SRA were originally founded to address social aspects of transport and this is still reflected in the interests of many of the current staff. The motivation then was the view that transport research, although proficient in technical matter, neglected social issues. While this situation has improved it is still the case that the links between health, employment, education and other policy areas are under-researched. SRA continue to investigate what links transport to the world around it.
Another focus of research concerns understanding transport choices and ways of extending these choices so that people can use more sustainable transport methods. Examples of work in this area are studies of coach commuting, unlicensed driving, transport and employment reactions of motorists to bus travel, how people on low incomes can afford driving lessons and deterrents to walking and cycling.
An exciting current project led by Kris Beuret with colleages on behalf of the Independent Transport Commission is the development of a broad think piece “Why Travel?” which will provide answers from the perspective of different disciplines including biology, economics, psychology, anthropology and many others. The aim is to instigate a national debate to better understand the motivational forces that dictate our need to make a journey. From such a comprehension might flow a better understanding as to how policy makers can address this need and nudge the population to make better social and environmenta choices as well as for those supplying transport to address the real but unspoken subconscious desires of their public. A book and educational pack is also in progress. For more information visit the project web site www.whytravel.org