Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Professor Greg Marsden

Professor of Transport Governance

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 35358
Room: 1.01
Research Group: Social and Political Sciences

Twitter: @drgregmarsden

Key Research Interests

My principal research interests are:

  • The impact of governance structures and institutions on decision-making
  • End user energy demand reduction through innovative transport policies
  • Assessment of the sustainability of transport from local to international scales
  • The role of information (indicators, appraisal systems and targets) on the dynamics of public policy decision-making
  • Evaluation of policy interventions

Employment History

  • 2005 to date Senior Lecturer, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 2003 to 2005 Lecturer, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 2001-2003 Seconded as Committee Specialist, House of Commons Transport Select Committee
  • 2002-2003 Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton
  • 1997-2002 Research Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton


  • MEng Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, 1994 (1st Class Hons)
  • PhD, University of Nottingham, 1998 (Urban pollution estimation)
  • PGCLTHE, University of Leeds, 2007

Professional Engagements

  • 2003 to 2008 Advisor to House of Commons Transport Select Committee
  • 2004 to 2007 UK Ambassador for Association for European Transport
  • 2004 to date Member of the Independent Transport Commission
  • 2005 to 2010 Member of EPSRC College
  • 2008 to 2011 Research Sub-Committee Co-Chair, TRB Performance Measurement Committee
  • 2011 to date Editor - Journal of Transport Policy
  • 2012 to date Member of ESRC College

Research Projects and Experience

  • DEMAND - The Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand Sponsor - RCUK

    This 5 year research centre began in May 2013 and is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaboration as part of the RCUK end user energy demand reduction programme. We lack a sophisticated understanding of how these trends take hold and of the underlying dynamics of demand itself. The DEMAND Centre takes this problem as its central challenge, contributing directly to the objectives of the call by focusing on what energy is for.

    The research approach suggests that energy demand is about more than the public acceptance of new technology, and more than the supply-oriented steering of transition pathways, as described by sociotechnical models of innovation. If we are to understand the fundamental dynamics of demand and engage with related issues of justice, need and entitlement we have to develop a more thoroughly integrated account of the relation between technological provision and social practice, and of the spatial and temporal ordering of end uses. For example, knowing how end use practices vary, when and where they occur, and how and why they change over time is crucial if carbon reduction policies involving real time management or the decentralisation of supply are to have any chance of success. In taking this approach we move into new territory, redefining the problem of energy demand and the range of possible solutions. The DEMAND Centre’s programme therefore represents a step change in how problems of end use and energy demand are conceptualised and tackled. The DEMAND Centre is led out of the University of Lancaster by Prof. Elizabeth Shove (

  • DISRUPTION -new approaches to low carbon energy demand reduction policies
    Sponsor - EPSRC

    This 3 year project commenced in September 2011 and is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaboration as part of the RCUK energy programme. Dr Marsden is the PI for the project. The research will study at close hand how disruption affects the real choices people make, and what this teaches us about the opportunities to change travel practices at individual level and within families; in organisations that generate travel demand and impact on our own individual travel decision-making; and within government where policy that determines our travel opportunities is made. The project then brings together the different social actors, both 'lay' and 'expert' in a number of forums where they have the opportunity to 'deliberate' the different issues that will emerge throughout the research, and challenge each other about what needs to be done to capture the opportunities for change.

  • The Forge - social science research capacity building network for transport, travel and mobilities
    Sponsor - ESRC

    The Forge is a network of social science researchers interested in novel ways of conceptualising and analysing transport and travel. Its key objectives are to integrate transport researchers - often isolated in areas of applied research - in wider communities of social science/social theory; promote substantive and critical discussion around topics relating to transport, travel and mobility from a range of social scientific perspectives; and to develop a self-sustaining network of researchers in transport, travel and mobilities research that will provide a step-change in the research capacity of the community.

