crossrail Scheme and the Development of the Department for Transport's Economic Appraisal Methods’. The paper is available here.

Sustainable Transport
5 Dec 2011

Sustainable Transport Guidebook

Dr Greg Marsden has contributed to a new Guidebook on Sustainability Performance Measurement, for use across the transport sector.  Published by the US Transportation Research Board (TRB), the guidebook has been prepared for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP - Report 708). Led by the Texas Transportation Institute, the report draws on the expertise of a diverse team and provides a widely-applicable framework, which transport agencies can adapt and use, either in existing performance measurement or within new sustainability initiatives. View the guidebook here

International reach
14 Nov 2011

International reach

Recent weeks have seen significant developments in ITS’ international presence, reflecting the Institute’s long-standing commitment to global capacity building.
* Delivering MSc programmes at the Kigali Institute of Science of Technology in Rwanda, funded by the World Bank.
* A Memorandum of Understanding with the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi and presentations to the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport at CEPT Ahmedabad.
* The Inaugural meeting of the Erasmus Mundus exchange network, held in Siam Riep, Cambodia, which will see postgraduates and postdocs come to ITS from nine SE Asian countries.
* An address to the Association of Mayors and visits to the Catholic University and ESPE in Ecuador.
* Visits and presentations at the following at Chinese universities -  Dalian Maritime, Dalian University of Technology, Tshinghua and BeiHang. 
* A keynote presentation on urban freight at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and the final results of the TURBLOG case study on Cariciaca, Brazil.
* The further development of collaborations with leading Taiwanese institutions - National Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University.
Read more about these initiatives here.

Road Safety Framework

Road Safety Framework

In evidence submitted to  the Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry, ITS and other leading organisations concerned with road safety have urged the UK government to revise the framework to adopt international best practice. 
Concerned that the UK government is failing to take a leadership role in road safety, the submission by a coalition of road safety organisations, research institutes and universities, makes a number of key recommendations. Read the submission here.


President of CIHT visits ITS

David Gillham, President of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) visited ITS on 9th November. During his visit David experienced the world-leading Leeds Advanced Driving Simulator and discussed the challenges facing the transport profession during the current economic turmoil. David also gave a seminar to ITS Masters students, where he discussed the challenges of funding major transport infrastructure and maintaining the infrastructure we have. Key themes of the talk were the appropriate use of private sector finance and how both the public sector and the private sector can do more to achieve more cost effective use of private sector finance.


United Nations Intern returns

ITS Masters student Nalini Murkutla has recently returned from an internship at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Based in Bangkok, Nalini spent 3 months gaining invaluable experience working alongside UNESCAP Officers, including on the 'Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap for Asia-Pacific' project. Nalini has now returned to ITS to apply her news skills and insights to her dissertation, before continuing her transport career. Read more about Nalini and her time at UNESCAP here.

Disruption project

Disruption on the horizon

ITS is leading a major new 3 year research council UK project as part of the Energy programme. The ‘Disruption’ project is trying to uncover whether travel behavior is as habitual and as difficult to change as is typically assumed. The project is studying how people adapt when faced with disruptions to their daily routines. These might be personal disruptions such as a broken leg or taking on caring duties, through to more widespread disruptions such as strikes or the major snow and ice of the past two years. The aim of the project is to understand how we can unlock our inherent adaptability to change in ways which will lead to lower energy consumption. Of course, there is a chance that this will herald the mildest winters on record. For further details please contact Dr Greg Marsden or visit the project website

Visions 2030

Visions of 2030

City centres could become virtually car-free over the next 20 years under new visions proposed by an ITS-led research project. 
The year is 2030, traffic jams and smog have been banished from city centres and replaced with tree-lined boulevards where commuters walk or cycle to a much greater extent than now; electric bicycles and airport style travelators have become common modes of travel.  It might sound like the setting for a science fiction film, but this is just one scenario outlined by a research project aiming to create urban environments which are safer, more sociable and less environmentally damaging.  The 'Visions 2030' team have produced three scenarios of future UK cities where up to 80% of all journeys are made by bike or on foot and where cars and lorries are virtually obsolete. Their proposals, published in the Journal of Transport Geography, are illustrated by animations and images of how these cities may look. Read the full story here.

EcoDriver project

EcoDriver project

ITS is leading a €14.5m European project which aims to turn even the most committed of petrol heads into a green driver.  Over a four-year period the project will develop innovative new technologies for both in-vehicle and remote devices, such as downloadable smart-phone apps, that will help motorists to significantly reduce their fuel consumption by driving in a more energy-efficient way. ITS researchers led by Professor Oliver Carsten will work with transport research centres across Europe, as well as leading vehicle manufacturers such as Fiat and BMW, to design and test the devices, which could be on the market within 5 years. Read the full story here.

