Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Electric vehicle energy taskforce

Professor Jillian Anable will be part of the steering group for the Government’s new Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which was set up in July 2018 as a part of the ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. The taskforce will aim to tackle energy sector opportunities and impacts associated with the rise of electric vehicles. 


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The Living Lab for Air Quality

A collaboration between the Institute for Transport Studies, School of Earth and Environment, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science and School of Civil Engineering, the Living Lab for Air Quality aims to help shape the University's travel plan.

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Transport affordability deserves more attention, suggests researchers

Dr Giulio Mattioli was invited to present at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, on the findings of the 2014-2016 (t)ERES project. 

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ITS Euro Trip 2018

Over 40 ITS students have taken part in the annual European field trip - exploring transport systems across the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

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Postgraduate students are joint-winners of the Piers Sellers PhD Prize

Two students from the Faculty of Environment were awarded the Piers Sellers PhD Prize at a ceremony earlier this week.  

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Investigating Commuter Exposure to Air Pollution in Leeds

In early June 2018, ITS staff and students studied commuter exposure to fine particles using portable instruments (particle number counters) when commuting to and from a residential street in Headingley to the University of Leeds’ campus.

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Lifestyle changes could hold the key to cutting Co2 emissions

A recently released paper, co-authored by Professor Jillian Anable, has looked at ways in which carbon emissions could be reduced, following the UK government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. 

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European field trip logo

European Field Trip Photo Competition

At the Institute of Transport Studies, we offer plenty of opportunities for students to experience transport systems in action on optional field trips. For many of our students, the highlight of their course is the European Field Trip. 

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Natasha Merat

Cheltenham Science Festival: A Driverless Future

Driverless cars are likely to be on our roads in the very near future, promising to transform our experience of day-to-day travel. The technology being developed aims to making driving safer, with fewer driver related accidents, greener, with less pollution through co2 emissions, and easier for drivers, allowing them to engage in other activities.

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Speed limit sign

Does the National Speed Awareness Course make roads safer?

Analysis by Dr Frank Lai (obituary, Nov.2017) forms part of a significant new report commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT). Published by Isos MORI, the Impact Evaluation report assesses the effects of the National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC) on re-offending.  Building on earlier work by Dr Lai dating back to 2005,  the report indicates that participation in the NSAC was more effective over a 3-year period at reducing speed re-offending than a fine and penalty points, but did not find a statistically significant impact on the likelihood of involvement in an injury collision. Read the full report.

Statistics on travel

The future of travel demand

A new report led by Professor Greg Marsden has found that Britain was the most congested country in western Europe, but also suggested that government assumptions about rising car use were "limited and sometimes wrong".

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Driverless vehicle

Plans unveiled to trial self-driving PODs in Leeds

As part of Leeds Digital Festival, the POD – a driverless four-seated vehicle – came to the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) on 26 April, offering visitors an opportunity to explore the next generation of transport technology. The POD will continue to be on display at ITS until Friday 4 May.

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New UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have announced a new research centre, the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand (UKCRED). The centre will develop and deliver internationally leading research, focusing on energy demand from a systemic, socio-technical perspective. 

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Leeds moves up key ranking for sixth consecutive year

The University of Leeds has climbed up the Complete University Guide once again and secures its position in the top 20. The University has progressed from 32nd in the Complete University Guide 2014, to 13th this year.

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Congestion and Pollution in Delhi (source: NOMAD)
Congestion and Pollution in Delhi (source: NOMAD)

New ESRC research project: urban transportation improvements in India 

Dr Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at the Institute for Transport Studies, and Dr Louise Reardon, Institute of Local Government Studies Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, are leading a new two-year research project on accelerating urban transportation improvements in India.

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PhD student awarded 2018 Piers Sellers Prize for exceptional research

Kate Palmer, PhD student at the Institute for Transport Studies, has been awarded a 2018 Piers Sellers Prize for exceptional PhD research. The prize was judged by the Priestley Centre Management Committee on the basis of one or more high quality publications, research outputs and impact resulting from PhD research.

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Join our Transport Masters Open Day on 4 May

Join us for introductory talks and learn more about our range of Masters courses at the Institute for Transport Studies. You will meet our Programme Leaders and find out about our courses, available funding, scholarships and career prospects. There will also be a chance to speak with current students and visit their Dissertation Poster Session in the Parkinson Building. The event runs from 11:30 to 15:30. Book your place today by filling in our booking form.

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Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition

Professor Greg Marsden, Institute for Transport Studies, and Dr Louise Reardon, University of Birmingham, have co-edited a major new book on how we govern the transition towards a more automated, electric and shared mobility future. Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition considers the real world impact of 'smart' technology in vehicles and how this could provide mobility solutions.

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Alumna Samira Marx Pinheiro wins Voorhees-Large Prize

ITS alumna Samira Marx Pinheiro has won the 2017 Voorhees-Large Prize for her Transport Economics Masters dissertation ‘Estimating fare elasticities in rail demand in Great Britain using Bayesian inference’. The Voorhees-Large Prize, worth £500, is awarded by the Brian Large Bursary Fund in memory of Alan M Voorhees and Brian Large, for the best dissertation submitted by a UK resident studying for a Transport Masters. Samira is now the Director of Concessions in the Minas Gerais' State Secretariat of Transportation and Public Works, responsible for the regulation of PPPs and other long-term public contracts in the transport sector.

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Child near road

Impacts of traffic related air pollution on childhood asthma

New research suggests that up to 38% of all annual childhood asthma cases in Bradford may be caused by air pollution.

The study, led by the University of Leeds, also shows traffic-related air pollution could be specifically responsible for up to 24% of the total number of cases.

An international team of researchers has used a newly developed model to assess the impact exposure to nitrogen oxides – gases that make up air pollution – has on the development of childhood asthma.

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University of Leeds and Transport Systems Catapult announce alliance

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) and the University of Leeds have announced the signing of a ‘Deep Academic Alliance’ agreement which will support the development and implementation of innovative transport technologies in the UK. The new alliance between the TSC and the University of Leeds will support the TSC’s new 5-year academic engagement strategy which aims to ensure that transport innovation (under the banner of “Intelligent Mobility”), is given greater focus in budget planning and allocation within Government (National and Local); through Research Councils, at Universities and across industry.

