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Social Exclusion and the Role of Transport Intervention in Accessing Economic\ud Opportunity\ud
This dissertation is concerned with social exclusion, transport and access to economic\ud opportunities. Its main focus is on transport 'intervention' and whether this provision is\ud able to enhance social inclusion, particularly in terms of tackling worklessness. The\ud leading principle of this research is to capture the "authentic voices" of those people\ud who are the intended beneficiaries of transport intervention.\ud
Social exclusion is a difficult concept to define but it is generally taken to refer to\ud individuals who are geographically resident in the UK but, for reasons beyond the\ud control of that individual, they cannot participate in the 'normal' activities of UK citizens.\ud This dissertation found that transport can have an effect on this exclusion: for those\ud without private transport, access to widely dispersed facilities such as supermarkets,\ud hospitals and employment locations can be very difficult.\ud
This dissertation found that transport-related exclusion relating to personal\ud characteristics, such as ethnicity or lack of self-esteem, could often have the most\ud impact upon transport use, overlapping as this does with many of the other\ud exclusionary factors. A striking finding from the research explores the notions of\ud 'localism' and 'parochialism' from the perspective of those experiencing social exclusion\ud and practitioners working in the transport, social and economic fields. This includes the\ud tension between natural tendencies to avoid travelling far afield to access employment\ud and the need to expand travel horizons in order to secure social inclusion.\ud
The research also explores the misconception surrounding the desire for car ownership\ud and reveals how many people highly value their local bus services and some even\ud enjoy the experience of travelling on them. Transport intervention is thus seen to have\ud an important role in enhancing social inclusion but this needs to be based on genuine\ud needs assessment, a sense of local ownership, a realistic appreciation of transport\ud usage and behaviour and a true understanding of the characteristics of social\ud exclusion. It also needs to fit within an integrated framework co-ordinating with\ud different service providers. This research found that transport intervention developed\ud in isolation will not be effective.