Road Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Transport & Mobility

Our Transport & Mobility work is focused on researching how to reduce energy use in the sector. We are developing state-of-the-art models for transport energy demand in the areas of local fleets and plug-in vehicle charging strategies.

Transport & Mobility is one of three energy-use sectors we research.


Energy use in the transport sector is increasingly driven by the challenges of accelerating the adoption of affordable clean technology, whilst managing the effects on demand of changing labour markets, the growth of on-demand mobility services and increased digital connectivity. Despite the focus of much research on local commuter journeys, it is motorways, trunk roads, railways and airlines where energy demand volumes are growing. These long distance journeys account for a small share of trips, a larger share of travel distances and energy use, and an even larger share of climate impacts.

To address these challenges, we are:

Exploring where transport energy demands are highest

What are the activities, people and places with high or increasing demand? Tackling high consumption requires detailed understanding on the reasons for this high energy use: why do people travel, and what are the underpinning structural, social, cultural and economic influences. Our projects in this area seek to gain this understanding.

Examining the constraints and opportunities for transport flexibility

Access to flexible transport options is becoming easier as car use (rather than car ownership) is made accessible by new finance and payment mechanisms; smartphone technology; Big Data and ‘on demand’ mobility services. Our projects in this area investigate the constraints and opportunities for greater transport flexibility.

Assessing how to accelerate the take-up of carbon and energy reduction policies

Slow progress in the uptake of less carbon intensive technologies, coupled with an increase in transport growth will pose major challenges for the transport sector. Our projects in this area look at how to accelerate policies in the UK by assessing international evidence on local transport policy innovation; what learning and deployment options exist and how institutional structures and governance contexts affect policy diffusion.

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This project looks at identifying patterns of high level energy consumption – gas, electricity and car-based mobility and how this might be reduced.

April 2018 to September 2019

This project looks at how to inform policy by providing research on uptake rates, locations and use of electric vehicles.

April 2018 to June 2020

This project looks at the trends in long distance travel, including air, rail and road modes.

October 2018 to March 2020
Light reflections, photo by Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash

Clean Growth Strategy

The UK published the ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ on 13th October 2017 outlining the broad objectives and aspirations to meet the nation’s climate goals. What is less well documented is a detailed plan of how this will be achieved. Our work is focusing on drawing together existing research to analyse the energy demand aspects of the strategy. We will assess where additional policy and measures are required and identify important research gaps that we need to fill.