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Power the smart electric buses of the future

The University of Leeds is part of a new project researching how electric buses can help support the power network by using two directional charging. The ‘Bus2Grid’ project will involve over 30 e-buses using smart technology to provide two-way charging which enables the e-bus batteries to interact with the energy system on UK Power Networks’ London network.

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Professor Natasha Merat contributes to Future Transport report

Professor Natasha Merat contributed to the new London Assembly report, Future Transport, which argues that the uptake of driverless cars could be delayed until the 2030s at the earliest. Professor Merat argues this is due to a number of factors beyond the technology itself, such as "acceptability, trust, uptake, affordability, infrastructure availability, connectivity and so on."

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Talk to a student with Link to Leeds

Link to Leeds offers a fantastic opportunity to talk to some of our current students and find out what it is like to study here. The scheme is open to anyone who is thinking about applying to Leeds and students who have received an offer. It is a chance to learn about the lives of current Leeds students directly, including students studying within the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS).

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New industry mentoring scheme for ITS Masters students

The Institute for Transport Studies has launched a new initiative to offer an industry mentoring scheme for Masters students. The aim of the programme is to link students with a mentor who has volunteered their time to assist in developing career ideas, confidence and employer awareness.

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Mimicking human driving in autonomous vehicles

Researchers from the University of Leeds are contributing to a 30-month autonomous vehicle project that will culminate in the most complex journey yet attempted across the UK without driver input.

The ‘HumanDrive’ project is led by Nissan's European Technical Centre, as a part of Renault-Nissan Alliance research activities, and will include expertise from the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds, to develop driverless vehicle technologies that can deal with varied UK driving scenarios.

Professor Natasha Merat from the Institute for Transport Studies is the principal investigator for the project research based at Leeds. Professor Richard Romano, also from the Institute for Transport studies, will oversee the use of the University of Leeds driving simulator (UoLDS) for HumanDrive research.

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Putting vehicle flow theory into practice

In December, all ITS Masters students were invited to take part in the fourth ITS bumper car challenge in Leeds city centre. They used their knowledge of vehicle flow theory learned in lectures and applied it to this practical experiment. The aim of the experiment was to capture data on traffic flow in a controlled environment and then compare it with the fundamental diagrams for traffic flow on the real road network.

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Human Factors & Safety group hosts L3Pilot project workshop

On 16 and 17 January 2018, members of the Human Factors and Safety group at the Institute for Transport Studies hosted the first joint sub-project workshop for the EU-funded L3Pilot project. The event was attended by 60 experts from industry and academia from partners across Europe.

The L3Pilot project focuses on the large-scale piloting of SAE Level 3 automated driving functions, with additional assessment of some Level 4 functions.

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Roads for the Future competition – making UK roads ready for connected and autonomous vehicles

The National Infrastructure Commission has launched the Roads for the Future competition together with Highways England and Innovate UK. The competition will seek ideas for making the UK road network ready for connected and autonomous vehicles – including using the latest technology.

Entries will be judged by an expert panel, brought together from across industry. Jury members include Professor Natasha Merat, research group leader of the Human Factors and Safety Group at the Institute for Transport Studies. 

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Leeds Civic Trust Seminar: Air quality in Leeds

Leeds City Council has announced proposals to improve air quality in the city. Proposals include the introduction of a Clean Air Zone within the Outer Ring Road with charges for non-compliant buses, HGVs and taxis, together with a number of other proposals to bring the city’s air quality within legal limits by 2020.

Leeds Civic Trust is holding a seminar in the city centre on 7 February, which is open to all members of the public to find out more about these proposals and stimulate discussion. Speakers include Dr James Tate who has been studying urban air pollution for over 20 years, focusing on the impact of car emissions.

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Electric cars cost less over four years than petrol or diesel cars

A team of researchers from the University of Leeds, including Dr James Tate, Dr John Nellthorp and Dr Zia Wadud from ITS and PhD researcher Kate Palmer from the Faculty of Engineering, have led research finding that pure electric cars cost less over four years than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, US and Japan, but China is set to lead the market. 

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Dr Frank Chien Hsun Lai

Colleagues will be very sorry to hear of the death of Dr Frank Lai, who was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS).

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ITS and Seeing Machines explore the human factors of vehicle automation

A new collaborative agreement has been signed between the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds and Seeing Machines, Australia, to explore driver engagement during vehicle automation.

Led by Professor Natasha Merat at ITS and Professor Mike Lenné at Seeing Machines, this partnership will use Seeing Machine’s automotive driver monitoring technology for eye and head tracking, along with other psychophysiological measures such as heart rate, to establish how vehicle automation affects driver engagement in the driving task while engaged in various levels of automated driving.

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New and Emerging Data Forms - Ethical Guidance

The University of Leeds, the EU EMPOWER project and the ESRC HABITS project is hosting a workshop in collaboration with the Cabinet Office on New and Emerging Data Forms - Ethical Guidance at Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds.

The aim of the workshop is to enhance the ethical frameworks to be used in the generation, processing and analysis of new and emerging data types including data generated using new technology such as mobile apps and social media.

The event will take place at 12:30 - 16:00 on 11 December. Register for free by 1 December here.




Leeds to become a partner of the Alan Turing Institute

The University of Leeds will become a partner of The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s prestigious national institute for data science. The work will be led by the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) with contributions from researchers and data scientists across the University. Case studies include Dr Robin Lovelace’s Propensity to Cycle Tool, which is a central part of the delivery of the Government’s Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Strategy to make cycling the natural choice for short trips. The tool, funded by the Department for Transport, helps prioritise investment in transport planning and is widely seen as representing a step-change in planning strategically to increase cycling.

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The lives of cars seen through licensing and test data

Unique analysis of MOT information for 22 million individual cars has enabled a team of academics, led by Professor Jillian Anable, to use mileage, emissions and registered keeper data to map exactly where the highest polluting vehicles are kept. The report is based on outputs from the EPSRC funded MOT Project completed earlier in 2017 and for which Professor Anable was the PI.

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EMPOWER success at CIVITAS Forum 2017

Close to 500 participants convened for the 15th CIVITAS Forum which took place this September in Torres Vedras, Portugal. EMPOWER’s Take-Up City, Bologna, won the CIVITAS Award 2017 in the “Bold Measure” category for their Bella Mossa Campaign. This award is given to a city that adopts a daring and innovative approach that has not been widely implemented yet, and positions the city as a pioneer in certain thematic categories. ITS is the lead partner of EMPOWER, a Horizon 2020 project, and Professor Susan Grant-Muller was among the industry delegates at the CIVITAS Forum.