Higher NOX emissions from diesel vehicles

Understanding Walking & Cycling

A desire to ‘fit in’ could be hampering Britain’s chances of shifting to more sustainable forms of travel. Research conducted by ITS, Lancaster University and Oxford Brookes University has found that as well as the usual concerns of squeezing walking or cycling into complex household routines, negotiating traffic and the British weather, a significant proportion of people are put off from ditching the car because it is not seen as ‘normal’. The findings, collected from a cross section of households in Leeds, Leicester, Worcester and Lancaster, found that whilst attitudes to walking and cycling are mostly positive or neutral, many people who would like to engage in more active travel fail to do so due to a combination of factors.  The three most common obstacles to walking and cycling over a short journey were: safety when walking or cycling; the difficulty of fitting walking and cycling into complex household routines (especially with young children); the perception that walking and cycling are in some ways abnormal things to do. Read more.

Higher NOX emissions from diesel vehicles

Higher NOX emissions from diesel vehicles

ITS research has discovered that NOx emissions from modern diesel vehicles are higher than previously thought. In urban driving conditions the NOx performance of diesel passenger cars have been shown to have changed little in the past 20 years, even though ever more stringent EU vehicle emission standards have been introduced. Worryingly from a local air quality perspective diesel cars are more popular than ever. Road transport NOx emissions are important as the UK is failing to meet EU air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The UK is also predicted to fail the NOx emissions ceiling target imposed by the European National Emissions Ceiling Directive (Environmental Audit Committee – Air Quality Report).  The work is part of a project led by collaborating researchers at Kings College London investigating why concentrations of NOx and NO2 in the UK have not fallen as anticipated. The findings are published in a new report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. For further details please contact Dr James Tate.

Added: 2011-08-10

New project puts rail freight back on track

ITS is developing the economic analysis for a major new project which will help EU railways regain market share of freight services, and thus re-build a sustainable alternative to road freight.   Freight transport across the EU is expected to grow by 50% by 2020 (in tonne-kilometres).  But in many areas, rail has been displaced from a dominant position, as road freight has grown and developed a capability and sophistication not matched in the rail sector.  SUSTRAIL is a major new  research project which aims to increase the performance of the entire rail freight system, and so drive profitability for stakeholders and EU tax payers.  Funded by the European Commission, it brings together university and rail industry partners from 13 countries.  Taking an holistic approach, the project will explore  innovations in rolling stock (to increase speeds and loads) and in track components (for higher reliability and reduced maintenance). ITS will lead the specialist work on infrastructure capacity benefits – as faster rail freight can free up track for both more freight and rail passenger services.    SUSTRAIL runs from 2011-2015 with the first interim findings in 2012 - for further details please contact either Phill Wheat (Project Director) or John Nellthorp (Project Manager).

Values of Time
Added: 2011-06-27

European Investment Bank Project

A new ITS research project will extend the meta-analysis of values of time, to include evidence from across mainland Europe. ITS has pioneered work in meta-analyses of values of time, conducting the largest studies of their type [value of travel time savings is one of the most widely used parameters in transport planning forecasting & appraisal].  Funded by the European Investment Bank and to complete early in 2012, this new project will be led by Prof. Mark Wardman, together with Prof. Gerard de Jong and Dr  Phani  Chintakayala. It will build upon and update pan-European work previously undertaken by Prof. de Jong, explaining how values of time vary across different contexts and over time. The research outputs will update the European Investment Bank's database for EU countries. For further details please contact Mark Wardman.

Green Impact Award
Added: 2011-06-20

Green Impact Award

ITS has been accredited by the Green Impact Scheme, a campaign run by the National Union of Students to encourage University staff and students across the country to take an active role in reducing their environmental impact. The University of Leeds had twenty six teams participating, addressing a range of scheme criteria including; energy usage, recycling, transport and communications. The ITS team was headed up by Jo Moran, Environmental Co-ordinator, and as a result of new measures put in place, plus existing good practice, ITS was awarded bronze accreditation. Read more about the scheme at

Forging Ahead
Added: 2011-06-10

Forging Ahead

The Forge is a new network of social science researchers interested in novel ways of conceptualising and analysing transport and travel. The network provides a means for research students, researchers and early career policy makers to meet, collaborate, publish and exchange ideas. Members of the network can share their profile and find colleagues with common interests. They can also apply for small quantities of funding to set up and support meetings and workshops on specific topics of interest to other network members. The annual Summer School is a focal point for the network and its activities. These events, to be run in 2011, 2012 and 2013, are open to research students from all areas of social science. Each year there will be 40 subsidised places available. To find out more or register as a member of the network, please visit the Forge website.

