Learning through policy transfer? Reviewing a decade of scholarship for the field of transport

Published: 11 November 2022

Attempts to pursue sustainable mobility face widespread challenges. One key way of approaching these challenges is through policy transfer and policy learning; indeed, the practice of learning from elsewhere is encouraged at various levels of government. This paper contends that a better understanding of what facilitates learning through policy transfer might support further change, yet such examinations remain underdeveloped in the field of transport. This paper synthesises key concepts and factors that drive this learning process, by reviewing 65 papers on transport policy published between 2011 and 2020. Our findings testify to the growing prevalence of policy transfer research and emerging critical perspectives on the transfer and translation of global ideas. We uncover critical factors of the learning process, including settings where learning takes place, inter-actor relations, and organisational and institutional patterns. While most papers reviewed here aimed to examine learning, few employ theories to measure the concept. Consequently, one of our main conclusions is that relatively little is known about how and to what extent learning, triggered by experiences from other contexts, is actually transformed into action. Suggestions include more systematically focusing on organisational and institutional dimensions and concerted trans-disciplinary efforts to close the gap between research and practice.

Glaser, M., Bertolini, L., Te Brömmelstroet, M., Blake, O., & Ellingson, C. (2022). Learning through policy transfer? Reviewing a decade of scholarship for the field of transport. Transport reviews42(5), 626-644. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01441647.2021.2003472

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