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Leeds Climathon: Air pollution challenge

This years Climathon will be held at ODI Leeds on 26 and 27 October. Participants will be asked to address the question: 'How can Leeds pioneer clean air solutions to tackle air pollution and become a Clean Air/Low Emission City that improves Leeds for residents, business and visitors?'

Dr James Tate and Dr Carly Reddington from the Priestley International Centre for Climate discuss Climathon in a video. Watch the video on the University of Leeds' Facebook.

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The Metropoly game

The metropoly game is played each year by ITS masters students. Teams of eight split into two groups to travel around West Yorkshire using trains and buses visiting places of interest. Sites range from Bradford City Hall, an architectural gem in the centre of Bradford, to Oakworth Station, part of the Keighley and Worth Valley preserved railway, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park reachable by bus only.

Points are scored for each destination reached and for the amount of the network covered during the game, which runs from 09:15 until 16:00. Extra points are awarded for spotting the world famous Huddersfield station cat, seeing the two roving ITS representatives or travelling on particular services. This year the winning team scored 23,450 points.

See photos from the trip on Twitter using the hashtag #ITSMetropoly @ITSLeeds

ITS at TravelHackII and software events, past and future

Two ITS staff, Dr Robin Lovelace and Dr Ian Philips, attended the TravelHackII event hosted by ODI Leeds.

Robin's hack was Pedal, Park, Cycle: an online toolkit to identify where authorities - and potentially bus operators - should prioritise cycle parking near bus stops to increase public transport use, reduce congestion and increase operating revenues.

A 'repo' with reproducible code demonstrating the method was produced and is available at the code sharing website

Ian's hack was on improving public transport apps. This hackathon follows hot in the footsteps of Robin's course on R for Spatial Analysis, which was a hit with ITS students and PhD students alike.

There are many upcoming opportunities to learn about data science software for spatial analysis and processing large transport datasets.

Transportation Master Plan in Jakarta

Dr Chandra Balijepalli is visiting Indonesia in October 2017 to give a presentation on the development of the MARS model for the Greater Jakarta Transport Authority to students at universities in and around Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

Professor Simon Shepherd (PI) and Dr Chandra Balijepalli (Co-I) developed the MARS model with support from Dr Pauli Pfaffenbichler (TUW) for the Greater Jakarta region which has a population of around 30 million.

The aim of the model is to contribute to the Presidential Decree 103:2015 Transportation Grand Design for Greater Jakarta and thus support the development of Transportation Master Plan. 

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Precarity in housing and employment: a hidden dimension of car dependency

Researchers Dr Caroline Mullen and Professor Greg Marsden at the Institute for Transport Studies, as part of the Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand (DEMAND Centre) have identified relationships between car dependency and housing and employment security.  

A summary of findings is presented in the newly released ‘Research Insight’ from the Demand Centre. 

The research found that where people do not know when or whether they will need to move home or work, they cannot plan travel their patterns. Access to a car then becomes a safety-net for people uncertain what their everyday travel will be in the near future, and those whose everyday travel becomes complex.

Where that safety-net is out of reach, people face lost opportunities for employment and education. Finding ways to break the link between car reliance and insecurity has potential to improve welfare and opportunity, as well as increasing possibilities for a shift away from car dependency. 

Download the summary of findings here.

Learning data science by doing it

University of Leeds MSc students have delivered innovative new transport modelling ideas to an external client, Derbyshire Country Council, in place of traditional written examinations for a taught module.

As a result of this work, the Council is now entering an on-going relationship with the module and bidding for new research funds with Leeds. This success shows how taught modules can be used to deliver pilot studies to prime research bids.

Students from the new Mathematical Transport Modelling MSc in the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds studied ‘Data Science for Transport’ with module manager Dr Charles Fox and course leader Dr Richard Connors.

The new module was designed from conception in collaboration with industry stakeholders, keen to get their potential future employees trained in relevant skills.

Dr Robin Lovelace discusses going Dutch with the Propensity to Cycle Tool

Dr Robin Lovelace, University Academic Fellow at the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) recently presented at the HDT Cafe Scientifique on his paper on the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), which is now part of government policy (Lovelace et al., 2017).

The aim of the event, entitled "Going Dutch? Crunching transport 'big data' for a sustainable world", was to instigate public engagement in science around transport policy.

This event follows Dr James Tate, Associate Professor and Programme Leader for Transport Planning and Environment at ITS, who presented his research on air pollution at the HDT Cafe Scientifique in May 2017.

For further information on CyIPT, a Leeds led follow on project from the PCT visit the CyIPT website. View Dr Lovelace’s presentation slides.



L3Pilot launched: piloting automated driving on European roads

The European project L3Pilot was launched on 13 September in Wolfsburg, home to the project coordinator Volkswagen.

Focusing on large-scale piloting of SAE Level 3 functions, the project brings 1,000 test drivers and 100 vehicles to the roads in 11 European countries. This makes L3Pilot one of the widest reaching projects in Europe.

L3Pilot will test the viability of automated driving as a safe and efficient means of transportation.

The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) team is involved in the project using their expertise to define the methodologies and research questions to be used when testing automated vehicles on the roads. Their main focus is on understanding the human factors, challenges and opportunities of automated vehicles.

Professor Natasha Merat, Chair in Human Factors of Transport Systems at ITS, is the principal investigator for the project at the University of Leeds. She will be working alongside Dr Daryl Hibberd and Dr Tyron Louw from the Human Factors and Safety ITS research group.

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London’s Bus Network report tackles a decline in passenger numbers

The London Assembly Transport Committee report, London’s Bus Network, has found that following a decade of strong growth, bus passenger numbers are now in decline. In the report, Dr Ronghui Liu, Associate Professor and Director of International Activities at ITS and a member of the Transport Committee, calls for a redesign of the bus network based on the feeder/trunk model and improvements to the bus passenger experience with better information and facilities. To read the full report, visit the London Assembly website.





