Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Research Project: Transport Poverty and Social Exclusion

Travel costs increase the social exclusion of people on low incomes.

This research was undertaken as part of a Mid-Career Fellowship Award funded to Dr Karen Lucas by the ESRC. The three-year programme of research was designed to enhance understanding of the use and development of transport models in the social sciences.

Aims and objectives

The core objectives for the fellowship programme were to:

  • Examine and reflect the value of applying different core socio-theoretical perspectives of transport poverty within the main transport modelling approaches which are currently being used by decision-makers;
  • Offer new insights on how to incorporate the multiple dimensions of transport poverty and the social consequences within transport models;
  • Identify the nature, extent and intensity of transport poverty in relation to different social groups and settlement types through a targeted empirical study;
  • Identify the likely social and distributional impacts of a range of local transport interventions through the operationalization of hybrid modelled understandings of the interactions between transport poverty and social disadvantage; and
  • Communicate the outcome of these modelled exercises to both the academic community and the national and local decision-makers who have an influence on the supply of public transport within the UK.


  • News item in ESRC Society Now magazine page 6
  • Three working papers were produced

  • Two research papers for publication are currently under review with international journals and should become available in 2015/16
  • A technical report for the Merseyside study can be made available on request
  • A briefing note for policy makers can be made available on request.
  • Three international short study exchange visits were undertaken as part of the Marie Curie funded Transport and Social Exclusion: New Directions and National Comparisons programme TranSCENDaNC

A leading European network programme was created – see TEA COST project

For further information, please contact: Dr Karen Lucas.