The Book

As part of the Why Travel? project we will be publishing a book, due for publication in June 2021 by Bristol University Press.

Why Travel?book cover image - footprints in sand

See more information and pre-order the book here.

Why travel? What motivations underpin the journeys we make? And how can we make decisions that improve our travel experiences?

Arguing that the desire to move is a purpose in itself, this book brings together leading experts to provide insights from multiple viewpoints across the sciences, arts and humanities. Together, they examine key travel motivations, including the importance of travel for human well-being, as well as how this can reconciled with challenges such as reducing our carbon footprint, adapting new mobility technologies, and improving the quality of our journeys.

The book shows how our travel choices are shaped by a wide range of social, physical, psychological and cultural factors, which have profound implications for the design of future transport policies.

Offering thought-provoking and practical new perspectives, this fascinating book will be essential for all those who have ever wondered why we travel and how it relates to our fundamental needs.

For more information and to order the book, please visit:


Kris Beuret OBE is the Director of Social Research Associates (SRA). She is a sociologist, previously an academic, and a member of the Independent Transport Commission and Highways England’s Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Kris has advised the House of Commons Transport Committee, TfL, the DfT and overseas governments on disability and diversity issues.

Dr Matthew Niblett is Director of the Independent Transport Commission and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He oversees the ITC’s research portfolio and has presented findings from this research to Ministers and Parliamentary Select Committee enquiries. Matthew holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford and was a Senior Research Associate at Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit.


1) Why Travel? An Introduction – Matthew Niblett and Kris Beuret

Part I: Fundamental Motivations
2) Biological Perspectives on Travel – Charles Pasternak
3) Travel and The Mind – Tony Hiss
4) Philosophy and Travel: The Meaning of Movement – Matthew Niblett
5) The Economics of travel: it’s not the destination, it’s the journey – Matthew Dillon and Alexander Jan

Part II: Travel for exploration and knowing ourselves
6) Why Travel? The Sociological Perspective – Kris Beuret and Roger Hall
7) Religious and Spiritual Travel – Alison Kuznets
8) Travel in Art and Literature – Alison Kuznets and Matthew Niblett
9) Why People Travel: An Anthropological View – Tom Selwyn
10) Tourist Travel – Hazel Andrews
11) Travel as Exploration: Science, the Unknown, and Personal Discovery – Emily Thomas

Part III: Limits and New Horizons
12) Technology and Travel – Glenn Lyons
13) Placemaking and Travel: The city is where the people choose to go – Deborah Saunt and Tom Greenall
14) Travel’s Place in the Environment – Terry Hill
15) Conclusion: What have we learnt? – Kris Beuret and Matthew Niblett