Why Does Demand-Based Transport Planning Persist? Insights from Social Practice Theory

Varsolo Sunio, University of Asia and the Pacific
Alexis Fillone, De La Salle University
Raymund Paolo Abad, De La Salle University
Joyce Rivera, Department of Transportation, Philippines
Marie Danielle Guillen, Ateneo de Manila University


The need to shift to an equity-oriented transport planning has long been acknowledged, but its use in actual practice by planners and practitioners is limited. Using a dataset from the practice of transport planning in Western Visayas, Philippines, we provide more comprehensive evidence from the perspective of social practice theory for the pervasiveness of the demand-based epistemic framework on public transport planning – both in the planning process and in the elements of practice. Our results reveal a high degree of institutionalization and couplings among the elements which embed them as the underlying rationality at the core of the process and practice, sidelining the elements of equity-based planning. Such couplings manifest in the ways by which meanings are codified into formal practices through a translation into material structures, competences, and routines. We recommend pathways for dis-embedding the demand-based framework and embedding an equity-based epistemic in transport planning.