PATREC Seminar – Urban Transport Inequalities, Malta

Road in Malta

Urban Transport Inequalities: the case of Malta

Maria Attard
Professor in Geography, Director of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, University of Malta

Thursday, 12 December 2019 – 3:00PM to 4:30PM

Tea and coffee will be served from 3:00PM for a 3:30PM start.

at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC),
Level 2, 1002 Hay Street, Perth

This is a FREE of charge event, but please RSVP for catering purposes.

The implications of growing car travel in urban areas have been the subject of many studies. Impacts include air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, road accidents and more recently climate change. The uneven distribution of these burdens identifies vulnerable groups in society that benefit little from transport investments that cater solely for the car (Martens et al., 2012; Lucas, 2012).

The archipelago of Malta is just 316km2 and lies at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta gained independence from the British in 1964, became a republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in 2004. The population stands at 500,000 but the islands receive 2 million tourists annually. Economic growth and population increase have resulted in rapid urbanisation and high car ownership. Land and space resources are limited and highly contested with land use planning being particularly weak. As a result of this, the islands register high levels of congestion, air and noise pollution, increasing health impacts and overall decline in the quality of urban areas due to the overbearing presence of the car.

Inspired by Vasconcellos (2014) and Gössling (2016), this study aims to describe the islands’ transport system and investigates transport inequities through indicators such as household expenditure, accidents, urban space distribution and exclusion. The study also reviews current transport policies and tries to frame the issues of equity and social sustainability within the island’s policy context. The presentation concludes with a call for more equitable policy but also for further research in similar small to medium-sized communities.

Professor Maria Attard is Head of Geography and Director of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the University of Malta. She specialises in urban transport, policy and project implementation. Between 2002-2009 she was involved in major transport projects in the islands and implemented road pricing, park and ride and pedestrianisation projects in the capital, Valletta. She studied at the University of Malta and completed her PhD in 2006 at UCL (London) and has published in the areas of urban transport, planning and policy. She is Co-Editor of the journal Research in Transportation Business and Management, Associate Editor of the journal Case Studies on Transport Policy and co-editor of the Emerald Book Series on Transport and Sustainability.

The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) conducts collaborative, applied research and teaching in support of policy in the connected spaces of transport and land use planning in Western Australia.