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Leading Transport Transitions. An Executive Education Programme for city leaders transforming urban mobility

Programme Overview

Leading Transport Transitions is a tailored leadership programme to support city leaders transform urban mobility. Recognising unprecedented motorisation, persisting congestion, new risks of social exclusion and record levels of transport-related carbon emissions, this executive education programme helps city leaders build context-specific strategies for transitioning to affordable, safe, low-carbon and inclusive urban mobility. The programme is organised and delivered by a strategic partnership between the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The collaboration brings together TUMI‘s expertise in facilitating urban mobility transformation and LSE’s commitment to policy-oriented research and education for the betterment of society as one of the foremost social science universities in the world.

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Programme Details

Leading Transport Transitions provides policy and leadership training for urban mobility leaders in emerging and developing economies. It has been designed for 15-20 mayors and high-level urban transport leaders to advance on their knowledge and skills in the analysis, planning and delivery of progressive urban transport policies, programmes and projects. The programme will also strengthen individual leadership skills to enable urban transport transitions in their cities and to operate more effectively in politically and institutionally complex urban environments. This executive programme will be delivered through the following modular approach combining an upfront online module with a follow-up in-person module.

Online Module (2024)

City leaders will review the learning material on a dedicated digital platform over five weeks. They will have access to planning and policy sessions alongside leadership sessions, completed at their own pace on a weekly basis. Policy sessions feature strategic insights into contemporary transport trends and opportunities for new urban mobility. It will also provide city leaders with best practices and provoking debates on urban street space use.  Leadership sessions will set the basis for city leaders to identify and influence dominant structures and cultural norms that sustain the existing system by managing confronting interests amongst actors through behavioural changes and negotiation strategies. Module 1 will then include two live sessions online with the LSE Cities’ world-leading faculty.

Urban Leadership Stories will be presented for all online sessions: City A (Leader A); City B (Leader B); City C (Leader C) case.

Details on the content of these sessions is described below:

Online Session O1 | Introduction & Welcome

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

This 2024 Leading Urban Mobility Change Programme introductory session will welcome participants with a formal introduction of TUMI, GIZ, LSE, LSE Cities and its faculty. The prerecorded online session will also provide an overview of the programme, summarise the purpose and strategy of the content and offer logistical information required for Modules 1 & 2. Lastly, the session will include inspiring ideas/texts/press releases on contemporary urban mobility policies and interventions as a way to warm up and engage our participants in the topic and introduce the live-online review sessions of module 1.

Online Session O2 | The Case for Transforming Urban Mobility (Policy)

Faculty: Philipp Rode

This introductory online session provides an overview on the challenges and opportunities linked to the urban transport sector. It differentiates between core accessibility issues linked to technology, urban fragmentation, affordability, poverty, infrastructure and service deficits; and negative externalities of transport such as carbon emissions, air pollution, road crashes and physical inactivity. Conventional transport planning tends to disregard how cities generate access to opportunities by combining mobility – the ease of physical movement of people and goods – and by physical proximity – the co-location of different urban functions. By focusing on complementary strategies of compact and connected urban development, urban accessibility can be achieved in a more equitable, sustainable and efficient way. Besides introducing the broader urban accessibility concept, this session reviews contemporary opportunities for new technologies, general trends of transport and urban development as well as best practice cases for urban compaction, hyper localisation and sustainable transport.

Live-online Review Session O1 and O2

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

The first live-online review session aims to support the overall introduction to the programme and builds on the overview, learnings and key topics of sessions 1 & 2. It will also serve as the first official live introduction to all international peers, LSE faculty and GIZ colleagues.

Online Session O3 | The Politics of Urban Transport (Policy)

Faculty: Philipp Rode

This online session is dedicated to an understanding of urban transport as a complex and challenging field of politics confronted with multidimensional inequalities, entrenched interests and power dynamics. It will consider the political economy of transport, identify rent-seeking behaviour and risks of corruption. The session acknowledges that transport policy is not a domain of rational decision making for optimising accessibility in cities but confronted with industrial policy demands, employment considerations, significant infrastructural lock-in as well as aspirational car cultures difficult to overcome. The session recognises that different timescales for transport decision making are often at odds with more short-term election cycles and that strategic transport developments require the support of a broad coalition of stakeholders to successfully implement plans.

