Who got that job?

April 13, 2007

Angela Hull, professor of spatial planning, department of the built environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Job advertised The Times Higher, June 16, 2006

At the start of her lectures on urban planning, Angela Hull likes to show her students a photograph of the M32 in Bristol. The motorway slices through a residential neighbourhood.

"In the picture, there are mothers with prams at the end of the motorway trying to cross the road," she explained. "Yet, despite the traffic travelling at 70mph, the mothers have chosen to cross there rather than find a safer place.

"About 25 per cent of UK households have two or more cars, but nearly half have only one car. Typically, we find that one person has the car, so what do the others do?

"They end up walking or using public transport. Transport planners are fixated with roads, but they serve two thirds of the population at most."

Professor Hull sees herself as a policy analyst rather than an urban planner. One of her roles is to get agencies working to develop common solutions.

A current project involves 32 cities and aims to understand the decision-making processes that lead to guidelines for local transport plans. "By collecting data and making decision-support tools, we hope that local transport authorities will be able to build more sustainable transport systems," Professor Hull said.

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