Ranked 4th in the world for transport

The University of Leeds is ranked 4th in the world for transport in ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017 - Transportation Science & Technology. This high position demonstrates the Institute's globally renowned teaching and research. It is the UK's largest and most respected academic centre for transport studies, and is committed to developing the transport leaders of the future through interdisciplinary practice. Visit the ShanghaiRanking website for more information.

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Green light for automated driving

Europe’s largest research project on automated driving has demonstrated how vehicles of the future will negotiate even the most complex of situations, transforming the driving task. The AdaptIVe project has showcased how automated cars and trucks perform in a range of scenarios at low, medium and high speeds, with fundamental implications for the role of humans.

ITS was one of the six research institutes to conduct extensive user studies, exploring how people interact with automated driving systems. The ITS team were involved in shaping the human factors elements of the project, using the University of Leeds Driving Simulator.

Professor Natasha Merat, ITS’ lead researcher for AdaptIVe adds:

“Using the safe and highly controllable simulator environment we were able to study driver response to critical scenarios, using new methods to artificially reduce their perception of the driving scenario and take them ‘out of the loop’. Understanding how drivers return to the loop and resume control from automation, and how their attention is divided between the different vehicle controls and the road, will allow manufacturers to design Human Machine Interfaces for safe and effective interaction between humans and automated vehicles."

The project has culminated with a final event in Aachen, Germany, where an automated truck and eight different classes of automated car were demonstrated in settings ranging from a test track, to garage parking and public roads. AdaptIVe has paved the way for further testing of automated vehicles in real-life traffic and highlighted the role of partnership between the automotive industry and universities in developing and testing user-friendly technology.

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Master Planning in Jakarta

The Institute is developing an innovative approach to help the Indonesian Government test its proposals for new major infrastructure investments.  Professor Simon Shepherd and Dr Chandra Balijepalli have been working with the Greater Jakarta Transport Authority (GJTA) to develop a test-bed for the region using a dynamic land-use transport interaction model (MARS). The model has been used in the initial testing of proposed transport policy options for the city region, such as new mass rapid transit lines and road pricing. Read more.

Health impacts of transport policy

Some urban transport policy measures can lead to positive effects on people’s health, while others have few benefits or can be harmful to public health, a new study has found.  Researchers from ITS and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health have systematically examined the human health impacts of 64 common transport policy measures covering key pathways such as car crashes, air pollution, physical inactivity, and social exclusion.  Published in the Journal of Transport and Health, the study found that a number of policies had the potential for positive health impacts while some impacts were crucially dependent on the measures’ design. Read more.


Interacting with driverless cars

A new European research project is designing new systems to help ensure that driverless cars can share our streets safely with other road users. Over the next three years, the interACT project will develop new concepts to help enable the introduction of automated vehicles (AVs), particularly around how they can operate safely and efficiently alongside manually-driven vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.  Read more.


Unlocking cycling potential

A new online tool is revealing the areas and routes in England that have the greatest potential for cycling. The Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), funded by the Department for Transport, helps prioritise transport investment decisions and is widely seen as representing a step-change in planning strategically to increase cycling. Developed by academics from four UK universities, PCT is highlighted in the new Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Strategy (CWIS) for use in assisting with the preparation of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans - a key feature of the government’s strategy.  Read more.


Prize Winning Paper

A research paper by ITS has been recognised for its exceptional quality by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).  The paper, Transport poverty and its adverse social consequences, co-authored by Professor Karen Lucas, Dr Giulio Mattioli, Alvaro Guzman and Ersilia Verlinghieri, won the ICE Publishing Webb Prize 2017 as ‘best paper on non-road transport engineering’ at the recent awards ceremony. The prize is awarded to authors who have produced work judged by their peers to be of exceptional quality and benefit to the civil engineering, construction and materials science community. Visit the ICE Publishing website for details of all the winning papers.



New ITS research will support the widespread adoption of driverless car by designing them with human-like attributes. The HumanDrive consortium, funded by Innovate UK as part of a government-backed investment programme, aims to build an autonomous vehicle with natural control and path planning by 2020. It will be fully autonomous and capable of completing a lengthy end-to-end journey in a variety of settings, from rural roads to motorways. It will be designed to mimic the style of a proficient human driver, to provide an enhanced experience for the occupants. Read more.


Secretary of State visit

The Secretary of State for Transport visited the Institute to hear about our cutting-edge research, which is helping the sector become more accessible, efficient and productive.  During a visit to officially open the Institute's new £4m building, the Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP met our leading researchers and heard how among other successes ITS research has informed efficiency targets for Network Rail and the safety ratings of cars used by Euro NCAP.  During his keynote speech the Secretary of State emphasised the role that our researchers and graduates will have in shaping mobility systems of the future. Read more.


Transitioning to Plug-ins

New research by Professor Jillian Anable and colleagues at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) examines the timing, scale and impacts of the uptake of plug-in vehicles in the UK car market from a consumer perspective.  The results show the importance of accounting for the varied and segmented nature of the car market, social and environmental factors, as well as considering how different uptake scenarios affect wider lifecycle emissions. Read more.


High Speed Rail Engineering

Professor Peter Woodward has been announced as a new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering at the University of Leeds.   Professor Woodward will be responsible for developing a new Institute for High Speed Rail Engineering at the University, using his expertise in geotechnical engineering to create a world leading research and innovation hub with an emphasis on train-track interaction and infrastructure systems.  The appointment of Professor Woodward comes at an important time in the growth and development of the University and the City. Read more.

Taking London’s roads into the lab

Recently published research has added to the body of evidence about the dangerous levels of air pollution emitted from diesel vehicles.   In a study working with Transport for London (TfL) Dr James Tate compared the emission performance of a range of new (Euro 6/VI) cars, trucks and buses in a testing laboratory. Unlike the standard test required for vehicle manufacture, the configuration of these lab tests more accurately reflected actual driving conditions in London, such as fluctuating vehicle accelerations due to road type and congestion. Read more.  

‘Living Lab’ Competition

To deliver ambitious roll-out plans for international ‘Living Labs’, the EU EMPOWER project has launched a competition to find a final UK-based Living Lab (large scale real-life implementation of positive incentives to reduce the use of conventionally fuelled vehicles).  EMPOWER is now inviting proposals from any City authority, community authority or Corporate organisation to provide a Living Lab Demonstration, with a deadline of 3rd March 2017 for applications.  Read more.

2017 - the year of the electric car?

