The spread of urban tramway services in the British Isles : a scales approach
The advent of the tramway was a major innovation in urban transport provision and the introduction of tramway services was a landmark in the urban history of a large number of towns and cities in the British Isles. This work is concerned with the spread of tramway services at the national, regional and local scales. The date of introduction of services and the eventual density of the tramway network were used as measures of spread. Analysis of the diffusion patterns revealed changes in the incidence and intensity of hierarchical and contagious elements both over time and at different scales. In addition the pattern analysis revealed a complex of particularities within the overall diffusion sequences which suggested that, in this instance at least, attempts to construct rigid mathematical models of diffusion patterns would bear little fruit. Particularly at the national and regional scales and on occasions even within individual towns the spread of tramway services was in the hands of more than one company or authority and thus analysis of the processes behind the formal patterns proved to be a difficult task. At the national scale analysis of the 'behaviour' of a number of tramway promoters provided a clue to a clearer understanding of the 'diffusion agencies' partly responsible for the observed hierarchical patterns. Lowering the level of resolution to the spread of tramway services in Greater London the work suggested that while the importance of a small group of tramway promoters was still apparent, municipal enterprise was also a force in spreading and integrating the tramway network. Finally at the local scale attention was switched to the 'adoption' side of the diffusion equation and insight was gained into the 'stages' involved in the initial introduction and adequate expansion of tramway services within a town.