UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Graham Parkhurst

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Professor Graham Parkhurst

As part of our focus on our Research Strength, Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience, we will be sharing spotlights on some of our academics working in that area. First up:

Professor Graham Parkhurst, Director, Centre for Transport and Society Department of Geography and Environmental Management

Graham Parkhurst has degrees in psychology (BA University of Warwick), biological anthropology (MSc University of Oxford) and transport geography (PhD University of Oxford), and has undertaken research and taught academic transport and mobility studies since 1991.

Past research interests include urban and subregional transport policy, modal interchange policy, air quality policy, mobility of the ageing population, transport policy instruments, and the evaluation of urban transport policy implementations (specific infrastructure interventions, mobility services, and vehicle technologies).

His current research is examining the wider implications of the trends to greater automation, electrification, flexibility and use of digital technologies in the transport sector, taking a critical lens to the discourse and practices of ‘smart mobility’ and smart cities’. Electric mobility was the focus of a European Commission-funded project (Replicate) which sought to pilot and ‘upscale’ electric car and cycle sharing.

Graham is currently co-editing a book taking an interdisciplinary perspective on the transition to the electric car. He is also working with colleagues at UWE and UCL on an Economic and Social Research Council-funded study ‘Driverless Futures?‘ which is considering the wider social and cultural implications of the adoption of automated technologies on public roads, such as what a ‘digital highway code’ should be like to reflect all interests.

Most of Graham’s research has been collaborative with business and government. Notably, in recent years, Graham has provided social and behavioural research leadership in respect of UK-Government-funded (Innovate UK) research consortia examining connected and automated vehicles (Venturer, Flourish, CAPRI, and MultiCAV) and flexible collective transport solutions (Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment). He has found these collaborations rewarding and insightful and hopes his research has assisted in taking forward commercial and public sector priorities. Whilst the collaborations have tended to involve transport service providers, digital and automation technology companies, and local authorities in the West of England area, the partner list is extensive and with broad relevance.

My expertise covers three types of activity:

  1. Deep and wide transport and mobility sector knowledge, relevant for advisory roles or leading literature and knowledge review activities.
  2. Mixed-methods people-oriented research to understand attitudes to potential technology or policy changes, and how their behaviour might change in the event those changes are implemented. The remit here includes research with people in experimental contexts, large-sample quantitative data collection and analysis (such as survey instruments) and qualitative research including interviews, focus groups and observational methods. 
  3. Evaluative research, providing independent and as far as possible objective research about the effects of a technology or policy change, with a view to providing confidence to a wider audience about the achievements of commercial or policy innovation.”

Click here for more information about Graham and his work.