Online Session O4 | Understanding the System (Leadership)

Faculty: Savvas Verdis

This online session introduces participants to the need of applying ‘a systems leadership lens’ for understanding complex urban challenges and the need to work with others to help see systems more holistically. Building on the previous session, participants learn to analyse how the current (transport) system supports the livelihoods and interests of a diverse range of stakeholders, the legal and institutional structures, and the cultural narratives in the city. They make use of tailored tools (such as the Iceberg Model) to understand the dominant system. Mapping city-specific systems, including stakeholders benefiting and negatively impacted by the dominant system, is conducted making use of a digital whiteboard.

Live-online Review Session O3 and O4

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

The second live-online session invites city leaders to discuss their current systems and opportunities for new urban mobility and accessibility solutions, identifying key trends, political constraints and other barriers and synergies across the group.

Online Session O5 | Managing Streets as Contested Space (Policy)

Faculty: Philipp Rode | Guest Lecturer: Skye Duncan

This session focuses on the most contested part of urban transport systems: the street. Confronted with competing demands of movement and place functions, urban streets and their use are commonly the subject of politicised debates and decisions of transport policy. The session introduces the fundamentals of urban street use, their space demands and corresponding design approaches. It employs new street design guidelines to inform a discussion on transforming urban street spaces that target a new balance between place and movement function. It relates the broader notion of city access of Session O1 to the local scale and concerns about micro- accessibility. The session also establishes the foundations for considering fairness in street use, vulnerable street users and a feminist approach to place-making.

Online Session O6 | Inducing Behaviour Change (Leadership)

Faculty: Savvas Verdis and Kate Laffan

This session moves beyond design and infrastructure developments and explores how to secure sustained behaviour change on the ground. The session reviews key factors influencing behaviours in the city and how these factors can be addressed by policy interventions. The session introduces the COM-B framework that will participants to understand the obstacles preventing citizens from achieving the behavioural outcomes required to transform urban mobility. City leaders will use the Behaviour Change Wheel to identify the obstacles in their city and design interventions for sustaining behavioural change.

Live-online Review Session O5 and O6

Faculty: Philipp Rode, Savvas Verdis , Kate Laffan, Skye Duncan

The third live-online review session will consist of a live online session that aim to build on learnings and key topics of sessions 5 & 6. It will invite city leaders to discuss around the most politicised debates and decisions of transport policy in their local contexts, and the behavioural frameworks and strategies available to advance towards more sustainble solutions. They will be asked to position their city across the spectrum from traditional, traffic- oriented transport policy to access-oriented new urban mobility and to identify a specific interventions and challenges to be addressed which will ultimately shape their ‘agenda’.

In-person Module (2024)

City leaders will join a 3-day in person module in London in 2024. This module focuses on pro-active strategy development as part of the Transitions Lab supported by faculty alongside site and 3 visits in London. Through interactive sessions and workshops, city leaders will be able to prepare a specific initiative for urban transport transitions in their cities. These sessions will build on Module 1, introduce additional content and apply the learning as part of actionable interventions.

Day 1 ‘Shaping your policy agenda’

Session 1.1 | Welcome and Agenda Setting

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

City leaders are asked to introduce a specific interventions and challenges which they plan to be working on during the Transitions Lab. They will be asked to make suggestions on how these interventions could be improved with a compact and connected urban development agenda in mind. During Session 1 and throughout the day, particiants will have the opportunity to reconsider some key elements on their agendas by accessing alternative assessment methods that can be implemented in their cities while discussing the advantages and disadvantages of these alternatives.

Session 1.2 | Data, Planning and Policy

Faculty: Philipp Rode | Guest Lecturer: Luis Willumsen

The session reviews data collection and analysis techniques to highlight critical shortcomings and, above all, the embedded biases of these approaches towards the status quo. The session proposes alternative analysis methods and new approaches to experimentation in the transport sector alongside the use of big data, scenario modelling and qualitative approaches to mobility analysis. The planning and policy component is dedicated to an overview on transport governance reforms and key policy instruments enabling urban transport transitions. This part of the session is based on LSE Cities research and present the findings of various policy and research projects that have identified a clear hierarchy of transport policy interventions that may be most capable of delivering the desired changes. Particular attention will be paid to short-term behaviour change acknowledging the requirements of decarbonising the urban transport sector in the short term. Participants will work with their colleagues utilising an LSE Cities framework for identifying transport policy reforms most relevant for a given context.

