Photo: Arild Vågen

TUT-POL, Case study research in eight cities, Harvard, USA

Transforming Urban Transport – The Role of Political Leadership

Elliot Sclar

Diane E. Davis is a Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Her published works examine the relations between urbanization and national development, comparative international development, the politics of urban development policy, and conflict cities. She has explored topics ranging from historic preservation, urban social movements, and identity politics to urban governance, fragmented sovereignty, and state formation to planning theory.

TUT-POL is hosted by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and led by Professor Diane Davis. The project conducts case study research in eight cities — Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, and Vienna — where political leadership has been central to the adoption and implementation of significant, transformative, and innovative transportation policies.

By asking how, why, and under what conditions political leaders have been able to overcome obstacles — such as bureaucratic inertia, citizen opposition and transport provider intransigence —research insights are expected to emerge that could have significant practical applications and contribute to facilitating the adoption and implementation of transformative transportation policies in cities around the world.

Host organisation:


Transforming Urban Transport

Released on October 2018



Transforming Urban Transport: Political Strategies and Tactics

Released on July 2018


October 2019
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The current Call is mainly directed to sub-Saharan university-based researchers with expertise on sustainable and equitable mobility and access in sub-Saharan African cities, and/or previously engaged in transport-related research, and strongly interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on issues related to sustainable and equitable mobility and access,

Call open until 2019-10-15


The VREF invites PhD students and researchers in early stages of their career to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

Invitation open until 2019-10-31

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.


About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

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