How are you going to cope? An RDRF Guide to Survival: Part Two – Basic Texts

You can get comforted by visions of alternative transport scenarios or just find out similar souls arguing against the status quo. But at some stage fighting against the War for the Careless and Subsidised Motorist needs some heavier theoretical ammunition.
It’s time to start reading again and back to some basic texts.
If you have been through professional or academic training as a transport professional what I suggest below will challenge some of the fundamentals you’ve been taught. But coping doesn’t mean acceptance of the status quo: it means learning what’s wrong with it. Our strategy for survival involves challenging preconceptions.
So here’s a list of suggested reading

Death on the Streets: cars and the mythology of road safety by Robert Davis. The publication of this book in 1992 led to the conference which generated the formation of the RDRF. Still relevant, although the references are from twenty years ago.
Hopefully this will be online on this site by the end of 2011, meanwhile copies are available by contacting

The work of John Adams has been pivotal to the RDR agenda. Through painstaking analysis of the effects of “road safety” interventions, study of the macrosocial work of Reuben Smeed and the evidence for adaptive behaviour in risk taking of various kinds, Adams has elaborated on the significance of adaptive behaviour (risk compensation). Luckily most of this work is available free online: go to .:
Risk and Freedom: the record of road safety regulation is the classic text. Risk is an update which moves in to a wider consideration of how we can consider ways of analysing risk. If you read through these texts you should be well equipped to understand risk compensation and be in a position to develop the RDR imagination!
Transport Planning: Vision and Practice from 1981 is a radical interpretation of what we would now called “sustainable transport”. The easiest of the works is One False Move (with Hillman and Whitelegg) the evidence on declining independent children’s mobility with the increase in motorisation and road danger.
Finally, don’t forget he essays on the Adams website as well.

Mayer Hillman’s work is on see the Key Publications on Transport, Cycling and Walking and Climate ChangeFor a good site presenting the evidence on a crucial issue, go to the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation at
For something easier: for bite-sized pieces of evidence on the benefits of cycling and walking, go to the Essential Evidence website .

And of course, regularly updated ….