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Research Projects

Mobilities.lab teams have a long track record of mobilities research, contributing to policy formulation, as well as collaborative design and development of new technologies with academic, public, industrial and user partners. A selection of projects is represented here, more can be found on individual members' websites.


"The Bridge Project (Bridging resources and agencies in large-scale emergency management), funded under the EU FP7 Security Theme, is one amongst several international efforts to support professionals and volunteers in mobilising information and resources for disaster response. Coordinated by SINTEF Norway, it brings together 14 academic and industrial organisations, including software developers, practitioners, and social scientists. Taking an ethnographically informed, iterative and experimental user-centred design approach, the team will develop socio-technical systems for multi-agency, cross-border disaster response that push the state of the art in information technology (IT) and professional and public practice. Fieldwork and experimental design scenarios focus on multi-modal transport hubs such as the Madrid subway and the Øresund bridge between Copenhagen (airport) and the Swedish city of Malmö. Mobilities.lab brings together Peter Wahlgren - expert in IT law (Stockholm University), Lucas Introna - expert in IT ethics (Lancaster University Management School), and Monika Büscher - expert in social science informed socio-technical innovation (Director of mobilities.lab) to lead work on social, legal and ethical opportunities and challenges of next generation disaster response.

Contact: Monika Buscher



"The CaTalyST (Citizens Transforming Society: Tools for Change) project will bring together a group of social scientists (sociology; anthropology), computer scientists (mobile computing; web2.0; distributed systems), management scientists (consumer behaviour) and designers (innovation) to develop next generation systems that empower citizens to create bottom-up innovative solutions to 'wicked' societal problems. It will promote cross-disciplinary working across Lancaster University (and beyond) between the School of Computing & Communications, Sociology, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster Environment Centre, and Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Contact: Monika Buscher


New Interaction Order

"This pilot project studies the 'new' interaction order from different empirical and analytical perspectives. Drawing on sociology, ethnomethodology, criminology, geography, and design, we are carrying out studies of 'behaviour in public places' in Manchester. This includes interdisciplinary ethnographic mobile methods, following in the footsteps of social scientist Erving Goffman and urban theorist and sociologist William Whyte.

Contact: Monika Buscher


Understanding Walking and Cycling

"Understanding Walking & Cycling is an EPSRC funded research project, a collaboration between Lancaster University, the University of Leeds and Oxford Brookes University. It is widely recognised that an increase in walking and cycling for short journeys in urban areas could significantly reduce traffic congestion, improve the quality of the urban environment, promote improved personal health, and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. This is demonstrated by a wide range of policy initiatives by national and local governments, by health authorities and a variety of non-governmental organizations. Recent reviews of research on travel behaviour have emphasised that the ways in which travel decisions are made remains poorly understood, especially in the context of complex and contingent household travel arrangements. This research seeks to fill this research gap through an in-depth analysis of household decision making with respect to short journeys in urban areas.

Contact: Colin Pooley


Design for Flexibility and Change within Health Service Providers (DFC)

NHS LogoDesign for Flexibility and Change explores how medical practitioners can mobilize local and expert domain knowledge and dovetail it with new design and managerial skills to implement the Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) framework to shape NHS service provision. Designing new health and care service models and facilities requires creative, managerial and/or design skills and this 18 month research project is part of the EPSRC funded innovation centred called HACIRIC (Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre).

Contact: Monika Buscher


Innovative media for a digital economy

"In this research cluster, we investigate digital economy practices that are emerging around the capabilities of social, mobile and pervasive technologies. We explore how we can develop new services, new forms of exchange and interaction that benefit the whole of the UK economy.

Further information at

Contact: Monika Buscher


NEMO - Networked Embedded Models and Memories of Physical Work Activity

The NEMO project is an EPSRC-funded collaborative effort by the Departments of Computing, Management Science and Psychology at Lancaster University aimed at the inter-disciplinary investigation of ubiquitous computing technologies and embedded wireless systems for industrial workplaces. The focal point of the project is the development and use of ‘smart artefacts', i.e. work-related objects such as tools and containers augmented with embedded computing, sensing and wireless communication capabilities.

Contact: Gerd Kortuem



PalCom - Palpable Computing: A new perspective on Ambient Computing -FP6 IST Future and Emerging Technologies, 2004-7.

"As computing technologies become an ever more 'invisible' and powerful part of our mobile lives, it is crucial that people are supported in understanding what these technologies are doing and what they could do for them.

Contact: Monika Buscher



WorkSPACE , Distributed Work Support through Component Based SPAtial Computing Environments, FP5 IST Future and Emerging Technologies, 2000-3.

"Mobile workers often generate dynamic configurations of spaces, information, and people - within the office, but also beyond. These practices pose great challenges to the computer as-we-know-it today and open up a range of opportunities for innovative design. Spatial computing environments respond to these challenges. They exploit technical possibilities to support the social and spatial organization of work.

Contact: Monika Buscher

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