Politics and culture of pedestrian and cyclist safety


Contact Dr Caroline Mullen to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Risk, and perception of risk, has been identified as a barrier to increased levels of utility and leisure walking and cycling. There are diverse and frequently contested arguments about the way risk should be tackled, on how who should take responsibility for limiting risk, on what levels of risk people should accept, and on what should be done to minimise harm. These arguments can complicate progress on promoting walking and cycling. This PhD will explore and analyse the impacts of political and cultural discourses on risk faced by pedestrians and cyclists. This might include investigation of discourses which place responsibility for safety on those who are vulnerable; or approaches which place pedestrians at the top of a hierarchy of roads; or arguments which maintain risks on the roads should be considered offset by health benefits; or analysis of policy cultures which have tended to overlook walking and cycling. The overarching objective will be to offer understanding of the nature and influence of existing discourses on risk, to develop recommendations for improving conditions for walking and cycling, and if appropriate offering a rationale for defensible levels of risk.

Entry requirements

Applicants are invited from candidates with or expecting a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent, preferably in a quantitative discipline. A Master's degree (not necessarily in transport) may be advantageous but is not essential. 

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the ‘Politics and culture of pedestrian and cyclist safety' as well as Dr Caroline Mullen as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e: phd@its.leeds.ac.uk, t: +44 (0)113 34 35326.