On Our Line #3: British Transport Policy Since WW2



In episode three of our podcast Nicole discusses the history of British transport policy with Dr Geoff Dudley and Christian Wolmar.

Dr Geoff Dudley is a Visiting Research Associate at the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. His research interest focuses on dynamics and process of policy change. His work includes an investigation into how policy communities and different interests steered British transport policy after the Second World War. This investigation is published in the book Why Does Policy Change? Lessons from British Transport Policy 1945-99 that Dr Geoff Dudley co-authored with Prof Jeremy Richardson.

Geoff has also been examining the decision-making processes for the High Speed Rail 2 project and this year, is set to start investigating the governance of Uber in London.

Christian Wolmar is a journalist and author specialising in transport. Christian writes regularly for a wide range of national newspapers, is a frequent guest on the radio and has been a columnist for Rail magazine since 1994.

He is the author of many books on railway history including his latest book Are Trams Socialist? Why Britain Has No Transport Policy, which considers why there hasn’t been a coherent transport policy and why transport has never held the political importance it deserves.

Together, Dudley and Wolmar look back at the last seven decades of transport policy since the Second World War. As well as discussing the shortcomings of current and past transport policy and they investigate drivers of policy change over time.

How did the motorcar disrupt transport policy?

How have we ended up with the current institutions drafting transport policy?

Why do certain projects and policy gain momentum whilst others do not?

Why does Britain not have a coherent transport policy?

Are we in an era of a transport policy vacuum and how have we ended up in this state of affairs?

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Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.