Call for papers for a special issue of Transportation Research Part D: Evaluating initiatives to combat injustice in transportation

Environmental and social justice in transportation refers to the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the planning, operation, and functioning of transportation infrastructure and services, irrespective of gender, class, race/ethnicity, age, dis/ability, sexuality, religion, and other markers of social identity. It includes, but cannot be reduced to, the distribution of benefits and costs of different transport infrastructures and services, and also relates to questions of governance, decision-making, and knowledge generation regarding transport systems and their environmental effects.

A large and diverse literature has examined and charted inequalities and inequities regarding transportation infrastructures and services. Less is known, however, about the effectiveness of remedial actions taken to improve environmental and social justice in transportation. Activists, grassroots communities, public authorities, academic researchers, and others might promote successful policies and interventions while advocating for their widespread adoption, or challenge unsuccessful ones and emphasize the need for further change. Careful, rigorous, and honest evaluations of remedial actions are critically important, if transportation systems are to become fairer and more sustainable.

This special issue of Transportation Research Part D aims to gather research that evaluates the effects of interventions that have been taken to improve environmental and social justice in transportation systems. We seek submissions from around the world and consider any mode, infrastructure, or service, including freight, maritime, and aviation. Papers may offer evaluations of remedial action in relation to, for instance:

  • Attempts to improve public participation in sustainable transport policies
  • Endeavours to increase epistemic justice in the planning, design, and assessment of interventions in transport systems
  • Interdisciplinary theories and perspectives aiming to improve environmental and social injustices in transportation
  • New methods of evaluating the efficacy of transport-related interventions among disadvantaged groups
  • Initiatives to address unfulfilled mobility-related needs undertaken by activist and citizen-led organizations (e.g. cycling advocates and activists)
  • Improvement of cycling and pedestrian infrastructures in underserved communities
  • Reduction of noise and air pollution along heavy-traffic roads and close to ports, airports and other infrastructure hubs
  • Road space reallocation away from privately owned or heavy- and light-goods vehicles
  • Impact of free or reduced-fare public transport policy
  • Redistribution of transportation funding away from road construction and expansion of ports, airports, and other hubs of carbon-intensive transportation
  • Initiatives to make electric and shared mobility (e.g. MaaS) services available in disadvantaged communities or to owner-operators and SMEs in the freight sector

The special issue is edited by David Durán-Rodas (Technical University of Munich), Hannah Hook (Ghent University), Shaila Jamal (McMaster University), and myself.

Full papers are due by 30 March 2024. This issue will be a virtual special issue, meaning that accepted papers will appear in the next regular issue. After all papers are accepted, guest editors will compile a virtual issue on the journal website.

Manuscripts need to be submitted via the Transportation Research Part D (TRD) online submission system. Authors should indicate that the paper is submitted for consideration for publication in this special issue. When choosing Manuscript “Article Type” during the submission procedure, click “VSI: Eval Justice Initiatives”, otherwise your submission will be handled as a regular manuscript. Author Guidelines are available here.

Uber in London article available for download

A paper on the introduction and regulation of Uber in London led by Geoff Dudley, with David Banister and myself as co-authors, is now published in The Political Quarterly. It is available for free download until mid-June. You can find the paper here. The article discusses the challenges that Uber’s disruptive innovation strategy has brought to various stakeholders in London, particularly taxi operators and TfL. It also discusses the prospects of Uber’s disruptive innovation strategy now the company is rapidly becoming an established player.

The paper is part of a research project on the governance of urban mobility transitions which focuses on Uber in London as a case.

Third Progress Report available

The third and final Progress Report on geographies of transport is now available on the website of Progress in Human Geography. In this report I chart the origins of concepts, methods and practices used in geographical scholarship on transport in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. I show that western modes of thinking and doing research remain hegemonic although a number of authors are now heeding wider calls to ‘decolonise’ knowledge production on transport and mobilities in Global South contexts. The report concludes with some suggestions how post/decolonial scholarship on the geographies of transport can be developed further.

Popular papers on transport

Elsevier — the academic publisher which publishes the most and the most highly ranked journals in transport research — has published a list of transport papers from its journals that have been downloaded the most over the first half of 2013. The list is available here and all papers on it can be downloaded for free until 31st October 2013.

One obviously has to be careful with attributing significance to lists of download frequency, for they don’t tell much about the reasons for the downloads — papers may, for instance, have been used for university courses with many students, or one or two individuals may have downloaded a paper repeatedly whilst working on a particular piece of research. Still, the list contains a number of papers one would expect to be there (e.g. Chapman’s paper on #2 and Banister’s on #7), and this tells us something about popularity and influence.

I wish to highlight two aspects of the list.

First, and to my delight, the Journal of Transport Geography has two papers in the top 5 — the aforementioned review on climate change and transport by Chapman and the position paper by Hesse and Rodrigue on the transport geography of logistics and freight distribution.

Second, there are some differences between Elsevier’s transport journals with the highest impact factor and the ones that feature most prominently on the list of most downloaded articles. For there are comparatively few papers from Transportation Research Part B and Part A. The journal that dominates the list of most frequently downloaded papers and particularly its higher echelons is Transport Policy, the impact factor of which is with 1.51 significantly lower than for Transportation Research Part B (2.94) or Part A (2.75). At the same time, the list confirms the position of Transportation Research Part E (IF=2.27) as a leading journal in the field.

Nonetheless, as a whole the list goes to show that the use of a single metric to rank journals is quite problematic. Insofar as journals are to be ranked — the usefulness of which I, like many others, have strong doubts about — multiple indicators should be used. No single indicator is perfect but if a broad range of different indicators is employed, it is possible to create a richer and more realistic picture of the position of any given journal in the wider field than with the current narrow focus on journal impact factors.