Professor Karen Lucas

Wednesday, February 6 2019 at 7:30PM

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Professor Karen Lucas

What's the talk about?

Is transport poverty an empirically proven phenomenon based on the travel behaviours and experiences of low income populations in the UK? Or is it – like other many other aspects of deprivation, such as energy poverty, housing shortage, health inequalities, a systematically and deliberately constructed denial of resources to marginalise the lower classes?  When poor people are directly asked about the problem of transport, they most often talk about their inability to access jobs, services, and facilities rather than transport itself. So, does transport poverty even exist in its own right? Or is it interdependent with the enforced and inflexible residential locations of low-income households, increasingly in peripheral and unserviceable edge-of-city estates that are poorly connected with the mainstream economic opportunities of the wider city-region? And, if car ownership is the solution (in the light of the public transport sector’s inability to address these connectivity problems under their current operating regimes), how do we address the non-affordability, diminished capabilities and negative externalities of this individualised model of passenger transportation?

Karen is Professor of Transport and Social Analysis at the Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds and Deputy Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute. She has 20 years of experience in social research in transport. She is a world-leading expert in the area of transport-related social exclusion in the Global North and South. She leads the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities (INTALInC). In 2015, she won Edward L. Ullman Award by the Transport Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers and in 2016 the University of Leeds ‘Women of Achievement’ Award, both awards for her significant contribution to transportation geography.

Karen is a regular advisor to national governments in the UK and abroad.  In 2002, she was seconded to the Social Exclusion Unit to develop policies to address the transport exclusion of low-income and disadvantaged groups and communities. She subsequently worked for the Department of Transport to undertake pilot studies and develop the Guidance on Accessibility Planning that resulted from this study. She has subsequently worked for local and national governments in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. She is currently, seconded to Highways England to set up a methodology for the community impact assessment of the Lower Thames Crossing project.

Karen is co-chair of the Special Interest Group on Cultural and Social Issues in Transport for the World Conference on Transport and Society (WCTRS) and of the NECTAR Cluster 7: Social and Health Impacts of Transport  She is a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Transport Geography, Springer's Transportation journal and Urban Book Series