Confronting Global Transportation Issues at Oxford

By TSPA Student Andrew Guevara

In a world of rapidly changing transportation innovations such as ride-sharing, high-speed rail, and driver-less cars, I am always searching for new opportunities to learn about advancements in the field to sharpen my professional transportation policy expertise. I had the privilege of participating in the “Oxford Leadership Programme: Global Challenges in Transport” seminar at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom earlier this month. The program provides transportation academics and professionals the opportunity to understand the complex realities of sustainable transportation development and apply these lessons to their own practices. This particular course offered insights into smart technologies and their implications for consumer demand.

Sixteen participants from Australia, Europe, and North America were hosted at the beautiful Kellogg College for the week and offered the chance to engage with leading experts in transportation, sustainability, and behavioral psychology. Not only did we learn about the latest development occurring in motor vehicle, public transit, and other sustainable transport modes, but we also learned about the different perspectives on technology diffusion and what this means for adoption rates. From the perspective of an automotive policy professional, this experience helped me bridge the gap between the academic realm and real-world practices surrounding these interdisciplinary subjects. Moreover, this experience complemented what I have learned at the Truman School in the areas of policy analysis and crafting, collaborative governance, and strategic management.

The other participants came from a number of backgrounds including national and local governments, academics institutions, consulting firms, and private transportation companies. They brought with them a wealth of information from their fields of expertise, and their insights made the lectures and small-group discussions come to life. One of the highlights was working together with my colleagues from the Netherlands and Sweden to determine solutions for greater cooperation between competing stakeholders in the regulatory formation process. We generated a strategic model for stakeholder goal-setting as an approach to foster collaboration and presented our findings to the rest of the participants.

While the week had to unfortunately come to an end, I came away with many contacts who are working on similar transportation technology issues as I am in my current professional role. I can get comparative international viewpoints on the challenges I am facing and lend advice to them, too. I also was invited to future transportation conferences with focus on other areas such as governance, infrastructure financing, and health and well-being. Above all, I will be able to integrate the technology diffusion theories and behavioral approaches and best practices into my professional life to aid policymakers in crafting policies on emerging transportation technologies, sustainability and consumer adoption.

Oxford Leadership Programme participants including Andrew Guevara (front row, 4th from right)

The University of Oxford in Oxford, England