Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister
Chapter 44: Understanding process: can transport research come to terms with temporality?
In many different ways the chapters in this book highlight the reciprocal relations of transport with material landscapes, economic systems, social structures and cultures. The contributions acknowledge the dynamic character of those relations, and some explicitly examine changes over time in them. Evidently, then, that thinking about transport and development must be framed in terms of temporality, or as irreversible processes with directionality in which past, present and future are implicated (Adam, 2008). As a topic, temporality thus defined has always been at the heart of transport analysis. After all, the point of the predict-and-provide approach to transport planning that emerged after World War II across the Global North was to facilitate the expansion of car use and the infrastructures facilitating this (Owens, 1995). Additionally, the current commitment to sustainable and low-carbon mobility is all about academics contributing to systemic change in existing transport systems in light of concerns over climate change, energy security and social injustice (Givoni and Banister, 2013). Examples of more specific events in the history of transport analysis that attest to the importance of temporality include the emergence of the first studies of induced demand (Downs, 1962; Goodwin, 1996), individuals’ travel habits (Goodwin, 1977; Banister, 1978) and, more recently, adaptation to climate change (Changdon, 1996; Jonkeren, 2009). There has, however, been little critical reflection on how process itself has been thought and practised in the transport research community.
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