Alumni Event - Peter Hendy on 'Transporting London'
Added: 2011-06-08

Alumni Event - Peter Hendy on 'Transporting London

Members of the ITS alumni community attended the Annual Alumni Lecture on 7th June in London. The lecture was given by fellow Leeds alumnus Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London. In his talk, Peter related the diverse challenges of keeping London moving in the wake of a terrorist attack, the Olympic level scrutiny of 2012 transport links, and working with the two very different mayoral characters of Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

The event took place at City Hall, on the south bank of the Thames, with has stunning panoramic views over the London skyline. The was significant interest in this prestigious event and a sizeable contingent of ITS alumni attended - further details, photos and a video of the lecture are available here.

Freight Route Choice
Added: 2011-05-25

Freight Route Choice

A new ITS research project will use GPS data to examine the movement of around 600 road freight vehicles. Sponsored by the UK Department for Transport, the project will first process the data into individual trips and identifying the actual route chosen by a specific lorry driver for a specific journey. Next, it will construct a database of alternative routes that the driver could have used. The resulting dataset will then be used in the estimation of choice models that explain the chosen route on the basis of attributes of the various routes. This will allow the project team to understand the relative sensitivities to travel time, cost, type of road, and various other factors which influence the choice of route. Please contact Dr Stephane Hess for further project details.

Tom Worsley joins ITS
Added: 2011-05-02

Tom Worsley joins ITS

Tom Worsley is joining ITS following his retirement from the Department for Transport. He joins ITS on a part-time basis as a Visiting Fellow in Transport Policy and comments: 

"Having worked closely with ITS over many years, it is a natural progression and I am looking forward to collaborating with my new academic colleagues, in applied research in policy, economics and appraisal".

Tom retires from DfT at the end of May, having held a number of senior economist posts during an impressive career. He was responsible for setting up NATA (the New Approach To Appraisal) in 1997 and for the development of the Department's National Transport Model in 2000/1. He led the team responsible for Network Modelling Framework, a forecasting model used to provide the evidence to inform the 2007 Rail White Paper and High Level Output Specification. More recently he has overseen the provision of economic advice on aviation and shipping, and on transport and the environment.
Added: 2011-03-29

ITS is leading a 3-year project to examine the way in which carbon reduction policies are managed and delivered within transport.
The Climate Change Act 2008 has set targets for an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions and this implies large scale decarbonisation of road transport. This ESRC funded project seeks to identify blockages and opportunities to improve the governance processes to enable the transport sector to decarbonise in an efficient, effective and accountable manner. This includes understand how decisions are currently made and whether the public believes that such decision-making bodies are open to influence and scrutiny. The project brings together transport experts at ITS with political scientists from the University of Sheffield, plus experts at the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier University. For further information please contact Dr Greg Marsden, Project Manager, or visit

Aviation experts were welcomed to ITS this month for a special workshop on environmental policy.
Added: 2011-03-29

Aviation Workshop

Aviation experts were welcomed to ITS this month for a special workshop on environmental policy.

The focus of the workshop was on how market mechanisms could be used to increase technological innovation in the aviation sector - to achieve environmental benfits. Speakers were drawn from aviation operators and academics, including representatives from Virgin Atlantic, NATS, the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research and Cranfield University, which facilitated a stimulating discussion of current knowledge and future research needs. Dr Astrid Guehnemann, co-ordinator of the workshop said "it was a very interesting opportunity to exchange knowledge between academics and experts from the aviation industry. It showed that we need more research into the design of policy instruments that can support the sector's efforts to reduce their environmental burden and staying competitive". For further details of ITS' environmental policy work, please see here.

Intelligent Driver Support Systems (IDSSs)
Added: 2011-03-14

Intelligent Driver Support Systems (IDSSs)

A new book co-edited by Dr Yvonne Barnard brings together current research on IDSSs, including design evaluation and social perspectives. The book is closely aligned with the interests of the ITS Safety & New Technologies Research Group and will appeal not only to researchers across engineering and social science disciplines, but also to designers involved in systems development. For further details and to order please see here.

