Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Mobility, Transport and Social Inclusion: Lessons from History

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Abstract:  This paper argues that although it is now possible to travel more quickly and easily than ever before, transport-related social exclusion is more likely than it was in the past. Using evidence drawn from life writing and oral testimonies I examine the ways in which people accessed everyday transport over the past two centuries. In the early nineteenth century mobility options were limited and most people travelled in similar ways, though the rich always had access to the fastest and most comfortable transportation. From the mid-nineteenth century the railways provided fast travel for most people. Progressively, in the twentieth century British society became car dependent so that those without access to a car were disadvantaged. Such transport-related social exclusion was exacerbated by the denuding of public transport, and by heightened expectations for mobility which often could not be achieved. It is argued that a return to a less differentiated mobility system could increase transport-related social inclusion.

Keywords:  Britain; historical perspective; mobility; social inclusion; transport policies; travel diaries



© Colin Pooley. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.