Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Visioning Transport Futures

What sort of transport futures do we want?

Traditional methods of thinking about the future of transport just bring us more of the same. Even when the term vision is used, it is typically as a simple aspiration for the future rather than a full-rounded picture of what transport and society might be like. If we want the future to be substantially better than the present we need to use our imaginations.

Our research examines how we might use imagination to construct better futures.

Our recent project (VISIONS2030) has an interactive website for imagining better futures.

Visioning addresses the following research questions:

  • What would desirable future transport systems look like?
  • What types of society might support such futures and how might we achieve them?
  • What would mobility be like in such futures?
  • How plausible are these futures in terms of their completeness and internal self-consistency?
  • How do we make a judgment that a particular future is better than the present?
  • How might evidence from other locations and times be used to justify our images of the future?

Our research covers, and links together, a wide variety of disciplines such as:

  • aesthetics
  • narratology
  • political theory
  • semiotics
  • mathematical modelling
  • philosophy
  • probability theory

Collaborations in any of these areas are highly welcome.

Recent research outputs:

Timms, P., Tight, M., and Watling, D. (2013) Imagineering mobility: constructing utopias for future urban transport. Environment and Planning A, in press.

Timms, P., Tight, M., and Watling, D. (2013) Visions and pathways for achieving radically different urban walking and cycling futures in the UK. Paper presented at the 13th World Conference on Transport Research, Rio de Janeiro.

For further information, please contact: Dr Paul Timms or Professor David Watling