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Understanding the Role of Power during the Implementation of BRT Systems

Guzman Jaramillo, Alvaro Nicolas (2017) Understanding the Role of Power during the Implementation of BRT Systems. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This research is about power. It is completely immersed in modern societies, reflections on power have not settled its definition. Regardless of centuries of considerations about power, there is still much to learn about its exercise. For decades, power has been analysed by scholars all over the world; however, transport planners have avoided issues concerning power. This dissertation focuses on the use of power during planning and implementation processes of two Bus Rapid Transit Systems; one in Quito, Ecuador, and another in Cambridge, England. Using a multimethod phronetic approach, this research examines how decisions were made for the implementation of BRT in the selected case studies. Phronetic methodology aims to explain social phenomena by piecing together large and small details that shape the context of events; in this case, existing planning documentation and the narratives of key stakeholders and decision-makers —such as former Mayors, Council Members, and Heads of Transport Departments— were used to understand the reasons behind the adoption of bus systems. Despite the contextual differences of geography, population, and political and administrative terms between Quito and Cambridge, there are key themes found in both case studies. Solving congestion and improving economic growth is a key motivation for the implementation of the systems in both cases. A complex network of actors is formed during the planning processes of BRT systems that shape the way decisions are made. In both cases, an isolated group of actors that lack the opportunity to exercise power was also identified. A sophisticated mixture of power mechanisms were discovered, which contained actors that had more experience, training and opportunities to exercise power. The findings of the analysis of power in Quito and Cambridge suggest that stakeholders with opportunities to exercise power —from the beginning— are also actors with more opportunities to influence the final uptake of the systems. Planners interested in participatory processes need to focus efforts to involve different communities as early as possible in the planning processes. The inclusion of communities does not guarantee that their needs and objectives will be incorporated into the planning process. A set of power mechanisms need to be developed by all members involved in the process. An early participation of these communities can help focus planning on solving people’s needs rather than the implementation of a specific scheme.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Power, BRT, Transport, Planning
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.745546
Depositing User: Mr. Alvaro Nicolas Guzman
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2018 11:47
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:57
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20824

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