UWE Bristol award Honorary Degree to Adrian Davis

Issue date: 16 July 2015


UWE Bristol awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration to Adrian Davis in recognition of his multidisciplinary approach and collaboration in the areas of transport and health.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law on Wednesday 15 July 2015 at Bristol Cathedral.

Adrian Davis grew up in a family with a strong proclivity for culture and the arts. He attended Portsmouth Polytechnic to read social history and sociology. He left with a determination to campaign for changes in our society not the least of which benefit our environment. On graduating in 1983 his first job was as a clerk on a Friends of the Earth (FoE) recycling project where the agreement with his manager was that he should focus on cycle campaigning while the manager performed his clerical work. This was, therefore, his entry point to transport planning. In 1986 he joined the Town & Country Planning Association's Manchester office to work on Safe Routes to Schools and there was introduced to the politics of traffic restraint and an understanding of the mechanism underpinning the subjugation of the rights of children to the motor car.

While in Manchester Adrian became interested in the World Health Organisation's new European Healthy Cities programme, and co-founded the Transport and Health Study Group, remaining on its national and international boards today. In 1989 Adrian was working in London as an urban traffic researcher with the task 'to get traffic calming accepted as part of the normal UK traffic management tool-kit'. Working with a back-bench Tory MP, through a Private Members Bill, a Traffic Calming Bill received Royal Assent in summer 1992. Adrian has been deeply influenced by the work of UCL Geographer, John Adams, Policy Studies Institute maverick, Mayer Hillman, and Healthy Cities theorists.

Joining the Open University's School of Health in 1994 Adrian began researching constraints to children's independent mobility. In 1997 he wrote the British Medical Association's first policy statement on transport and health, and worked for Sir Donald Acheson on his 1998 report into Inequalities in Health. Adrian then worked with WHO Europe to draft guidance for the 3rd Environment and Health Ministerial Conference in 1999. By 2001 he had also completed a PhD on transport planning and public health.

The Open University was followed by five years with the Transport Studies Group at the University of Westminster plus more freelance work for WHO, Department of Health and various health agencies. In 2001 Adrian helped the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, set up a health unit, becoming its Public Health advisor. In 2008 the Director of Public Health for NHS Bristol asked Adrian to work within Bristol City Council in the transport team - where he still remains. Further postings with the Department of Transport and Public Health England have followed as Adrian continues his quest to promote public health and sustainable transport whenever he is given an audience. In 2010 Adrian was elected a 'Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health through Distinction' followed in 2011 by a Visiting Professorship with UWE. He visits regularly, publishing papers with Social Marketing and other UWE colleagues.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Adrian is a coordinator for children's playing out sessions on his street and acts as an advisor to Playing Out CIC in the struggle for democratic streets.

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