Professor Greg Marsden

Professor Greg Marsden


Employment History

  • 2012 to date Professor of Transport Governance, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 2005 to 2012 Senior Lecturer, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 2003 to 2005 Lecturer, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 2001-2003 Seconded as Committee Specialist, House of Commons Transport Select Committee
  • 2002-2003 Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton
  • 1997-2002 Research Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton

Professional Engagements

Research interests

My principal research interests are:

  • The impact of governance structures and institutions on decision-making
  • End user energy demand reduction through innovative transport policies
  • Place based decarbonisation strategies
  • Assessment of the sustainability of transport from local to international scales
  • The role of information (indicators, appraisal systems and targets) on the dynamics of public policy decision-making
  • Evaluation of policy interventions

I am interested in the design, development and implementation (or not) of policies, programmes and projects to advance sustainable transport systems. In particular I am interested in the role of governance including institutions, resources, power and formal and informal networks across different spatial scales. Some example projects are set out below.

DecarboN8 – Place based decarbonisation strategies – Sponsor UKRI Energy Programme

This Networks+ grant brings together researchers from across the North’s 8 most research intensive universities to develop place-based descarbonisation research to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport. Working with local and national government, industry and third sector partners, the project will pump prime research to deliver new projects which understand the extent to which co-ordinated and ubiquitous solutions are necessary and when bespoke and more targetted solutions work better. Using the North of England’s diverse urban and rural environments as an integrated test site the project will produce policy briefings and develop innovation bids as well as funding fundamental research.

Centre for Reduction in Energy Demand Solutions – Sponsor UKRI Energy Programme

A five year major collaboration across all sectors, this Centre is committed to finding new ways to reduce energy consumption through modifying demand. The work I lead will look at how local authorities have accelerated decarbonisation and what needs to change to unlock further reductions. It is also funding the Commission on Travel Demand which has launched a major inquiry into shared mobility.


UNDER REFORM - Understanding Indian Urban Governance Reform - Sponsor ESRC and ICSSR

Efforts to reform urban transport governance, primarily through the bolstering of local level capacity, have been underway in India since 2006 but with limited affect due to lack of meaningful delegation of authority and financial power. However, in 2015 the Indian national government launched the Smart Cities Mission, aimed at going beyond what has been achieved before at the local level. The focus of the initiative is to promote 'cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens' through the application of 'Smart' Solutions (MoUD, 2015, p5). Within this context then, this research uses the Smart Cities Mission as a major opportunity to understand the aims and processes of transport governance reform and the extent to which these reforms are capable of achieving a significant improvement in the mobility system. To this end, the research will undertake a qualitative comparative analysis of previous and planned reforms in four of India's designated smart cities; Jaipur, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar and Bangalore. The research will characterise governance arrangements and governance reforms across each of the four cities, and in using the multi-level governance framework to guide empirical analysis, will be innovative in developing this framework within a non-Western context. The research will also trace the impacts of governance reforms through to impacts on the economic prosperity and quality of life of citizens through analysing changing processes and outcomes. This is essential if we are to move beyond identifying problems to understanding how to overcome them.


DEMAND - The Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand Sponsor - RCUK

This 5 year research centre began in May 2013 and is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaboration as part of the RCUK end user energy demand reduction programme. We lack a sophisticated understanding of how these trends take hold and of the underlying dynamics of demand itself. The DEMAND Centre takes this problem as its central challenge, contributing directly to the objectives of the call by focusing on what energy is for.The research approach suggests that energy demand is about more than the public acceptance of new technology, and more than the supply-oriented steering of transition pathways, as described by sociotechnical models of innovation. If we are to understand the fundamental dynamics of demand and engage with related issues of justice, need and entitlement we have to develop a more thoroughly integrated account of the relation between technological provision and social practice,and of the spatial and temporal ordering of end uses. A key output from the DEMAND Centre was the launch of the Commission on Travel Demand which has published a major study on the future of travel demand and its implications for transport policy and practice.


DISRUPTION -new approaches to low carbon energy demand reduction policies
Sponsor - EPSRC

This 3 year project commenced in September 2011 and was a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaboration as part of the RCUK energy programme. Prof Marsden was the PI for the project. The research studied at close hand how disruption affects the real choices people make, and what this teaches us about the opportunities to change travel practices at individual level and within families; in organisations that generate travel demand and impact on our own individual travel decision-making; and within government where policy that determines our travel opportunities is made. 

I have supervised several PhD students through to completion and am happy to consider supervising research projects in a range of areas related to transport policy formulation and implementation from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. In particular I would welcome applications on:

  • The transfer of policies at a city, regional or international scale
  • The political discourse of transport policy versus the implementation of policy
  • The impacts of governance on policy implementation
  • Creating effective low carbon strategies
<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>


  • PGCLTHE, University of Leeds
  • PhD, Urban Pollution Estimation, University of Nottingham
  • MEng, Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham

Professional memberships

  • MTPS

Research groups and institutes

  • Social and Political Sciences

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>