Has your journey been disrupted by recent floods?

Issue date: 27 November 2012


Travellers whose journeys have been disrupted by recent rain and flooding are asked to share their experiences through this online survey.

Researchers at UWE, Bristol and the University of Leeds are calling for travellers to complete the survey as part of a £1.2m study to find out how people react when a major event interferes with their usual travel plans.

Tim Chatterton, Senior Research Fellow at UWE's Institute for Sustainability, Health and Environment explained, “Most studies into travel habits investigate how people typically choose to travel on a day-to-day basis. This study is different in that we are focusing on how people cope when they are forced to make changes to their usual transport choices because of circumstances outside of their control.

“The on-going wet weather has meant that many travellers have had to change their plans, either because events and activities were cancelled or because certain routes were flooded and transport options unavailable. In addition there have been major costs to businesses and the economy at large which need to be weighed against the costs of additional flood defences.

“We are asking people who have experienced disruption in their usual travel plans to take part in the survey and answer a few simple questions about how they have been affected, how they coped, and what measures they had to take including whether they decided not to travel. This is part of a national survey that will be ongoing from now until Easter 2013 and which has already surveyed the fuel disruption of April 2012 and the York floods of September 2012.”

It is hoped the study will help inform policy makers as to how workplaces, schools and other public institutions could be restructured to avoid putting pressure on the transport network when a major event takes place. Also, understanding how people react when they are forced to alter their typical travel schedule could help identify how to plan transport services, and even encourage people to make more energy efficient travel choices in the future. Also importantly the study will build a clear picture of the relationship between the transport network and the institutions which generate travel – such as schools, workplaces and retail centres.

Senior Research Fellow Jeremy Shires of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds said, “Many of the problems in the transport system are created by external factors rather than the transport system itself.

“Surveys we have completed in the past have shown, for example, people's greatest anxiety when faced with wintry weather conditions is not actually the impact on the transport network but the resulting school closures.

“So one of the areas we'll be looking to understand is how schools could be re-organised to be more flexible in such circumstances, could staff be shared, for example, to keep the schools open?”

The results of this three-year project will help advise industry, education, health and retail sectors on how to cope with future disruption to the transport system caused by major events such as flooding.

The study is led by the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds in partnership with UWE, the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Transport Research, University of Brighton, Glasgow University, University of Lancaster, and the Open University. It is funded by a grant from the Research Council UK's Energy Programme.

To complete the online survey go to: www.survey.leeds.ac.uk/flooddisruption

Further information on the project is available at www.disruptionproject.net

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