New research suggests that we might be driving electric vehicles sooner than we think.
The study by Dr Stephen Hall, Professor Simon Shepherd and Dr Zia Wadud explores the potential for new technologies and engineering innovations to help address climate change, air pollution and develop the green economy. In The Innovation Interface report the authors examine how previously isolated sectors can be linked through e-mobility business models. Read more.

Petrol Price Vulnerability

New ITS research by has for the first time mapped which parts of England would struggle most to cope with rising petrol and diesel prices.
Making use of unique data sets the research examined household motoring expenditure, income, and the ability to shift to public transport, to develop a new method of exposing the uneven consequences of continued reliance on fossil fuels.   Dr Giulio Mattioli, Dr Ian Philips and Professor Jillian Anable, together with Dr Tim Chatterton from the University of the West of England used anonymised data from the DVLA and MOT vehicle test records to estimate average household expenditure on motor fuels at the small area level. Read more.

Prize Winning Paper

Research student Fiona Crawford has been awarded the Smeed Prize 2017, which recongnises the best student paper and presentation at the Universities’ Transport Study Group (UTSG) annual conference.

Fiona presented a paper entitled A method for clustering road users based on trip regularity using Bluetooth data, and was commended by the judges for the high quality of both her written and oral presentations of the work.   She is pictured receiving the award from Professor Margaret O’Mahony (Trinity College Dublin, chair of the Smeed judging panel) and Professor John Preston (University of Southampton, acting chair of UTSG).  

Commission on Travel Demand

Professor Greg Marsden chairs new independent panel of experts. 

The Commission on Travel Demand is a newly formed independent group assembled as part of the Research Council UK funded DEMAND Centre. It has been established to bring together the state-of-art in understanding how travel demand is changing and may change in the future, recognising controversies which exist over current forecasting practice. Read more, including a call for evidence

Freedom of movement

Transforming transport planning for social and environmental justice.

A new think-piece by Dr Caroline Mullen is one of two outputs on energy and mobility justice, written by members of the DEMAND Centre.  In Freedom of movement and fairness Dr Mullen argues that to move to a sustainable and just mobility system, we should start from recognition that each and every person matters. Read more

Traffic pollution & childhood asthma

The Children and adolescents exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) have a higher risk of developing asthma, according to a systematic review and large-scale analysis performed by researchers from ITS  and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health . The new study is the largest and most up-to-date review and analysis of current evidence, involving more than 4,000 articles and data from 41 epidemiological studies. Haneen Khreis and co-authors combined data for over a million children in meta-analyses, to confirm that there is a positive association between TRAP exposures and development of childhood asthma. Read more.

£3.9m building investment completes

The 15-month construction phase of the project to transform the Institute’s building has recently completed, with staff and students moving back in from 1st November 2016. Alongside a new two-storey extension, the investment has involved extensive remodelling and refurbishment work to upgrade fixtures and fittings, along with the sensitive restoration of original features. Resulting in an improved learning environment, the investment enables enhanced interactions between the various stakeholders. Creating modern open spaces for these interactions will contribute to the Institute’s ambition to further develop as a hub for inter-disciplinary learning. View photos.

Buses and social deprivation

New ground-breaking research by ITS and KPMG has quantified for the first time the relationship between bus services and social deprivation. The Value of the Bus to Society report, commissioned by Greener Journeys, demonstrates the role that buses have in helping to reduce social deprivation in the UK, where 1 in 4 people is at risk of social exclusion, and 1 in 4 people do not have access to a car. It reveals that improving bus services boosts jobs and income for UK’s poorest people.  Read more.

University of the Year 2017

The University of Leeds has been named University of the Year 2017 by The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide. Chosen by a distinguished panel, the Guide showcases the excellent student experience at Leeds. The award follows another year of exceptional student satisfaction levels.  Read more.

New Institute Director

Professor Richard Batley has taken up his appointment as the new Director of the Institute.
Richard is an ITS alumnus with a 20 year association with the University of Leeds. Having completed his Masters and PhD he joined the staff of the University as a Research Officer and has progressed on a research and innovation track, culminating in his promotion to Professor of Transport Demand and Valuation. Read more.

Rail Franchising - Evidence to Parliament

Dr Andrew Smith was one of three academic experts invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee inquiry into rail franchising. The Transport Committee is examining the UK rail passenger market and the extent to which franchising has enabled efficiencies and cost improvements in the sector. It is also scrutinising the level of competition in passenger rail and the future role of open-access operators. Read more

ICTTP Best Young Scientist Award

ITS researcher Tyron Louw won the Best Young Scientist Award at the International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology (ICTTP) held in Brisbane, Australia in August 2016.

The award recognises the role that early career researchers play in shaping the next generation of road safety and transportation research and practice. Read more

WCTR Jules Dupuit Prize

Professor Tony May was awarded the Jules Dupuit Prize of the World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) at the WCTR14 Conference held in Shanghai.  The Prize is the highest award made by the WCTR Society, and was made in recognition of Tony May's contribution to the development of transport research, particularly related to urban transport policy, and of his contribution to the work of the Society, for which he served as President from 2007 to 2013.  The Prize is named after the 19th Century French Engineer who made seminal contributions to the development of both transport engineering and transport economics. Read more.  

Industry and academia – working together to teach tomorrow’s transport leaders

Following close consultation with industry, the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds has realigned its suite of Masters courses to meet industry needs.

Graduates will combine their studies of cutting-edge, research-based theory with a new integrated project, working in teams with colleagues from other transport disciplines to gain an understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of transport, and the collaborative working practices that operate in today’s transport sector. Read more

Report cover

Travel Behaviour Response to Major Transport System Disruptions

Research work conducted by academics at the Institute for Transport Studies and the University of Glasgow was recently showcased at the International Transport Forum OECD Council of Ministers conference in Leipzig. The work, drawing on real-time investigations and survey data regarding behavioural responses during major weather events and following the enforced closure of the Forth Road Bridge in late 2015 formed a discussion paper as part of the background materials for a closed Ministerial Session on response to disruption. The Key findings from the report are set out below. Read more

HS2 and the railway network:  the need for a review

Professor Tony May (ITS) and Professor Richard Allsop (University College London) have released a report on HS2 and the railway network.

