2010

Past Event

Distinguished Transport Lecture Series 2010

Transport Shaping Space, Before and After Peak Oil

Download the Lecture slides

DATE:

TIME:

VENUE:

14 December 2010 (Tuesday)

19:00 - 20:00

Speaker:

Professor Richard Knowles

Professor of Transport Geography, University of Salford, U.K.

organized by:

Institute of Transport Studies, The University of Hong Kong

Lecture Abstract:

This lecture examines the role of transport in shaping space and potential consequences of Peak Oil. The lecture starts by reviewing the differential collapse in time-space resulting from successive transport innovations. Historical impacts of cheaper and faster transport on spatial development are considered at different geographical scales. Whilst there is now widespread recognition of the negative environmental consequences of burning oil, much less consideration has been given nationally or globally to the future supply and price of oil. Peak Oil (peak global oil production) is looming whilst the growth in global consumption outstrips known and anticipated reserves. As a finite resource, oil is unsustainable but it is the sole or dominant fuel for all modes of mechanized transport except railways. Already, the era of cheap 'easy oil' appears to be over. Higher oil prices should encourage the development of alternative fuels and technologies and the main alternatives are briefly examined. The lecture concludes by examining the potential consequences of Peak Oil for transport and future patterns of spatial development.

 

About the Speaker:

Professor Richard Knowles is Professor of Transport Geography at the University of Salford, United Kingdom. He is the Editor of the Journal of Transport Geography and the President of the International Geographical Union's Commission on Transport and Geography. His valuable contribution to transport research is widely recognized internationally. Professor Knowles received the 2004 Edward Ullman Award in Transportation Geography (Association of American Geographers) and the 2010 Alan Hay Award in Transport Geography (Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers). He is a member of UK's EPSRC funded, Sustainable Urban Environments SUE2 Research Team, and the co-editor of Knowles, Shaw & Docherty (2008) Transport Geographies: Mobilities, Flows and Spaces, Blackwell, Oxford. Professor Knowles is the author of numerous research papers, books and book chapters, conference papers, reports and book reviews.

14 DEC 2010

Past Event

Distinguished Transport Lecture Series 2010

Paradoxes of Rationality in Road Safety Policy

Download the Lecture slides

DATE:

TIME:

VENUE:

17 November 2010 (Wednesday)

19:00 - 20:00

Speaker:

Professor Rune Elvik

Chief Research Political Scientist, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

organized by:

Institute of Transport Studies, The University of Hong Kong

Lecture Abstract:

About the Speaker:

Rationality is a well-established ideal for transport safety policy. Indeed, it has been claimed that if we only are rational enough, we can solve all our problems. This, however, can only be the case if rationality is a uniquely defined ideal, i.e. if it is always clear that only one solution to a problem is rationally justified and no other solution can be claimed to be rational. A paradox of rationality refers to any situation in which conflicting choices can both be defended as rational. When a paradox of rationality occurs, the normative guidance provided by the principle of rationality normally breaks down. This paper will first outline what the implication for road safety policy of an ideal of perfect rationality. Based on this ideal, a set of paradoxes of rationality will be discussed. More specifically, the following paradoxes will be discussed: (1) Choices between policy options that produce identical safety benefits may be arbitrarily influenced by irrelevant background characteristics, i.e. violate the axiom of independence of irrelevant alternatives. (2) Choices between policy options based on aggregate willingness-to-pay for safety improvements may violate individual preferences, i.e. there is an unintended reversal of preferences resulting from the aggregation of preferences. (3) Choices between policy options based on aggregate willingness-to pay for safety improvements may disregard the intensity of individual preferences, i.e. favour those who have a weak preference for safety at the expense of those who have a strong preference for safety. (4) Choices between a policy option favouring the poor and a policy option favouring the rich may favour the rich, because the declining marginal utility of money makes it impossible for the poor to compensate the rich in utility terms, i.e. the threshold a benefit-cost ratio satisfying the criterion of a potential Pareto improvement may be higher for the poor than for the rich. (5) A policy option that looks attractive and passes the benefit-cost test ex ante may fail an ex-post compensation test if utility depends both on wealth and health and is more risk aversive with respect to health than with respect to wealth. (6) Some road safety measures will be cost-effective from a societal point of view, but not necessarily from an individual point of view, i.e. there is sometimes a conflict between individual and collective rationality. (7) Resource allocation based on grants from the central government stimulates strategic coalition building among regional and local units of government that undermines an efficient allocation of resources. The implications of these paradoxes of rationality for road safety policy will be discussed.

