Table of Contents

Handbook on Transport and Development

Handbook on Transport and Development

Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister

This Handbook provides an extensive overview of the relationships between transport and development. With 45 chapters from leading international authors, the book is organised in three main parts: urban structure and travel; transport and spatial impacts; and wider dimensions in transport and development. The chapters each present commentary on key issues within these themes, presenting the debate on the impacts of urban structure on travel, the impacts of transport investment on development, and social and cultural change on travel. A multitude of angles are considered – leaving the reader with a comprehensive and critical understanding of the field.

Chapter 27: Incomes, accessibility and transport poverty

Gordon Stokes

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, environmental economics, transport, environment, environmental economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Transport poverty is a notion that is difficult to define, and one that has been controversial in terms of whether a ‘real’ issue exists. The concept is based around the idea that low incomes and poor accessibility can lead to disproportionate spending on transport to access basic services, or lead to suppression of some trips. This chapter draws on analysis of travel behaviour and spending on transport in the United Kingdom, but the conclusion that a combination of low incomes and distance from basic services and opportunities can lead to real problems can be applied in most countries. The chapter looks first at previous literature on social issues in transport and accessibility, followed by analyses of how simple measures of travel behaviour and accessibility vary with income and other factors. Transport need, transport poverty and transport wealth are then discussed, followed by a short discussion of how transport and development planning can help to lessen inequalities. Those on lower incomes are much less likely to own cars, more likely to travel less and more likely to walk as their main mode of travel. There is evidence that where other transport alternatives do not exist, those on lower incomes buy cars out of ‘necessity’ where if alternatives were better, they would not. For those in the lowest incomes in rural areas, upwards of 30 per cent of all income is spent on travel, the bulk of which is on car travel.

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