Skip to main content
Close Menu Open Menu

Research into homeworkers’ unsustainable travel wins RTPI award

Timely research revealing the unsustainable travel patterns of homeworkers has won the Early Career Researcher Award at the 2020 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence.

The paper, Telecommuting and other trips: an English case study, examines the implications of non-work travel on the sustainability of telecommuters’ travel patterns by comparing the travel behaviours of those who work from home at least once a week with other working adults.

The researchers conclude that by proactively addressing the accessibility of non-work destinations, planners can help telecommuters travel more sustainably.

Research for the paper was conducted by Dr Hannah Budnitz MRTPI from the University of Birmingham with Professor Lee Chapman, also from the University of Birmingham, and Dr Emmanouil Tranos from the University of Bristol.

Announcing the award, judge Janet Askew MRTPI said:

“The judges considered that this very relevant piece of research has the potential to make a vital contribution to policy-making for the post-COVID era.

“The counter-intuitive findings of the research concluded that the impact of online access to work, which allows for living in more dispersed locations, results in more unsustainable transport patterns, including increased car dependency as well as reduced physical activity.

“The work carried out was thorough and robust, offering the potential for further research into sustainable land use and transport planning, with wider application internationally.” 

Elsewhere, the Sir Peter Hall Award for Research Excellence was awarded to Professor Tony Crook FRTPI(Rtd) from the University of Sheffield and Professor Christine Whitehead HonMRTPI from the London School of Economics for their entry Capturing development value, principles and practice: why is it so difficult? The paper looks at how far ‘unearned increments’, particularly those arising with planning permission, should be taxed for the public good.

Congratulating Professors Crook and Whitehead, judges Jan Bessell FRTPI, Jim Birrell MRTPI and Nick Gallent FRTPI said:

“The judges considered this an excellent piece of new and innovative research, building further on a sustained body of expert work in this area from the authors. The work was judged to be of critical importance to contemporary planning debate.

“Drawing on English experience, it provides transferrable lessons and will no doubt be a key resource for understanding value capture generally and planning-based value capture in particular.”

The winner of the Student Award was Jacob George of Newcastle University for his research entitled Accommodation Through Deregulation: Understanding the Social Impacts of Office-Residential Permitted Development in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Planning Practitioner Award went to the Place Shaping Team at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for its High Density Living Supplementary Planning Document.

The judging panel for this year’s Research Awards comprised 30 public and private sector representatives as well as academics. The winners of all four categories were announced on 7 September in an online ceremony.

RTPI President Sue Manns FRTPI said: “The Research Awards are one way the Institute promotes high-quality and impactful research and ensures it helps to improve planning practice across the UK and Ireland.

“This year’s award entries addressed a diverse range of issues faced by the planning profession in its delivery of high quality, sustainable and healthy communities. They shine a light on fantastic research from Chartered members and accredited planning schools from around the world.”


For more information on the winning and commended research at this year’s RTPI Awards for Research Excellence, visit

Back to top