Road space allocation: the intersection of transport planning, governance and infrastructure

Jones, I 2014, Road space allocation: the intersection of transport planning, governance and infrastructure, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Road space allocation: the intersection of transport planning, governance and infrastructure
Author(s) Jones, I
Year 2014
Abstract Contemporary professional transport planning and policy continue to focus on resolving the car’s place in contemporary urban society. Transport planners really only have two viable alternatives when engaging car-specific concerns: constructing more road space or allocating existing road space to give specific modes priority and/or to reduce travel. The second alternative drives the research programme for this thesis.
For reasons made clear in this thesis, turning to transport-specific bodies of scholarly literature fails to provide a useful starting point to understand road space allocation. This research is therefore situated within a ‘mobilities paradigm’ (Urry, 2008). The mobilities paradigm provides a heterogeneous view of the world in which to view what is referred in this thesis as the scientific world of transport planning. This opens up useful exploratory lines of inquiry to understand the ways in which the work of transport planners (i.e. animate) allocating road space (i.e. inanimate) is constrained and constituted. This helps reveal limitations of governance, policy frameworks and professional knowledge in allocating road space. Insight from the sociology of scientific knowledge is used to analyse road space allocation from historical and contemporary settings, and to incorporate materiality into analysis.

Utilising a case study methodology, this study critically examines road space allocation in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Data is drawn upon from a critical examination of scholarly literature, a document analysis of archival materials and government policy and legislative materials, face-to-face interviews with over 60 practicing and retired transport planners and participant observation of a transport planning exercise.
The findings of this research suggest that though traditional aspects such as politics and legislative mandate do constrain and limit the action and reach of professionals, professionals were found to make and enact normative decisions that resulted in re-imagining road space as more than the site of car travel. Resolving several tensions identified in the thesis which make allocating road space challenging resulted in professionals embodying knowledge and experience reflective of adopting a demand management stance. This stance continues to be advanced by scholars as crucial to destabilising the car’s place in contemporary urban society. However, momentum needed to entrench the demand stance at institutional levels is found to be constrained by cyclical and/or alternating mobility visions generated from constant change in state government in Victoria.
Drawing insight from sociology of scientific knowledge has therefore been found to provide for a new and enhanced frame to look at issues related to transport planning, road space allocation and the role of different agents (e.g. actors and infrastructure). Developing new professional knowledge and practices critical to engraining a demand management stance in practice is shown to be informed and enacted through practitioners actively engaging, and/or reacting to and against, technology and infrastructure. This confirms and reinforces the usefulness of tracing the contours of materiality, and in so doing, provides for an improved and more realistic picture of professional transport planning practice. Findings drawn from this thesis therefore advance our current understanding of how professional transport planning practice is constrained and constituted.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Keyword(s) Melbourne
road space allocation
transport planning practice
mobilities paradigm
sociology of scientific knowledge
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Created: Fri, 14 Nov 2014, 15:29:14 EST by Maria Lombardo
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