RN12_01b: Sustainable Mobilities
Professional Actors’ Imagination Of The Future Of Personal Transportation
University of Stuttgart, Germany
In many places, efforts are being made to turn our energy consumption more sustainable, including the way we move about. The transportation sector is under great scrutiny to provide environmentally friendly, low-carbon mobility solutions. A myriad of different actors, such as political regulators, environmental NGOs, automotive associations, citizens initiatives, transport industry and so on, are shaping the debate. In this process, every actor pursues a specific vision of how future transport is shaped, which technologies will dominate and what their own role will be. These visions are competing for interpretational sovereignty in order to shape the path of the sustainable transformation in the transport sector.
Informed by the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries and by insights from narrative analysis, the proposed paper investigates the visions of professional actors within the transport sector. The study analyzes qualitative interview data with different actors, often mobility-as-a-service-providers, and the annual business and sustainability reports of major German automobile manufacturers. Conceptualized as sociotechnical imaginaries, the visions herein describe what is deemed an attainable and desirable future scenario of transport in the eyes of these actors, where they position themselves in these futures, which socio-cultural shifts they anticipate and which role the assign to those people, that populate these visions. Findings show different understandings, e.g. one where an envisioned goal-oriented flexibility of mobility-as-a-service paints the picture of a rational human being, obliterating any cultural and emotional connection to different modes of transport, contradicted by emphasizing the aspect of gamification as a vital feature and selling point of intermodal transportation systems.
Understanding Daily Travel Mode: Insights From An Mobility Experiment Conducted In The Ruhr Area In Germany
University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
The excessive use of cars causes a variety of problems for cities and their inhabitants, including air pollution, noise and traffic congestion. The number of people, however, who uses public transport as a more sustainable alternative is still comparable low in many places. This paper aims to shed more light on the individual motives and barriers to use public transport in the Ruhr area in Germany. It evaluates a representative survey as well as a simultaneously conduced field experiment during which daily car commuters received an free one-month travel card. The traffic behavior and experience of the participants were recorded through regular online surveys before and during the experiment in October 2018.
This paper focuses mainly on two questions. First, what are the motives to participate in such an mobility experiments. And second, how does the experiment influence the travel mode of participants. The results indicate that car uses are increasingly annoyed by traffic congestions and parking situation and thus are looking for alternatives (push-factors dominate the decision to take part in the experiment). Most participants use the opportunity and travel regularly to work by public transport during the time of the experiment. In contrast, the car remained the dominant mode of transport in the leisure time. At the end, the participants come to very different conclusions. Several are willing to further commute by public transport, some are not (for reasons such as unreliability of public transport). This shows that short-term (financial) incentives might work as tools to change individual travel mode. At the moment, however, the existing infrastructure of public transport is perceived as insufficient to be an viable alternative for many commuters.
The Social Perception Of Driving Bans For Older Diesel Cars In Stuttgart (Germany) – Results From A Focus Group Study
University of Stuttgart, Germany
On the 1st of January 2019, the city of Stuttgart (Germany) has established driving bans for older diesel cars forced to do so by a verdict of a regional administrative court stressing that citizens have to be protected from damage to health caused by excess of NO2 limit values. Stuttgart is the first German city to impose diesel driving bans covering the whole municipal area. In the course of 2019, other German cities will have to follow due to legal compulsion.
Drawing on data obtained from seven focus groups, which have been carried out in November and December 2018 with citizens in Stuttgart using different means of transportation (car, public transport, bike) for their everyday travel to work, we identify crucial aspects of the social perception of driving bans. Our research reveals a complex perceptual pattern encompassing the deconstruction of air quality measurement as well as the process of setting air quality standards, doubts about the effectiveness of driving bans and blaming of different actors for the current situation, which is perceived as socially unjust. While the argumentative structure underlying this perceptual pattern varies across different focus groups, the overall structure largely remains constant: most focus group participants consider driving bans as ineffective and socially unjust, regardless of personal affectedness. Furthermore, we find that opposition to driving bans can be understood as part of a more general tendency towards political disillusionment and a feeling of alienation from decision-making elites, which particularly finds its expression in an us vs. them mentality. With our findings we hope to contribute to a deeper sociological understanding of public reactions towards complex sociopolitical developments in the field of urban mobility.