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Policy transfer and learning in the field of transport: A review of concepts and evidence

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  • Design
  • Political Science


This paper presents a state-of-art review of why and how policies and policy lessons in the transport planning arena are transferred between cities. It begins by drawing on literature from the fields of political science, public administration, organisational learning and management to outline a conceptual framework for policy transfer and learning. This framework is then used to structure a review of policy transfer literature in the fields of transport and planning policy. Although there is only a limited amount of literature on policy transfer in this field, the findings suggest that transport has much in common with other areas of public policy in terms of the main aspects and influences on policy transfer. As well as being part of a process for introducing new ideas into countries or cities, policy transfer in the transport sector (as in other areas of public policy) can also be a highly politicised process that seeks to justify preferred solutions. Little is known about the relative importance of different parts of the transfer process or the extent to which learning about policies in other areas can influence the effectiveness of policy design in the transport arena and/or policy outcomes. The paper concludes with some research and methodological recommendations that may help to answer these questions. It is suggested that policy transfer concepts can be important to both practitioners and researchers in the transport arena, particularly given the pressures to seek solutions to accelerate progress to a more sustainable future.

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