The Sustainable Mobility Paradigm

Prof. David Banister - Bivec-Gibet Transport Research Chair 2012

The BIVEC-GIBET Chair 2012-2013 is awarded to Prof. Dr. David Banister (University of Oxford). He has given a series of three linked lectures that relate to the Sustainable Mobility Paradigm.

Lecture 1 (October 15, Brussels) - Planetary boundaries and low carbon urban mobility

This presentation outlines the nexus of the three overlapping mega trends that have been viewed together through the concept of planetary boundaries - environmental, economic and social. These would be outlined individually and as a set of overlapping and connected interfaces. The implications and opportunities are interpreted within the framework of mobility patterns within cities, arguing for new thinking that combines low carbon transport, with a refocusing on collective modes of transport that provide a total door to door service, which in turn meets the requirement for providing accessibility for all. This vision of opportunity for transport in cities is intended to take advantage of the climate change, financial and demographic imperatives to generate innovative solutions that mitigate the potentially disastrous effects resulting from these three megatrends.

Lecture 2 (1 February, VU Amsterdam) - The trilogy of distance, speed and time

Over the recent past there has been a dramatic increase in travel, mainly driven by the desire to move faster and over ever greater distances. This growth is unsustainable, and the continued growth in levels of mobility needs to be reassessed through substantially reducing the levels of consumption (energy and carbon) in transport. This means that travel activities should be based on shorter distances and slower speeds, with a more flexible interpretation of time constraints. Transport geographers should have a strong and instrumental role to play in this debate. This paper outlines the changing patterns of movement, before concentrating on urban areas where most daily travel takes place, and it examines the trilogy of distance, speed and time. The focus of the paper is on distance, and the role that land use planning and development, and technology can play in encouraging new forms of travel in cities, but there are strong implications on the ways in which speed and time are conceptualised. The conventional transport paradigm is heavily embedded in the belief that travel time needs to be minimised and consequently speeds need to be increased. The resulting impacts on travel distances have not been part of that debate, but reducing travel distances is central to sustainable transport. - This is based on the recent paper in Journal of Transport Geography
Banister, D. (2011) The trilogy of distance, speed and time. Journal of Transport Geography, 19(4): 950-959.

Lecture 3 (Monday April 15, Ghent) - The Future of Sustainable Mobility

This lecture would bring together the themes of the first two lectures through more explicitly looking at how the social sciences can help in promoting low carbon transport. Four main themes will be covered, one introducing the impact that the social sciences has had in the climate change and transport debates, and this will be complemented by two alternative futures for zero carbon mobility in cities. The third theme explores transport and global governance and the implementation problems - even if the solutions and known and agreed, it seems to be impossible to actually bring the changes about. It is here that multi level perspectives are seen as one means to resolve the impasse. The final theme brings the debate back to the sustainable mobility paradigm and argues that only part of it is being used - the future depends on all parts being pursued with an equal commitment. I will end with an agenda for future action.

You can download the presentation beneath or check it out on youtube. You can watch the introduction, the presentation itself and the Q&A-session.