High Speed 2 (HS2) has been promoted as a means of improving rail capacity and connectivity between London and the North of England, rebalancing the UK economy and increasing sustainability. However: 

  • while HS2 does add to rail capacity, there are much less costly and environmentally damaging ways of doing so;
  • HS2 provides only limited improvements to connectivity, and will worsen London services for several cities, as well as many cross-country journeys;
  • HS2’s wider economic benefits for the North are at best uncertain, and London may well be the principal beneficiary;
  • HS2 contributes nothing to the objective of reducing carbon emissions from transport.  Read more
Driving Sim dashboard

In the fast lane: Why we steer the way we do

A research paper by Georgios Kountouriotis, Callum Mole, Natasha Merat, and Richard Wilkie, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, sheds light on how our brains process what we see when at the wheel, as well as giving important insights into why animals take particular paths of travel.  In the research project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, researchers from Leeds’ School of Psychology and the Institute for Transport Studies used a virtual reality experiment to test whether human steering in a driving simulator was influenced by visual speed signals.  Read more about this research at the university website and in the media.  For further information contact Dr Richard Wilkie

PhD student Segun Aluko

UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society 

At the UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society annual conference held in the Shard, London on April 14th -15th PhD student Segun Aluko won the best student paper prize worth £250 for his paper entitled : “A Model for the Evaluation of Transport Safety Policies in Commercial Motorcycle Operation in Nigeria.”  This was presented by his supervisor Dr Astrid Guehnemann and can be viewed on YouTube and the presentation can be downloaded via the System Dynamics Society website.   Read more


Breaking the Link - disruptive behaviour

The findings from the Institute's recent study of travel disruption have been reported in the Carnegie UK Trust publication ‘Breaking the Link’.  Two studies looked at the impact of the recent closure of the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland including surveys of residents and, in the ITS study, travellers as well.  The ITS study surveyed close to 1,400 individuals and the Carnegie Trust 500.  Key findings from the ITS work include: (1)  a 12% reduction in the number of days people travelled to work overall; (2) The main mode shift during the closure was to rail with 42% of car users shifted to rail, 46% of bus/coach users and 43% of other; (3) 8% of travellers reported being not at all or very unlikely to return to their previous frequency of travel; (4) 7% reported being not at all or very unlikely to return to the previous timing of travel; and (5) 6% reported being not at all or very unlikely to return to the previous mode of travel. The ITS study was funded by the ESRC’s Impact Acceleration scheme for publication in April 2016. For further information please contact Jeremy Shires.    
Read more about travel disruption.

ecoDriver car

Using eco-driving support systems in real conditions brings energy saving of up to 6%

After over 4 years of activities, the European project ecoDriver released its first results during the final event in Stuttgart on 16 March. The project trials have involved 170 drivers in 7 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and UK) both in controlled and naturalistic environments testing 9 different eco-driving support systems.Despite minor variations in terms of percentage, overall the findings showed that, across all the systems, reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 have an average of 4.2% with the highest saving (5.8%) on rural roads. Embedded systems (the more elaborate systems, closely linked to the vehicle) were more effective than nomadic systems with fuel savings up to 6% (against an average 2.5% for the App). Read more about ecoDriver.

Research into self-driving cars

Advancements in driver assistance systems has gathered pace over the last 40 years. Most cars now come with automated features as standard, including anti-lock brake systems, cruise control and collision avoidance. Now, the focus is on self-driving technology. Leeds is a leader in this field of research. Academics in ITS are researching safety, human factors and the effects this technology may have on our environment. For a full article on this topic see the University website. A video on the use of the Leeds driving simulator in research on self-driving technology is available at:

ISA featured in film

A new film from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), featuring Professor Oliver Carsten, makes the case for making intelligent speed assistance (ISA) which can be overridden a standard feature on all new vehicles in Europe.

The world is changing. Transport, too

An ITS team contributed to a major new report for the EU Parliament on future transport trends. The title is: “The world is changing. Transport, too” and was prepared for European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Greg Marsden, Giulio Mattioli, Anthony Whiteing, Ian Jones, Magda Cepeda Zorrilla, Peter Atkinson, Kate Palmer, Holly Edwards, Zia Wadud, and Julian Burkinshaw described new trends and impacts in the transport system.

Ideas for this report partly originated in the DEMAND project, in which the team is involved.

The report shows that mobility needs and patterns evolve, new transport services/systems emerge, and transportation technologies aim to become more environmentally-efficient. This transformation challenges the existing transport sector's structure and governance and calls for major changes in the regulatory framework. Whilst there is a strong emphasis in the field on transformations in mobility systems many of these take time to become mainstream and for existing investments to be replaced. There will, in whatever transport future we face, be very significant shifts in demand for travel within the EU as a result of the following five factors:

  • Population growth and immigration;
  • Migration and urbanisation;
  • Changing nature of work and employment market participation;
  • Income growth; and
  • Rapid change in mobile technologies

The report explores these factors in more detail and the transport mobility options. The report can be downloaded here.

Millennials on the move in the UK, US and Australia

In January 2016, Dr Alexa Delbosc spent two weeks visiting ITS Leeds from ITS Monash in Melbourne Australia. Alexa is a leading researcher on the changing mobility of the millennial generation in Australia. This topic has recently gained much attention in the developed world as millennials are taking longer to get a driving license, driving less and using public transport more than previous generations of young people.

During her visit, Alexa has been collaborating with Prof Karen Lucas and Prof Noreen McDonald. She summarised the state of research into millennials at the first ITS Research Seminar Series for 2016. Karen, Noreen and Alexa have begun to compare the changing travel habits of millennials in the UK, US and Australia and will continue this research after Alexa's return to Australia. A comparative analysis will highlight the impact of land-use, density and city size on auto-mobility and public transport use of young adults.

