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Lost in translation: Problems in interpreting business attitudes to transport

Dudley, Geoff; Goodwin, Phil; Lyons, Glenn; Musselwhite, Charles; Wiltshire, Peter


Geoff Dudley

Phil Goodwin

Charles Musselwhite

Peter Wiltshire


This paper reviews available UK evidence on (private sector) business attitudes to transport. It follows a 2008 review of public attitudes to transport, and provides an important frame of reference for considering business attitudes. Accordingly the current paper includes comparisons between public and business attitudes. There are some prima facie similarities between public and business attitudes in relation to congestion, the order of importance of transport attributes (especially reliability), stated conditions for support of road pricing, public transport, travel plans, telecommunications and some issues of reducing travel. There are, however, some differences also: transport concerns are less ubiquitous, less attention is given to the environmental concerns associated with road building and there is less attention to wider government goals such as equity, health, social welfare and the environment. However, both similarities and differences may be misleading, as research on business attitudes is less disciplined, and there are no well-established theoretical frameworks (such as exist for individual attitudes) for understanding attitudes, when applied to the corporate views of a commercial body. In essence, many of the business attitudes reports are framed as lobbying material yet, paradoxically, there can be considerable ambiguity attached to the meanings of business attitudes, that in turn can be partially attributed to doubts as to whether responses represent individual or corporate attitudes. As a result, it is very difficult, from the existing evidence, to interpret a clear and coherent view or set of views of business on transport issues. The authors suggest some protocols, with the aim of improving research methods that, if implemented, could help improve the credibility and clarity of claims to represent the 'voice (or, more realistically, voices) of business'. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.


Dudley, G., Dudley, G., Goodwin, P., Lyons, G., Musselwhite, C., & Wiltshire, P. (2011). Lost in translation: Problems in interpreting business attitudes to transport. Transportation Planning and Technology, 34(1), 35-50.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2011
Journal Transportation Planning and Technology
Print ISSN 0308-1060
Electronic ISSN 1029-0354
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 35-50
Keywords business, attitudes, methodology, interpretation
Public URL
Publisher URL


Dudley_et_al_lost_in_translation.docx (217 Kb)

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