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The role of contestable processes in advancing sustainability in transport and planning

Wigan, Marcus


Marcus Wigan


Sustainable transport requires not only solid evidence to support policy and practice, but also to allow this to be examined with a high degree of transparency. Not all technical reports have the supporting evidence (or indeed models) made readily available, and even fewer provide enough material and methods to allow others to reproduce or evaluate the methods used as well as the results reported, or to assess alternatives not covered in the report. Control over such issues is a matter of governance. Governance issues are important in advancing sustainable transport, as organisations in both the physical planning and transport fields have longer policy development and implementation horizons than the urgency of changes towards sustainable practice now demands. Both transport policy and planning strategies need to adapt to meet these compressed horizons, but the very different cultures and professional perspectives and practices involved have to date produced strategies that have yet to be proved to work very well once in operation.
The themes that need to be introduced to address these barriers to improvement include (1) a contestable governance framework for evidence-based policy, and (2) the resulting larger role of the community in both the ‘community’ and ‘technical’ aspects of strategy development. These two themes are developed with reference to recent relevant GAMUT initiatives. One of the most important of these has proved to be a series of governance forums designed specially to allow auspicing of a broader range of significant parties to contribute to what is required in terms of changes in governance in both areas, without the special interests of any of the fields involved being given primacy. This initiative has worked well and allowed a broader range of public debate to occur, as such opportunities had become scarce and have been valued once a suitable framework has been recreated


Wigan, M. (2011). The role of contestable processes in advancing sustainability in transport and planning. Road and Transport Research Journal, 20, 32-40

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011
Deposit Date May 31, 2013
Print ISSN 1037-5783
Publisher ARRB Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Pages 32-40
Keywords Transport planning; sustainability; governance; contestability; evidence-based policy;
Public URL