Stakeholders, politics, and the media

Rachel Aldred
Publication date: 
October 2015

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This chapter explores relationships between stakeholders, politics, and the media in relation to transport and urban planning, within the context of the need to move towards more sustainable mobility systems. It addresses these themes by discussing a case study of cycling in London, where the recent policy context has been shaped both by media and by cycling advocates. The chosen case study allows some broader conclusions to be drawn about social change and the prospects of moving to more sustainable transport systems. These relate to:

  1. The role of the ‘old’ media in encouraging or blocking sustainable transport.

  2. The relationship of ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms of media in transport policy debates.

  3. How advocacy communities are seeking to overcome traditional barriers to change.

  4. How current social trends are creating the context for political and policy change.

The chapter outlines briefly some key themes in the literature around ‘participation’ and citizen involvement in transport, including barriers related to institutional processes and to specific technical tools (transport modelling). It then discusses literature around transport and the media, which, perhaps surprising, remains relatively limited. The chapter then moves on to consider the specific case study of cycling policy in London, in particular focusing on 2010–15. This provides an example of change whereby the media has begun to play a much more positive role in relation to cycling, supporting a paradigm shift (however incomplete) from cycling as the concern of individual cyclists, to cycling as a system (see Aldred 2013b).