Divergence or convergence? Devolution and transport policy in the United Kingdom
We examine the impact of devolution in the United Kingdom on transport policies in the first two terms of devolved government, from 1999/2000 to 2007/08. In particular, we discuss the nature and extent of policy convergence and divergence between the devolved territories (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and London) and England (wherein responsibility for policy formulation remains with the UK government at Westminster), and between the devolved territories themselves. Our analysis builds on existing work on devolution and public policy not only through its focus on transport policy, but also by distinguishing between ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ dimensions of policy divergence and convergence, referring to relations between territories and to links to previous policies adopted within the same territory, respectively. Findings point to a convergence of overarching transport strategies and a complex picture of both convergence and divergence in terms of specific policy measures. The latter provides evidence of a devolution effect on transport policy.
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