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Social research and evaluation

The Social Research and Evaluation (SRE) division of DfT consists of a team of eight professional social researchers who are members of the Government Social Research service (GSR). Our aim is to provide timely, relevant and high quality social research and policy evaluation, in order to ensure that decisions on transport policy are made in light of the best possible evidence.

The work of SRE is cross-cutting and so covers a wide range of DfT policy areas. We work with -and our research complements that of- the Department's economists, statisticians, operational researchers and scientists. Our role includes commissioning, managing and conducting high quality social research and policy evaluation, and advising staff across DfT.

Social research generates data and analysis using the methods of social science such as social surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, case studies and innovative methods such as deliberative research. In addition to these methods, policy evaluation also involves cost-benefit analyses, and measures the delivery of policies and initiatives against objectives. This enables DfT to better understand policy impacts and outcomes, and lessons learned can then be applied to improve DfT policies and services in the future.

Information about our research programme, including planned research is available from The Strategy, Economics and Mobility Unit Evidence and Research Strategy.

Research reports


Rail passenger security screening: passenger and stakeholder perceptions

This report summarises findings from qualitative research into passenger and stakeholder perceptions of rail passenger security screening. The study followed enhancements to the British Transport Police’s (BTP) explosives screening capability in National Rail and London Underground stations. The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI.

Assessing Social and Distributional Impacts in Transport Scheme Appraisal

The Department for Transport is in the process of improving its appraisal guidance to better capture the social and distributional impacts (SDIs) of transport schemes. This work has increased our understanding of the issues that appraisal guidance needs to capture. This report presents the findings from the final phase of the research programme to enable SDIs to be better reflected in the Department's appraisal system.

29 March 2010

Assessing The Future of Air Transport White Paper as a strategic framework for sustainable development

A report summarising findings from research on The Future of Air Transport White Paper (2003). This qualitative study aimed to understand stakeholder perceptions of the strategic framework that the White Paper provided for airport development. It also investigated what influence airport master plans have had on airport development processes. The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI and the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS).

Behaviour Change: What Works for Transport? Think Piece project

Four groups of experts were asked to consider how DfT could best engage different types of people and businesses in thinking about changing their transport behaviours.

20 January 2010

Department for Transport Citizens' Panel: Motorway Driving (Wave 4) (772 kb)

The report provides feedback from the Citizens' Panel on a range of issues in relation to motorways, including: their experiences of motorway driving, experiences of congestion, and their attitudes to a range of measures for reducing congestion, such as use of the hard shoulder, motorway widening and toll lanes.

25 June 2009

Understanding Business Attitudes to Transport

As part of wider work to better understand and take account of the views of businesses, DfT commissioned a review of existing UK research evidence on private sector business attitudes to transport.

Archived content

The following content is available from the Department for Transport web archive .








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