Learning from abroad: An interdisciplinary exploration of knowledge transfer in the transport domain

A growing body of work conceptualizes study visits or study tours as a tool to accelerate policy transfer of, for example, best practices. Participation in study tours appears increasingly common for city management and decision makers involved in transportation policy. This paper extends current research to explore how knowledge gained from study tours transfers to an organizational or inter-organizational level. The authors aim to generate insights about specific characteristics of study tours that facilitate knowledge transfer. To do so, this study conceptualizes study tours as “trainings”, borrowing concepts and metrics from human resource development (HRD) literature on “learning transfer”. The authors employ a mixed-method approach. A survey was conducted (n = 109) with US-based city management and officials who participated in study tours on cycling policies. Results demonstrate four influential characteristics of study tours: individual learning, leadership participation, knowledge integration activities, and positive group dynamics. In-depth interviews (n = 15) suggest nuances of these mechanisms. The paper concludes with a reflection of how transportation organizations learn from study tours.


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  • Accession Number: 01751842
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 14 2020 5:57PM