Professor Peter Bonsall

Professor Peter Bonsall


I graduated with a degree in Geography from Oxford in 1972 (winning that discipline’s prize for my dissertation on Mental Maps) and followed this with a postgraduate qualification in Town and Regional Planning. Although I spent time in the private sector and on secondment to local government, most of my career was as a member of the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, where I started as a Research Assistant in 1974 and was appointed Professor of Transport Planning in 1989.

My main interest has always been in the analysis and modelling of traveller behaviour and in the assessment of response to transport innovations and policy interventions. Particular areas of application have included: attempts to encourage car sharing; the impacts of e-communication on travel demand; drivers’ response to guidance; traveller response to increased capacity and to complex pricing strategies; and the market for electric vehicles. My methodological contributions have been in the use of rapid response models, multi-criteria appraisal methods, new methods of data collection; and microsimulation modelling.

My research grants, which have funded over 70 years of research effort, have come primarily from UK Research Councils (mainly SERC and EPSRC), the UK Government (Departments for Transport, Trade and Industry, Energy & Climate Change, and Business, Innovation & Skills) and from the European Commission, but included industrial sponsorship from British Telecom and others.

I have published over 200 papers, books, chapters and reports on wide range of transport topics. I have specified and programmed a number of transport models including models of mode choice and route choice and a strategic planning model which encapsulates the relationship between transport and land use and which is in use as a basic training aid in transport planning courses around the world.

I was formerly co-editor of the Journal of Transport Policy and was on the Editorial Board of several other journals. I played a role in the organisation of numerous international conferences focussing on the analysis and forecasting of transport demand including the recurrent World Conferences on Transport Research, the European Transport Conferences and the annual meetings of the US Transportation Research Board as well as the more specialist conference series such as those on Survey Methods in Transport and on Travel Behaviour Research.  I am a former Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport and its successor the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

I had, for many years, a central role in teaching at ITS and was its Director of Studies from 1996 to 2000. I led courses on Transport Planning and Modelling, Public Transport Planning and on Transport Planning Forecasting and Analysis. Most of my courses were for postgraduates at ITS but some were developed for undergraduates on Civil Engineering and Geography courses. I have also provided short courses for Department of Transport staff in the UK and Sweden, and for students and mid-career professionals in Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong and Melbourne. I have supervised 11 PhD students.

In addition to my university research work, I have acted as consultant /advisor to numerous bodies including: The Department of Transport (most recently on the potential use of new technologies to replace or enhance the National Travel Survey); The Highways Agency (most recently on the evaluation and modelling of their Smart Motorways Program); The Cabinet Office (on issues of Social Equity in Transport Policy); Various overseas governments (most recently the Dutch Rikswaterstadt on issues in the interpretation of new evidence on the perceived value of Travellers’ Time); various passenger transport authorities, local councils and local community groups. I have also worked closely with a number of consultancy companies on a range of projects – my role usually being to advise on the design of surveys, the suitability of models and the interpretation of results.

I have been called to give evidence on a number of Inquiries and Audits including: the Department of Transport’s Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Appraisal (SACTRA) on the question of the extent to which new roads generate traffic; House of Commons Select Committees to which I gave evidence on Planning Gain and on the effectiveness of a range of methods of influencing  behaviour; the Greek Government’s internal audit of its transport demand forecasting models; the US Transportation Research Board’s investigation of equity issues in Transport Financing; and the Public Inquiry into the proposed Leeds trolleybus (to which I provided critical evidence on weaknesses in the business case and in which I led the technical cross-examination of the applicants’  witnesses on that business case).

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>