 

Rune Elvik is a political scientist from the University of Oslo. He attained the degree of doctor of political science (dr. polit) in 1993 and the degree of doctor of philosophy (dr. philos) in 1999. In 2007, he attained the ph D degree at Aalborg University in Denmark. His main areas of research include evaluation of the effects of road safety measures, research synthesis by means of meta-analysis, and cost-benefit analysis. Since 1994, he has been chief research officer in charge of risk analyses and cost-benefit analyses. This area had a strategic research programme on meta-analysis from 2000 to 2008. Rune Elvik has taken part in several international research projects organised by the European Commission, the OECD, the European Transport Safety Council and the US Transportation Research Board. During the years 1997-2004 he was associate editor of Accident Analysis and Prevention. From 2005, he has been one of the editors-in-chief of the journal. From 1999, Elvik has been a member of the committee for safety data, analysis and evaluation of the Transportation Research Board. From 2008 to 2010, Elvik was professor of road safety studies at Aalborg university in Denmark (20 % working time). From 2009, he is professor of road safety studies at Lund university in Sweden (20 % working time).

17 NOV 2010

Past Event

Distinguished Transport Lecture Series 2010

Cities, Mobility and Climate Change

Download the Lecture slides

DATE:

TIME:

VENUE:

21 June 2010 (Monday)

19:00 - 20:00

Speaker:

Professor David Banister

Professor of Transport Studies and Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford University, U.K.

organized by:

Institute of Transport Studies, The University of Hong Kong

Lecture Abstract:

About the Speaker:

Societies gain enormous benefits from travel, as economies have become more globalised and as the new communications infrastructure allows international networking at low cost. Globalised media coverage has contributed to people's increased aspirations and expectations, along with more educational and leisure opportunities, and increasing wealth. There is a true internationalisation of all activities, and travel forms an essential part of that process, however, this is fuelled by carbon, and there is evidence that carbon emissions are affecting the global climate with irreversible long term consequences. Transport is the one sector where a reduction in energy use and emissions is proving to be extraordinarily difficult to achieve despite some success in urban areas, where there are many good examples of reductions in energy use in transport, through demand management, public transport investment, priority for walking and cycling, and soft measures targeting single occupancy cars. Planners have also actively created more high quality local neighbourhoods, with innovative housing, mixed use developments, and an emphasis on accessibility, all intended to reduce the need to travel (particularly by car), to reduce distance travelled and encourage greater use of public transport, walking and cycling. There are signs that such city living is becoming "fashionable" with more people adopting sustainable lifestyles (Banister, 2005). This paper presents a global picture of what is happening in terms of cities, mobility and climate change, highlighting recent trends. It is argued that the current situation is unsustainable, and that transport must contribute fully to achieving carbon reduction targets. A proposed alternative is presented, based on the sustainable mobility paradigm (Banister, 2008) that looks at ways to reduce the need to travel in cities. The belief that technology provides the solution is misplaced, as technological innovation can only get us part of the way to sustainable transport. Finally, it is suggested that there may be opportunities for cities in the developing world to switch to low carbon systems without passing through the period of oil dependency. Potentially, the future is bright for low carbon transport in cities, but the real question is whether there is the commitment and leadership to follow such a path.

 

David Banister is Professor of Transport Studies at Oxford University and Director of the Transport Studies Unit, and a Fellow of St Anne's College. 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), and Visiting Professor at the University of Bodenkultur in Vienna in 2007. He has been a Trustee of the Civic Trust and Chair of their Policy Committee (2005-2009), and is Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. He is editor of two International Journals and on the Editorial Boards of 6 other Journals. He has authored or edited 18 research books related to transport, published over 150 papers in international refereed journals, and more than 250 other research papers.

21 JUN 2010

We sincerely thank for the generous support from the following associations/institutions/companies (alphabetical order)

Financial
Sponsors

Arup

Autotoll Limited

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited

Hong Kong Tramways, Limited

Hongkong International Terminals

Kerry Logistics

Pacific Air Limited

The Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited

Non-Financial
Sponsors

Hong Kong Society for
Transportation Studies

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (Hong Kong Branch)

The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers
 - Civil Division