This work will also be shared in an upcoming special session on young people's travel behaviours and life choices to be held at the World Conference of Transport Research in July. In the meantime, if you're interested in the travel behaviour of young adults feel free to contact Alexa at alexa.delbosc(at)

Vehicle Emissions - Evidence to Parliament  

Following the Volkswagen emissions scandal, a House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry was undertaken on emissions testing and vehicle type approval.
As one of the three experts invited to Parliament, Dr James Tate gave evidence based on the findings of his research on exhaust emissions.   The session focused on emissions testing and the transition from the current New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) to the Real Driving Emissions test – the European Commission's proposals for taking emissions testing out of the labs and onto the roads.  Dr Tate said: “If we are doing on-the-road real driving emission testing, there is a real opportunity for that information to be made more transparent so that people can check it. It would also be a powerful resource for research and policy making.”  The evidence to the Transport Committee is available via the following links: video and transcript





Chair in Transport and Energy

The Institute is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Jillian Anable to a Chair in Transport and Energy, from January 2016. Jillian joins ITS as a key figure in the debate pm decarbonizing transport and the challenges associated with developing effective policy for behavioural transitions. Commenting on the appointment, Professor Greg Marsden, Institute Director said:   “Jillian is a recognised leader in the transport and energy debate and will be a major addition to the critical mass of energy research underway at Leeds as well as broadening our team looking at behaviour change.”   Read more



Adapting to Disruption

Professor Greg Marsden reflects on transport disruption and resilience. As well as turning to the engineering solution to issues of transport resilience we should also heed the social adaptation lessons of disruptive events and make it easier for people to be more multi-modal more of the time. As a society we will be more resilient to a range of problems if we foster a future where everyone is a little less dependent on their cars and a little better equipped to manage without them, at least some of the time (

Read more



China-UK Engineering School

The Institute is playing a key role in a pioneering new school, being formed between the University of Leeds and China's Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU).  The Joint School, which has been endorsed by the Prime Minister David Cameron, will offer a unique UK-Chinese engineering curriculum and is the first overseas school to be set up by the University.  Four undergraduate degree (BEng) programmes will be offered initially, with ITS developing and delivering a new BEng Civil Engineering with Transport programme. Read more.

Richard Romano and Gustav Markkula



Richard Romano & Gustav Markkula

The Institute is pleased to announce the recent appointment of two leading academics in the field of driver behaviour and driving simulation. Joining the Institute’s Safety and Technology Group, Professor Richard Romano and Dr Gustav Markkula will primarily contribute to the research direction and activities of the University of Leeds Driving Simulator and lead the driving simulation work on the Programme for Simulation (PSi) project, one of the Institute’s largest research programmes, jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Read more



The brave new world of driverless cars, television interview with Oliver Carsten

As the technology gathers speed world experts have converged on Adelaide to answer some of those burning questions at the International Driverless Cars Conference on 5 and 6 November 2015.
When will it happen, who pays in the event of a crash and will they spell the end of traffic infringements. TodayTonight spoke with transport safety expert professor Oliver Carsten.

Read more



University to develop robots to repair potholes

The University of Leeds is leading a pioneering £4.2m national infrastructure research project with the vision of creating self-repairing cities.

Read more




Building Cars Live

Research on the human factors of vehicle automation, by Dr Natasha Merat and her team in the Safety & Technology Group at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, was recently featured on the BBC's programme Building Cars Live.

Please follow this link

Diesel cars emit more toxic pollution

“It is crackers,” said emissions expert James Tate. His own research, which uses roadside equipment to measure passing traffic, also shows the latest diesel models cars produce at least as much NOx as far heavier buses and trucks.

Read the article in the Guardian of 21 October

Read more about James Tate's research

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Eight ITS staff contributed to a new Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy published by Edward Elgar in September. Edited by Chris Nash, it contains twenty one chapters by experts from around the world, grouped into sections on costs, externalities, demand, pricing and investment, deregulation and privatisation and transport policy impacts.

Read more

Measuring African Vehicle Emissions

Researchers at Leeds have loaned a next generation vehicle emissions measurement system to Andriannah Mbandi, PhD at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, to help support on-going work to collect real?world emissions and fuel consumption data for vehicles in Africa. The parSYNC® is a low-cost, light-weight, small footprint system, that is being developed and validated as part of the parSYNC Research Project, an international partnership led by US based company 3DATX. Dr Karl Ropkins, Leeds lead on the project, described this as ‘Not just an opportunity to collect much needed environmental data sooner rather than later, but also a chance to demonstrate the system’s potential for rapid deployment in the type of remote and harsh environment that would significantly challenge the current generation of commercial vehicle emissions measurement technologies.’  

Read more

Implications of the VW scandal

Implications of the VW scandal: studies on the exhaust emissions at the Institute for Transport Studies

Read more

Travel costs increase exclusion 

Low-income households in urban areas can be at risk of social exclusion due to unaffordable travel costs, according to Dr Karen Lucas recent study of the relationship between transport poverty and social disadvantage.  Dr Lucas explored ways to incorporate the issues of transport-related social exclusion into the transport models used at national and local level. Based on national travel survey data, the study shows that people on low incomes make shorter and fewer trips than average income earners.  “At a national level, it was clear that low-income groups were forgoing discretionary trips – for example, visiting their family and friends – which are arguably the trips that are most important for maintaining their social support mechanisms” says Dr Lucas.   Read more.

Sustainable Transportation 

A new book co-authored by Institute Director Professor Greg Marsden prompts readers to consider whether many existing approaches to sustainable transport are truly effective. Sustainable Transportation: Indicators Frameworks and Performance Management is the culmination of several years work with co-authors Henrik Gudmundsson, Ralph Hall and Joe Zietsman.  Written for students, academics and practitioners, it combines theory on sustainability and transportation governance with case studies from pioneering practices.   The book provides a key resource for how information should be used to inform decision -making, thus providing a holistic sustainability perspective whatever the scale and remit of an organisation. Read more.

Reliance on Motorized Modes  

Most people in England could not get work without motorised modes of transport, according to a study by Dr Ian Philips. The research modelled the capacity of individuals to complete journeys by walking or cycling in the event of a fuel shock. The research found that capacity varies significantly depending on location – both at the district level and within districts. It provides a clear indication of the characteristics of areas most and least reliant on motorised transport. The research has implications for both local and national transport policy-makers and allows the effects of various policies to be tested. Read more.

