Given the increasing pressure on the transport system to become more 'sustainable' in response to environmental and social needs there is demand to better understand the individual and organisational response to changing policy and market conditions. Using a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches designed to understand behaviour our research can be applied generally to transport modes such as air travel behaviour and use of public transport and specifically to policy approaches, such as the use of travel plans and other measures to encourage a change in behaviour. These approaches are designed to inform both government and organisational policy with respect to providing for transport demand.
The transportation policy environment has undergone significant change, this has included the development of a more integrated approach to transportation planning and policy in Northern Ireland, UK and in other European countries has meant that transportation strategy is increasingly becoming embedded in debates about sustainable development, land use and spatial planning, health, education, safety and governance. In Northern Ireland issues about the funding of infrastructure, public transport and roads have become central to the policy process in the new devolved administration. Governance structures for the delivery of transport policy are currently undergoing a period of rapid transformation including the future establishment of local authorities with transportation powers.
The transport sub-group is developing work on a number of cross-cutting themes that link with the broader themes of energy use, accessibility, social justice and social exclusion, and business travel and safety. These include: social change and the changing patterns of transport demand, the potential impact of demand management strategies on consumers and businesses, governance and policy delivery. In addition the group has a vibrant research student group with students developing research programmes in public transport, transport disadvantage and accessibility. The group has been awarded funding from the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund in support of a lectureship in Transport Studies. This award is underpinning future transport education initiatives and research. Research papers by the group are regularly published and also presented at conferences around the world. The University of Ulster is also a founding member of the Irish Transport Research Network.