Dr Kate Pangbourne

Dr Kate Pangbourne


I joined the Institute in early June 2016.  At ITS, I am developing a distinctive personal research agenda in innovative research in travel behaviour and persuasive technology for behaviour change, as well as exploring the implications of socio-technical change at the interface of transport, governance and sustainability. I also work with several ITS colleagues, including Professors Jillian Anable, Karen Lucas and Greg Marsden. I have a PhD from the University of Aberdeen, titled The Changing Geography of Scottish Transport Governance; a MSc in Sustainable Rural Development from the University of Aberdeen, and a MA (Hons) in Philosophy with English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. I also spent around a decade working for Scottish Natural Heritage, the governance body for the conservation of nature in Scotland. As post-doc at the University of Aberdeen I worked on a variety of projects funded by different sources, including CAP-IRE (EU FP7), PolicyGrid II (ESRC/Digital Social Research), and MyWay (EU FP7). I adopt highly interdisciplinary approaches, drawing on concepts and methods used in sociology, political and transport geography and computing science (mainly argumentation and human-computer interaction).

Employment History

  • 2016 - present University Academic Fellow, ITS, UoL
  • 2009 - 2016 Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen
  • 2003 - 2005 Research Assistant, University of Aberdeen
  • 1991 - 2002 Scottish Natural Heritage

Other Selected Activities

  • FORMAS Peer Reviewer (2019)
  • ERC Peer Reviewer (2019)
  • ESRC Peer Reviewer (2018)
  • Advisory Board member, H2020-funded MoTiV Project (2017- to date)
  • Member, National Transport Strategy 2 Strategic Framework Working Group (Transport Scotland) (2017 to date) 
  • EPSRC Peer Review College (May 2016 to date)
  • Fellow, Royal Geographical Society with IBG (2011 to date)
  • Chair, Transport Geography Research Group of RGS-IBG (2016 to date)


  • ITS Equalities and Inclusion Coordinator

Research interests

Key Research Interests

  • the nexus of technology, sustainability and transport
  • smart travel behaviour
  • persuasive technology and ethics of behaviour change communication
  • governance of transport and smart mobility

I am the Principal Investigator for ADAPT: smart approaches to influencing sustainable behaviour change, which is the focus of my five year personal fellowship funded by an EPSRC LWEC Challenge Fellowship (2016-2021) (grant number EP/N030524/1). The objective of this project is to develop more effective methods of influencing people to act voluntarily in relation to adapting to and mitigating environmental change, in the transport domain. Key aims are to investigate (1) whether there are systematic patterns of argumentation in existing material aimed at influencing the public to change behaviour; (2) if existing communication material can be better matched to individual preferences in relation to argument structure, content or framing, and (3) to use the findings to create algorithms for use in public-facing websites or mobile apps for personalising persuasive arguments to support behaviour change. I have two part-time research assistants who are working on building the Sustainable Transport Communications Dataset as a corpus resource for the argumentation community and conducting message experiments exploring relationships between and effectiveness of argument type, argument value, personality and travel attitude. I am also involved in the rail passenger experience elements of the H2020/Shift2Rail-funded SMaRTE project, exploring determinants of passenger satisfaction with end-to-end journeys involving rail, in order to understand pain points and attrition rates of potential passengers to other modes. My work on transport governance and smart mobility investigates the structures, scales and processes involved in strategic vision and implementation of transport policies, drawing on notions of state (spatial) projects, power relations, multi-level governance, socio-technical transitions and collaborative advantage.

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


  • PhD, The Changing Geography of Scottish Transport Governance, University of Aberdeen
  • MSc, Sustainable Rural Development, University of Aberdeen
  • MA (Hons), Philosophy with English Literature, University of Edinburgh

Professional memberships

  • Fellow, Royal Geographical Society with IBG
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Chartered Member, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Student education

I support student education in ITS through Masters dissertation supervision, and tutoring undergraduates in the School of Geography. I also occasionally supervise dissertations in Earth & Environment. In addition to teaching transport from a geographic perspective, I have a particular interest in developing critical thinking and writing skills.

Research groups and institutes

  • Social and Political Sciences
<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="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>