As far as I know, the Portuguese and most other European societies are physically very fit people. They enjoy a nice climate all year round, are curled up to the confines of home for six months (until the beginning of July or so, when people start hitting the beaches for holidays), eat three lunches a day 3 times a week, are very much a dine out culture and yet they manage to stick on a pencil frame.
Add to all these indulgences, these night long snack bars/ take away places – which are open all night long just like the one below my apartment. And if you think they have a lean business, well congratulations. Absolutely wrong. By the time I am done jogging (yeah, new habit. desperate times.. desperate measures.. likewise..), the queue to hog a midnight snack reaches outside towards the sidewalk.
And I stand there bewildered looking down. I see these 100 pound women (they might struggle to get a grip if the cyclonic storms strike right now) walking into the shack and off it grabbing a piece of their favourite hamburger. And then I look at myself. Midnight snacks are sure delightful. But I feel, I put on weight even when I drink water.
The idea here is to engage in an exploratory analysis assessing the impacts of accessibility to transport systems towards the concept of social exclusion. Social exclusion according to Litman (2003)¹ is defined as follows:
Social exclusion refers to constraints that prevent people from participating adequately in society, including education, employment, public services and activities. Inadequate transport sometimes contributes to social exclusion, particularly for people who live in an automobile dependent community and are physically disabled, low income or unable to own and drive a personal automobile.
Expected results on this line of research include the identification of areas which have been affected by social exclusion in relation to transport, statistical determination of the impact of accessibility as a major factor towards social exclusion, overview of at risk groups towards social exclusion in relation to transport (category approach) , extent of improvement in the social exclusion parameters – possible through the introduction of virtual mobility through the advent of the internet amongst others.
Methodology to be adopted will involve large amounts of data collection – both on trip information (attractions and generations) and demographic data (age, sex, income, educational details of the road users). Identification of indicators which play a crucial factor in social exclusion (both region specific as well as conventional) and modelling to get the desired results.
Significance of work on this realm is expectantly high since sustainable development is a buzz word for anything and everything of today’s world. More often, when we go towards sustainability, stress is always on the environmental and economic realms of it, hardly focussing on the social impacts. Particularly in transport, where it is a general feeling that the non performance or deficiency of it ends up playing a very major role in excluding a certain section of the people for no fault of theirs.
Inspiration for this came up when I went on randomly reading some prior research done in the MIT Portugal Program, CTIS Master’s programme by a good friend John Pritchard. His work dealt with the assessment of the role played by accessibility as a major factor in social exclusion. Case Study was Lisbon, Portugal – the data of which were adopted from the SCUSSE project and the surveys conducted in the years 1994 (revised: 2009) among others. _______________________________________________________________________________
1 – Litman 2003. Social Inclusion As A Transport Planning Issue in Canada. Full Report