This article has two main aims. First, it employs a case study of UK transport planning to address the commonly held view that the practice of transport planning in 'developed' nations commonly had a single paradigm during the second half of the twentieth century. It challenges the view that this paradigm underpinned as it was by a particular set of practices and influences, led to road construction as the overriding policy solution. Rather, policy is best conceived as being geographically differentiated between inter- and intra-urban movement; and policy outcomes are explained by reference to a detailed analysis of the institutional relations of policy-making and the dominance of a professionalized policy network in particular. This sheds light on the second of the paper's aims, which is to highlight the difficulties associated with conceptualizing changes in practices and policy as 'paradigmatic'.