Two thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050 (United Nations 2008). Congestion and inefficient transport facilities pose a significant challenge for their citizens, for transport policy makers and planners and enterprises. With rising motorisation (especially in Brazil, India, Russia and China) and highly saturated car markets in Europe and the US, densely populated cities are the first regions to suffer from environmental consequences such as air and noise pollution. In addition, income inequalities, geographical living and working conditions impact citizens’ access to mobility.
At the same time, many global metropolitan areas are very innovative regions creating new solutions to render existing transport systems more efficient and environmentally and socially sustainable. Passengers can choose among public and private, shared and individual means of transport, and can combine them in an intelligent and efficient manner (intermodality). These transformations take place in an age marked by the end of cheap oil at the basis of the individual motorised transport system and the automotive paradigm shifts from ownership to flexible use (Canzler/Knie 2011). In Europe, a new generation and changed status sym-bols has developed different mobility needs (Bratzel 2011).
Since 2008, in many cities electric vehicles are part of these sustainable transport solutions, but pedelecs and e-scooters are also being combined in multiple experimentations at urban, regional, national and Euro-pean scales. This involves firms and public actors from different sectors such as telecommunication, energy, transport and the automotive industry. New policy instruments and collaborations emerge in the common effort to define sustainable mobility. These urban experimentations and first explorative commercial offers reveal new patterns of mobility demand. Passengers as customers play a new role by integrating individual and collective transport along their mobility chains.
This special issue seeks to bring together different perspectives on urban sustainable transport projects in cities and regions worldwide, asking what future sustainable transport systems will look like. Analysing politics, industrial and market challenges, citizens’ patterns of mobility and implementation problems, the following general research questions emerge:
- What does "sustainable urban transport" mean (for involved actors) and how can it be achieved?
- How do existing and future urban sustainable transport projects influence markets?
- Which planning and implementation problems emerge, and are these comparable?
- How do customers react to newly offered public shared mobility systems?
- Is there a "paradigm shift" from automobility to intermodality?
- Which projects translate into practice and by what means?
- What are criteria of "success", and which projects should be extended?
- How can social sciences understand and analyse urban sustainable mobility?
- Finally, which methodological approaches are appropriate for comparing sustainable urban transport projects?
The special issue welcomes both empirical and theoretical contributions related to the proposed topics (see below). Case studies, surveys and papers based on empirical data are preferred; a rigorous research meth-odology is required, as well as a review of existing literature and adequate reference to bibliographical sources.
In order to allow comparative discussion, we plan to discuss selected papers in dedicated sessions at the GERPISA annual conference (Paris, June 2013) (see Important Dates below).
Addressing the general research questions spelled out above, this special issue invites theoretically informed papers as well as comparative case studies and evaluations addressing the following topics:
- Global cities - local transport politics? The smart and energy-efficient integration of public and private means of transport, of electric/hydrogen-based driving technologies and infrastructure are problems that users, firms and local authorities currently face in various testing projects on new electric cars carried out in European urban areas. Interoperability raises questions of standardisation (in charging systems or electric plugs) and technology governance as well as on the future role of transport in terms of new division of space and urban planning. Moreover, many regions seem to emerge as an important political decision level for innovative mobility projects, raising questions of multi-level transport governance. Especially in BRIC countries, new forms of mobility become a crucial question of market development. What political and industrial answers do we observe? What are the market potentials and specific characteristics of demand structure in these countries? Which projects and challenges emerge in megacities?
- New patterns of demand: In economic and demographic terms, as consumption of mobility services changes, more research is needed on the impact of intermodal services on populations' modal split. How has transport-related consumption changed, and how do markets evolve around intermodal services? How can we interpret (historically) differences in triade countries with saturated mobility markets compared with new forms of motorization and changing mobilities persisting at the same time in emerging markets ?
- New mobility offers and new players: Not only established automobile producers have launched new offers on intermodal services such as "car2go" or "Mu". New players have entered the stage in the field of innovative mobility products. Cooperations between component suppliers and research insti-tutes or universities have been created in the last years to develop intermodal services based on electric vehicles. Some of these consortia have already presented prototypes; some are still on the way to implementing customised solutions. What are the first results of pilot projects? Can we as-sess impacts on modal split and ecological effects? What user potentials can be expected? What are opportunities and threats of new cooperations between firms and scientific institutions in the field of intermodal services?
- How can research evaluate new mobility systems: Measuring and evaluating intermodal transport projects poses a trans-disciplinary and methodological challenge to mobility research in social sci-ences. Based on secondary data, by which methods and techniques can we evaluate improvements through intermodality and green transport? How should we to include the voice of the user/customer? In environmental terms, does smart transport integration really improve the overall environmental performance? How do we ensure and enable the use of renewable energy sources, the recycling of batteries and other environmental issues in consequence? In general, which evaluative and analytical contributions can different disciplines in social sciences make to the topic of "new mobility systems"?
Deadline for (extended) abstract submission: 28 February, 2013
Response by Guest Editors: 31 March, 2013
Possible presentation of papers at GERPISA conference in Paris: 12-14 June, 2013
Deadline for full paper submission: 31 August, 2013