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"A free-gift to the city of Bristol": Richard Cottrell's Avon Metro project and the changing nature of urban centre transport solutions, government and funding, 1979 - 1992.

Bristol student theses: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


  • Gary Parsons

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This research identifies that the problems in the structure and finances of the non-metropolitan county of Avon led Richard Cottrell to attempt to recraft transport governance and stimulate urban regeneration using a unique expression of neoliberal ideas. This led to a private company called Advanced Transport for Avon to attempt to build and control a metro system in the city of Bristol without involvement from either tier of local government. Whilst this project was unsuccessful, it was an expression of neoliberalism far more than government neoliberal policies for regeneration at this time, such as enterprise zones and urban development corporations. The project also had key influences on the urban design of the city, attitudes to the automobile and cycling infrastructure both locally and nationally which, until now have been underappreciated. This work charts the extremities and limitations of the neoliberal agenda through the 1980s and early 1990s and the conditions for and consequences of this agenda through a project that attempted to push the boundaries on neoliberalism.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date23 Jan 2019

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