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Historical Narrative and the Evolution of Academic Transport Studies in the UK

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This article examines fundamental questions concerning the origins and evolution of academic transport studies and the dynamics of its historical development. These fundamental questions are generally little discussed, yet are vital in gaining a better understanding of how the subject is driven forward. This article therefore attempts to answer these questions by taking the UK as a case study, with the principal method being evidence from semi-structured interviews with 20 senior figures integrally involved in the development of the subject. The characterization of transport studies provided by Allsop is employed as an analytical framework, enabling the construction of a historical narrative that can provide salient insights. Thus, it is argued that for academic transport studies the degree of early cross-fertilization with public arenas has meant that subsequent developments have been shaped by the subject's contextual environment. Most prominent among these developments has been the trend towards wider disciplinary breadth. This article examines the evolution of these processes, while the concluding section discusses their implications for consequent strengths and limitations of the subject.
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Keywords: History; narratives; participant interviews; transport studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK 2: Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science Academic Unit,University of Southampton, HighfieldSouthampton,SO17 1BJ, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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