Visit 1 | Walking Tour ‘Central London Street Design’

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

Session 1.3 | Finance and Funding

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Tony Travers | Guest Lecturer: Yolisa Kani Mashilwane

[to be updated] This session addresses a central concern of urban transport leaders and provides an overview on novel approaches and experiments for transport finance and funding. This will include established fare-based revenue and user charges (partially challenges as a result of post-COVID mobility), tax subsidies and government grants, as well as new capture mechanisms above all land value capture. This introduction, alongside best practice cases, will be centrally linked to the increasingly central issue of fairness in the transport sector. The latter will build on recent frameworks for justice and equity in the transport sector as well as broader notions of fair accessibility and the right to the city.  Participants will be asked to identify tailored solutions and packages for transport finance while assessing the fairness of different approaches. Learning from existing practices and analysing their merits and shortcomings will also establish the link to the corresponding leadership session on ‘facing the media’.


Day 2 Transition Lab ‘Coalition Building’

Session 2.1 | From Strategy to Tactics

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis | Guest Lecturer: Maria Vassilakou

These sessions help participants differentiate and link strategic thinking with tactical interventions. Whilst appreciating the differences between the two terminologies, participants will be asked to suggest opportunities they may have as part of a broader effort to facilitate change and opportunities in which tactics can complement strategies. Participants will learn about specific policy and design tactics and cognitive shortcuts that will help them understand contextual aspects to act more sensibly when executing public policies. The sessions will include practical examples of tactics deployed to frame desired changes and become better operators in complex political environments. Having understood the status quo system, participants will now have enough inputs to upgrade their agendas and get into building a vision of the desired future. The emphasis will be on creating a strategic vision based on a set of measurable environmental, social, economic and behavioural outcomes in the city.

Session 2.2 | Stakeholders, Barriers and Synergies

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis | Guest Lecturer: Maria Vassilakou

This session expands the engagement with critical implementation tactics by focusing on stakeholder analysis and approaches to identifying barriers and synergies related to planned transport interventions. The participants are introduced to different stakeholder mapping techniques which are then used to analyse the dynamics between key actors relevant for implementing specific transport transitions as identified by city representatives. An important element of this task is to clearly differentiate supporting, opposing and neutral actors while identifying approaches to engage with fixed and flexible positions. Similarly, a systematic approach to unpacking key political and administrative barriers is discussed and applied to city cases alongside mitigation strategies.

Visit 2 | Organisation Visit ‘Transport for London’

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Ben Plowden

Session 2.3 | Negotiation

Faculty: Savvas Verdis | Guest Facilitator: Dori Sallai

This session will introduce participants to ways of negotiating positively with conflicting stakeholders. We will use a negotiation case on infrastructure development to introduce a number of key approaches to negotiation. This will include entering into negotiations with target and reservation points and exploring so called zones of possible agreement and your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. More importantly, we will look at negotiation beyond fixed positions  or positional bargaining and more around shared interests where negotiation becomes integrative rather than distributive.

Day 3 Transition Lab ‘Storytelling’

Session 3.1 | Narrative and Campaign Building

Faculty: Savvas Verdis

City leaders focus on building disruptive stories and campaigns to change the dominant narratives and system that is supporting unsustainable urban mobility in their cities. This will be done through a method called Public Narrative, where leaders will develop and link their ‘Story of Self’ (why they have been called to a position of transport leadership) to the ‘Story of Us’ (why we would all benefit from a sustainable transport future) and the ‘Story of Now’ (why this is urgent and we need to take action today). These stories are aimed to activate shared values amongst audiences that they are trying to mobilise and organise for systemic change. They will revisit the system diagnosed in the online module to help focus disruptive campaigns in so-called leverage points where the dominant system is at its weakest. In this session, they will be asked to create either their Public Narrative or a storyboard of their campaign.

Session 3.2 | Facing the Media

Faculty: Savvas Verdis | Guest Facilitator: Rachel Harvey

City leaders will undergo a media and negotiation training. We will then focus our attention on how to effectively communicate the vision to stakeholders in the city. Deliverables: Although all participants will have access to the digital session, Cities selected for the City Session will be asked to write a press release of their vision and defend this in a mock television interview with a BBC journalist.

Visit 3 | Cycling Tour ‘Superhighways’

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

Session 3.4 | Key Takeaways and Open Discussion

Faculty: Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis

This final session will aim to discuss with participants the key takeaways and have an open discussion on the lessons learnt.




Teaching Format: Digital
Starting Date: Scheduled
Duration: 5 weeks
Language: English

Leading  Transport  Transitions. An Executive Education Programme for city leaders transforming urban mobility