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WKU geographer revisits transportation project in Britain

University Distinguished Professor of Geography Dr. David Keeling completed a 10-day research project in rural Lincolnshire at the end of May.

Dr. David Keeling returned to rural Lincolnshire to resurvey an infrastructure upgrade project along Britain's Network Rail. Top photo: New automatic barrier-controlled crossings. Bottom photo: Bridge realignment work underway along the route.

Dr. David Keeling recently returned to rural Lincolnshire to resurvey an infrastructure upgrade project along Britain’s Network Rail. Top photo: New automatic barrier-controlled crossings have been added. Bottom photo: Bridge realignment work is under way along the route.

In many developed economies like Europe, concerns about “green” ideologies, the long-term impacts of climate change, and the lag between transport infrastructure supply and demand that creates traffic-flow problems and capacity constraints have spurred concerns about national transport strategies and their impacts at myriad scales.

When Britain’s Network Rail, the government’s core infrastructure provider and manager, announced a $450 million upgrade project for rural Lincolnshire in 2008, Dr. Keeling worked with local consultant Robert Doughty to understand the implications of infrastructural upgrades. Changes in government and delays in funding pushed back the start date for construction to January 2014, so Dr. Keeling returned to Lincolnshire in mid-May to resurvey the project and consult with local officials and other interested parties to understand the implications of the project.

A general description of the project by Dr. Keeling and Doughty was published several years ago in FOCUS on Geography. This recent site visit included an assessment of the 173 contact points between people and the rail corridor along the 150-kilometer route, along with visual assessment and analysis of the construction work underway.

Many of the old manual crossings have to be upgraded to automatic barrier-controlled crossings, and the entire length of the corridor has to be re-engineered to accommodate container traffic. This includes raising overpasses and footbridges, and eliminating old manually operated gated crossings. Dr. Keeling, head of WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology, aims to submit the research to the Journal of Transport Geography over the next six months.

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555.

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