  • Multi-level Governance, Transport Policy and Carbon Emissions Management: Accountability and Efficacy in Policy-Making and Outcomes
    Sponsor - ESRC

    The primary objective of the project was to deliver theoretically-informed policy-relevant research by investigating the topic of carbon management within transport policy through the analytical lens of multi-level governance. It achieves this by: mapping the changing structures and processes of multi-level governance in the transport and interacting sectors over time (1980s to present); identifying the distribution of legal, informational, political, constitutional and organisational resources in the relevant policy networks, and the distinct formal and informal governing arrangements that have been developed in different parts of the UK. These theoretical understandings will be tested through a series of deliberative events with the general public and experts, to inform theories and models of multi-level governance. Lessons have been drawn across time and space to inform the policy process, the design of formal institutions and the distribution of powers, incentives and sanctions. The project is in partnership with the University of Sheffield, Lund University and the University of Glasgow.

  • Competitive Cities - Sponsor: EPSRC

    This project seeks to understand the interaction between city to city competition and fiscal demand management policies by developing new research tools capable of analysing key system design and user response issues in a range of governance environments. My part of the research programme is looking at Public Choice Theory and Tax Competition and developing an understanding of key actor strategies through interviews and scenario work. Research is in collaboration with colleagues in the Modelling group. June 2010 to September -2013

  • Understanding Public Attitudes to Climate Change and the Links to Travel Choice - Sponsor: Department for Transport

    The project aims to understand what the public knows about climate change and the contribution that transport makes. The study involved a series of deliberative events with five groups around England. Participants are completing a series of travel diaries and attitudinal questionnaires as well as choosing what information they most need to become better informed. The project traced the impact of the information on the behaviour of the participants and was managed by People, Science and Policy. (£175,000) Complete August 2008.

  • Good Practice in the Exploitation of Innovations in Sustainable Urban Transport - Sponsor: Volvo Research Foundation

    The project investigated why innovative policies to promote sustainable transport take so long to transfer between cities and for research to transfer from academia to practice. The research, joint with UC Berkeley, has explored the literature surrounding policy transfer and its application to transport. Interviews with 11 cities in North Europe and North America have been conducted to shed light on the process, constraints and opportunities for policy transfer. Completed May 2009

  • Improved indicators for sustainable transport planning- Sponsor: EPSRC

    Research as part of a wider multi-disciplinary project to examine the robustness of current data sources for use in target setting and project evaluation., (£125,000). Completed March 2008

  • Optimal incentive structures for integrated transport strategies- Sponsor: EPSRC

    A game-theoretic exploration of the responses of local transport planners to targets and financial settlements linked to performance against those targets (£119,977). First Grant Scheme Completed October 2007.


  • Module leader for Transport Planning and Policy Masters course
  • Module leader for Sustainable Transport and Land-Use Planning Masters course

I have a Post Graduate Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

PhD Research Topics

I am happy to consider supervising research projects in a range of areas related to transport policy formulation and implementation from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. In particular I would welcome applications on:

  • The transfer of policies at a city, regional or international scale
  • The political discourse of transport policy versus the implementation of policy
  • The impacts of governance on policy implementation
  • Creating effective low carbon strategies



  • Marsden G; Reardon L (2018) Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition, Emerald Points, Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Gudmundsson H; Hall RP; Marsden G; Zietsman J (2015) Sustainable Transportation Indicators, Frameworks, and Performance Management, Springer.
  • Bache POPI; Bartle I; Marsden G; Flinders M (2015) Multilevel Governance and Climate Change Insights from Transport Policy, Rowman & Littlefield International.
  • Marsden GR (2006) Wasted Miles, Wasted Money: A less congested, more energy efficient future, CICC Publications.
  • Marsden GR; Lyons G; Beecroft M; Chatterjee K (2002) Vehicles and infrastructure, Landor, pp.91, February, ISBN 1 899650 28 8.
  • Chatterjee K; Beecroft M; Lyons G; Marsden GR (2001) Land use planning, Landor, pp.79, October.
  • Lyons G; Marsden GR; Beecroft M; Chatterjee K (2001) Transportation requirements, Landor, pp.86, May, ISBN 1 899650 261.
  • Lyons G; Chatterjee K; Marsden GR; Beecroft M (2000) Society and lifestyles, Landor, pp.80, October, .

Book Chapters


Conference Papers

Other Publications

  • Marsden GR (2002) The multi-modal studies: how they all add up, .
  • Wootton J; Marsden GR (2001) The local transport plan submissions. Report for the RAC foundation, .
  • Marsden GR (1998) Towards a real-time road traffic pollution estimator, .

Search site