Academic Fellowships 

The University of Leeds’ biggest ever recruitment of academics continues with exciting new opportunities to join the Institute for Transport Studies. The University is recruiting up to 250 exceptional early career academics to tenure track Academic Fellowships by 2017. 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 Leeds.   Applications are invited to four of ITS’ core research themes:
- Economics of Network Industries  
- Freight & Logistics
- Transport & Big Data
- Transport & Health
Read more via the dedicated website:

XCYCLE - fairer, safer cycling 

The Institute’s expertise in road safety is contributing to a new European project to make our roads a better place for cyclists. In contrast to other broadly positive trends in road safety, cyclists in many countries remain a stable or growing share of serious traffic accidents, at a rate 7-9 times higher than car travel. Around 2000 European cyclists are killed every year, with a significant proportion involving collisions with vehicles at junctions.  Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, a key objective of the XCYCLE research project is to develop technologies to equalise the treatment of cyclists in traffic, thus both encouraging cycling and making cycling safer. This will involve creating systems for active and passive detection of cyclists, informing drivers and cyclists of hazards at junctions, and presenting information in vehicles. The effectiveness of the innovations will be tested in real-life operating conditions.   Read more.

Interoperable Railway Infrastructure 

The Institute is a key partner in a new €5.4M research project which seeks to secure the future for Europe’s lesser used railway lines, by making them more reliable and economically viable. The application of new technologies, alongside better assessment of the economic value of railway lines (such as value the jobs they provide access to) is the focus of the Needs Tailored Interoperable Railway Infrastructure (NeTIRail-INFRA) project.   Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, the project brings together companies and universities from eight countries. Read more.

City Devolution - with Sir Peter Hendy 

Sir Peter Hendy delivered a talk on ‘City Devolution - opportunities and challenges for effective transport policy’ as part of the events marking his award of an honorary degree from the University of Leeds.  As MPs, policy makers and academics debate the devolution of powers from Whitehall and the creation of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the new chair of Network Rail shared his experiences of 15 years of devolution and transport progress in London, and what other UK cities might do to make the most of devolved powers. Read more.

EMPOWERing sustainability

A new €4.89 million international collaboration is set to reduce our cities’ reliance on conventionally fuelled vehicles. The EMPOWER research project will create a set of new tools to influence the mobility choices and behaviour of drivers, using positive incentives delivered through smart technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the three-year project will use individual mobility profiling in eleven ‘living labs’ across Europe as part of ambitious roll-out plans. Consortium leader Dr Susan Grant-Muller, together with Co-investigator Ms Frances Hodgson, from the University of Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies, heads the international collaboration of 12 Universities, Research Institutes, City Authorities and SMEs. Read more.

Public pound vs political capital

A new report for the RAC Foundation by Tom Worsley and Peter Mackie explores the tensions between transport policy, the appraisal process, and decision-making. The report considers transport policy as articulated at two levels – policy goals, such as contributing to economic performance; and policy levers used to attain these goals, such as pricing, regulation, and investment.  The authors address the principal challenges to transport policy formulation, encompassing political, economic and institutional changes. Read the report.

Transport Economics Prize Winner

Research student Chris Leahy has won the best research paper competition for young researchers, organized by the International Journal of Transport Economics (IJTE).  He received the honour, together with the €1,000 prize, from Editor Professor Enrico Musso at the IJTE annual lecture in Genoa, Italy. The paper ‘The development of an improved microeconomic framework for transportation reliability’ will be published in IJTE later in the year.   

Frank Montgomery (L) receives CIHT award

Certificate of Merit

Frank Montgomery’s long-standing contribution to the transport sector has been recognized via an award from the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).   The Certificate of Merit reflects his ‘enormous contribution to CIHT’ at branch and at national level since 1997.  Frank was a lecturer and senior lecturer at ITS from 1985 until retirement in 2013, and led the relationship with the CIHT. He is well known to many generations of ITS staff and alumni, having taught students in Indonesia, Rwanda, Thailand and Dubai as well as in Leeds. Read more.

Flexi-mobility: unlocking low carbon futures 

Professor Greg Marsden explains the 'flexi-mobility' concept in an interview – namely how a genuinely multi-modal approach, harnessing the sharing economy, could help address entrenched problems caused by existing approaches to mobility. Forming part of the Unlocking Low Carbon Travel project, the concept is explored further in a Green Paper which is available for download via

Award for Outstanding Contribution

Dr Karen Lucas, the Institute’s Director of Research & Innovation, has been awarded the 2015 Edward L. Ullman Award for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation geography. Conferred by the Transportation Geography Speciality Group of the Association of American Geographers (AoAG), the award reflects Dr Lucas' significant contributions in the area of transport-related social exclusion, having worked with numerous governments, both locally and nationally, to develop policies to help alleviate transport disadvantage and social inequalities. Read more.

White Rose DTC

Planning for Impact Conference

Research students from across the Institute will be chairing sessions at the first White Rose Planning Pathway Conference on 19th May 2015.
Organised via the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre, the event brings together postgraduates from a range of disciplines to showcase their work and its envisaged impact. Alongside workshops and poster displays, external speakers including Julian Dobson of Urban Pollinators, will discuss the wider socio-economic impacts of academic research.  The sessions led by ITS research students will cover topics ranging from policy governance and mobility, through to energy and new technologies. Read more.   

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.   

18 December 2013
CH4LLENGE sustainable mobility

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.

9 December 2013
TRB award Stephane Hess

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.

19 November 2013
Road Safety Week

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.

29 October 2013
Values of travel time

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.

22 October 2013
Evidence to Transport Select Committee on Winter Disruption

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.


17 October 2013
Rawia El Rashidy

'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.



6 October 2013
Transport Curriculum

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.

23 September 2013
The Forge

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. 

24 July 2013
Techno Scholarships

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

1 July 2013
Transport Appraisal

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.

13 June 2013
Behavioural Adaptation and Road Safety

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).

20 May 2013
Investors in People

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.

13 May 2013
Karen Lucas joins ITS

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.

3 May 2013
Emissions monitoring

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.

25 April 2013
Emissions monitoring

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

18 April 2013
Budget day 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.

21 March 2013
Budget day 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.

25 February 2013
ITS In the news

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.

28 January 2013
ITS In the news

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

22 January 2013
Chinese delegation to ITS

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.

23 November 2012
Chinese delegation to ITS

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

16 November 2012
Chinese delegation to ITS

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

24 October 2012
Job satisfaction - transport sector

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

9 October 2012
TECHNO project

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

5 October 2012
Automated car

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

25 September 2012
The Independent

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 

10 September 2012
Leadership Chair

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.  

8 August 2012
Prof. Andrew Daly

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).   

24 July 2012
Prof. Andrew Daly

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.

18 June 2012
Leanne Farrow CIHT

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

24 April 2012
PhD medals

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.

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