The Impact of Alternative Active Travel on People’s Sport, Health and Mobile Lives

The studentships will follow Birmingham City University’s ‘PhD Classic’ Doctoral Training Grant funding model.

This funding model includes a 36 month fully funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, which comprises a tax-free stipend paid monthly (2024/5 - £19,237) per year and a Full Time Fee Scholarship for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD. 

PhD Classic studentship opportunities are open to UK, EU and Overseas applicants. All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the project proposal form,ensuring that you quote the project code reference, and then complete the online applicationwhere you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement.

You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s).   

Deadline for Applications

The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Tuesday 30th April 2024 for a start date of the 2nd September 2024.

Project Title: The Impact of Alternative Active Travel on People’s Sport, Health and Mobile Lives

Project Code: TranSport-39939640

Project Description:

Active travel is rapidly becoming a societal force, motivated by environmental consciousness, financial considerations, health imperatives, and personal fulfilment aspirations. Yet, current research, policy and practice confines its focus primarily to walking and cycling, neglecting an entire spectrum of alternative active travel options, including running, kick-scooting, skateboarding, roller-skating, manual wheelchair use, skiing, and kayaking. Taking forward Cook et al.'s (2022) invitation to reimagine active travel, this project explores a broader range of alternative modes to better understand these practices and their impact, leading to increased opportunities for participation in and rewards from active travel for individuals and societies.

The study aims to uncover how people engage with alternative active travel modes, exploring their experiences and the implications. These activities not only contribute to healthier and more sustainable lifestyles but also offer inclusive and enjoyable alternatives to the predominant emphasis on walking and cycling. Doing so, this project adopts an interdisciplinary approach that integrates sport and leisure studies, transport and mobility studies, and health studies to offer new perspectives on active travel. 

Employing rigorous mixed methods, including surveys and (mobile) interviews, the research seeks to understand the use, experience, and effects of alternative active travel. The project's potential contributions are vast, addressing a critical gap in understanding these overlooked practices and offering empirical and theoretical insights into the intersection of sport, health and transport. It has the capacity to influence policies and social futures around healthy, sustainable travel and sport, physical activity and exercise. 

Anticipated Findings and Contribution to Knowledge:

This project will advance understanding across a variety of fronts, with anticipated findings and contributions to knowledge including: 

• New Empirical Insights into the use, experience and implications of alternative active travel modes, such as skateboarding, kick-scooting, rollerblading, kayaking and skiing. Knowledge about the use of these modes for transport purposes is extremely slim, particularly for those water and snow-based modes. Many advances could be made regarding the demographics, distances, frequencies, motivations, perceptions, emotions, sensations, affects, impacts and consequences of these modes for individuals and societies. In turn, these findings will provide new understanding of how sport, physical activity and travel are engaged, take place, and can be maintained in everyday life to fulfil a variety of different ambitions, desires or needs. The project will offer a rich window into how sport, health and mobile lives unfold in contemporary accelerated societies.  

• New Theoretical Insights will emerge from the challenging of sport, transport and active travel in this project. The alternative active travel modes under scrutiny defy easy categorisation as either sport or transport, and negotiating this will develop new conceptual understandings of these key categories, terms, and their intersection, simultaneously questioning the role and function of them in society more widely. 

• New Policy and Practice Recommendations will develop from the study, particularly around the potential of alternative active travel modes for individuals as well as transport and sport agendas, facilitators of these modes, the barriers faced, and possible solutions to better support, enable and encourage alternative active travel.

Contact (and Director of Studies for this project): Dr Simon Cook -

Link to Course Page