Transport Select Committee - Report
Added: 2011-03-02

Transport Select Committee - Report

The House of Commons Select Committee on Transport report, published today, has identified a number of recommendations from its recent inquiry into Transport and the Economy. Professor Peter Mackie and Dr Greg Marsden submitted written evidence to the Select Committee and followed this with oral evidence in November 2010. Key messages which come through in the Committee's recommendations are:

  • Lower GDP growth and shortage of public funds raises the threshold of Benefit: Cost ratios for the schemes that should go forward.
  • That there should be an increased threshold for funding decisions for local schemes.
  • That the new governance arrangements for Local Economic Partnerships are not well defined and so pose some risks to the development and delivery of priority schemes.

Read the full report here.

Social networking and sustainable travel
Added: 2011-03-01

Social networking and sustainable travel

ITS is one of the key partners in a new 3M euro research project that will develop and evaluate social network services and incentives to encourage individuals to travel more sustainably.

The SUNSET consortium is seeking to increase personal mobility in the EU and at the same time reduce congestion, increase safety, and protect the environment. Project partners are drawn from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden the UK, and include both research institutes and hi-tech companies, such as an internet app developer and a mobile phone operator. Read more about the project, including the use of the latest web 2.0 technologies and a 'living lab', on the SUNSET website. For details of ITS' contribution, please contact Dr Susan Grant-Muller.

Chinese delegation
Added: 2011-02-28

Chinese delegation

ITS hosted a visit from the Xi'an Municipal Development and Reform Commission. The delegation was led by the deputy director general of the Commission and comprised 17 directors and senior managers working in Chinese local government. ITS staff led discussions on integrated traffic planning and management for the large cities in the UK and Europe and on transport pollution management strategies. Key issues under discussion included the role of clean vehicle technology and the conflicts between vehicle efficiency improvements and cheap motorisation, the use of intelligent transport systems to reduce environmental impacts, and retaining an efficient public transport service. Xi'an city is the capital of the Shaanxi province with a population of over 7 million.

Vice-Chancellor: ITS is "world-class"
Added: 2011-02-08

Vice-Chancellor: ITS is "world-class"

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, Professor Michael Arthur, re-stated ITS' status as a world class department, in an article on The Guardian website. Commenting on the rapidly changing landscape of higher education, including higher fees from 2012 and specialisation within the sector, the VC said:

"Universities have developed themselves with a focus on excellence ... For example, at Leeds we happen to have a world-class Institute for Transport Studies; not a lot of our competitors have anything like that."

Read the full article here.

Bill Lythgoe 1943-2011
Added: 2011-02-07

Bill Lythgoe 1943-2011

It is with great sadness that we learned that Dr William Lythgoe passed away on Sunday 6th February.

Bill was a Research Fellow, working mainly on rail related research in the area of behavioural modelling. Bill was a popular member of ITS, and with many friends in the railway industry where he worked until arriving at ITS in 1998 to take the MSc in Transport Planning, which he was awarded with distinction. He subsequently completed a PhD in spatial analysis of rail demand and then contributed to a wide range of research projects. Bill will be greatly missed.

A tribute to Bill's lifelong commitment to equality can be read here.

Added: 2011-01-18


ITS will be making its presence felt at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Meeting this month.

TRB is held annually in Washington D.C and is one of the elite global transport conferences - so it is fitting that ITS will be contributing more than 20 authored and co-authored papers. The ITS papers are adding breadth and depth to the proceedings; several of the papers have arisen from collaborations and exchanges between ITS and other leading academics and practitioners internationally. For details of the ITS papers, please see here.

High Speed Rail seminars
Added: 2010-12-10

High Speed Rail seminars

Professor Chris Nash recently returned to ITS after giving a series of international seminars on high speed rail. First stop was the University of California in Berkeley, followed by the UIC symposium in Beijing. Also in Beijing, Prof. Nash spoke on 'Cost-benefit Analysis of High Speed Rail'. He is pictured here with Professor Ou and two former academic visitors to ITS - Fu Ying and Jian Hong Wu, at Beijing Jiaotong University.

Would you let your car drive itself?
Added: 2010-11-26

Would you let your car drive itself?

That's the question that Dr Natasha Merat of ITS is helping to answer on Antenna, part of the Science Museum's website which discusses the latest scientific developments. Dr Merat is one of four experts asked for their opinions on whether driverless cars are likely to be on our roads in the near future. She comments: "We need more research to understand the consequences of highly automated cars for the driver." Read more here.

In a related news story, Dr Merat also provided the expert opinion for an article in the Yorkshire Evening post, on the impact of Sat Nav on driver behaviour. Article to follow.

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