The transformation of transport policy in Great Britain? 'New Realism' and New Labour's decade of displacement activity

Docherty, I. and Shaw, J. (2011) The transformation of transport policy in Great Britain? 'New Realism' and New Labour's decade of displacement activity. Environment and Planning A, 43(1), pp. 224-251. (doi: 10.1068/a43184)

[img] Text
43916.pdf - Accepted Version


Publisher's URL:


In a 1999 paper, Goodwin announced ‘the transformation of transport policy in Great Britain’. His central point was that consensus was emerging among policy makers and academics based on earlier work including Transport: The New Realism, which rejected previous orthodoxy that the supply of road space could and should be continually expanded to match demand. Instead a combination of investment in public transport, walking and cycling opportunities and – crucially – demand management should form the basis of transport policy to address rising vehicle use and associated increases in congestion and pollution / carbon emissions. This thinking formed the basis of the 1997 Labour government’s ‘sustainable transport’ policy, but after 13 years in power ministers neither transformed policy nor tackled longstanding transport trends. Our main aim in this paper is to revisit the concept of New Realism and re-examine its potential utility as an agent of change in British transport policy. Notwithstanding the outcome of Labour’s approach to transport policy, we find that the central tenets of the New Realism remain robust and that the main barriers to change are related to broader political and governance issues which suppress radical policy innovation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The full text of this article is unavailable until April 2012 due to publisher embargo.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Docherty, Professor Iain
Authors: Docherty, I., and Shaw, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Environment and Planning A
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Pion
First Published:First published in Environment and Planning A 43 (1): 224-251
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record