This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the strategic capital development of rail transport. It outlines the role of urban transportation systems and the geographical structures of local governance to give a comprehensive statement of the theoretical background underpinning the subsequent case studies of rail transport policy-making in the Merseyside and Strathclyde study areas. The book explains the impacts of urban transport upon the environment and examines the social geography of the city, leading to a review of the range of potential policies aimed at providing a solution to the 'urban transportation problem'. It compares the agreed strategic policy positions of the Passenger Transport Authorities and Executives with the personal aspirations of regime members. The book provides comprehensive comparison between the two case studies in order to compare the nature of the impacts on rail transport policy decision-making in each region.