This Network extends the December 2010, UK Research Councils Ideas Factory “Transport Grand Challenge: Travel behaviour, habits and practice”. The Ideas Factory drew attention to the significant contribution that the transport sector makes toward the production of CO2, and whilst it is recognised that improvements in vehicle technologies and fuel choices will reduce emissions, the travel choices of the individual remain complex and entrenched in habit. Consequently the five-day Sandpit focused upon the determinants and incentives for changing travel behaviour, habits and practice in order to better understand how we can move toward increased use of lower carbon transport.

The Department for Transport paper: Low carbon transport: A greener future (2009), indentified the apparent willingness for the public to change their travel behaviours but a resistance for them to actual implement them. People’s decision-making toward travel is complex and irrational, making it difficult to shift patterns away from excessive use of the car, in favour for more cost effective, sustainable and at times quicker methods of transport.

Reasons are complex, but it is evident that new technologies do not always offer the best solution, and may (in some cases) exacerbate problems. The Sandpit process sought to unpack the habits and pressures upon individuals, families and businesses that inhibit the opportunity to make better choices about travel.

The Travel Behaviours Network ( is funded by the RCUK Energy Programme and aims to bring together a series of interdisciplinary, cross council research projects exploring how to reduce energy use from transport.


Chris Speed

Duncan Shingleton

Jane Macdonald