Professor David Banister

Professor of Transport Studies
University of Oxford

The Trilogy of Distance, Speed and Time

  The Lecture had been held on 22nd March 2012 (Thu) at 7:00-8:00 pm at the Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong (Map)

Lecture Abstract

Over the recent past there has been a dramatic increase in travel, mainly driven by the desire to move faster and over ever greater distances. This growth is unsustainable, and the continued growth in levels of mobility needs to be reassessed through substantially reducing the levels of consumption (energy and carbon) in transport.  This means that travel activities should be based on shorter distances and slower speeds, with a more flexible interpretation of time constraints.  Transport geographers should have a strong and instrumental role to play in this debate.  This presentation outlines the changing patterns of movement, before concentrating on urban areas where most daily travel takes place, and it examines the trilogy of distance, speed and time.  The focus is on distance, and the role that land use planning and development, and technology can play in encouraging new forms of travel in cities, but there are strong implications on the ways in which speed and time are conceptualised.  The conventional transport paradigm is heavily embedded in the belief that travel time needs to be minimised and consequently speeds need to be increased. The resulting impacts on travel distances have not been part of that debate, but reducing travel distances is central to sustainable transport.

About the Speaker
David Banister is Professor of Transport Studies at Oxford University and Director of the Transport Studies Unit. Until 2006, he was Professor of Transport Planning at University College London.  He has also been Research Fellow at the Warren Centre in the University of Sydney (2001-2002) on the Sustainable Transport for a Sustainable City project, was Visiting VSB Professor at the Tinbergen Institute in Amsterdam (1994-1997), Visiting Professor at the University of Bodenkultur in Vienna in 2007, and is the first holder of the BIVEC-GIBET Transport Chair in Benelux (2012-2013). He was Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University for two years (2009-2010).  He has authored and edited 19 books, and has published over 250 papers in refereed journals and as book chapters.  His research interests are in transport, cities and the environment, in future studies, and in the means by which the transport system can substantially reduce its energy requirements and its carbon emissions.