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Anticipating post-automobility: design policies for fostering urban mobility transitions


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Recent developments in urban mobility in many affluent countries suggest that private car use is declining and this trend is beginning to open up opportunities for municipal planners to consider a future of less extensive reliance on automobiles. This analysis examines current efforts by cities to expand opportunities for non-motorised transport and identifies heritage cities, modern green metropolises and eco-cities as three urban archetypes with instructive potential. We then highlight the experience of brief case studies corresponding respectively to these paradigmatic forms: the Old City of Jerusalem, Copenhagen and Masdar City. The investigation entails the formulation and application of 10 planning criteria to assess each exemplar city on the basis of both built and human dimensions. The scoring system aims to identify design policies that can be relevant as planners commence in coming to years to more actively reconfigure urban space to facilitate non-motorised modes of urban mobility.
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Anticipating post-automobility: design
policies for fostering urban mobility
Esther Ziporia & Maurie J. Cohenb
a School of Architecture and Design, New Jersey Institute of Technology,
University Heights, Newark, NJ, USA
b Program in Science, Technology, and Society, New Jersey Institute of
Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ, USA
Published online: 23 Dec 2014.
To cite this article: Esther Zipori & Maurie J. Cohen (2014): Anticipating post-automobility: design policies
for fostering urban mobility transitions, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, DOI:
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Anticipating post-automobility: design policies for fostering urban mobility
Esther Zipori
*and Maurie J. Cohen
School of Architecture and Design, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ, USA;
Program in Science, Technology, and Society, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ,
(Received 14 March 2014; accepted 19 November 2014)
Recent developments in urban mobility in many afuent countries suggest that private car use is declining
and this trend is beginning to open up opportunities for municipal planners to consider a future of less
extensive reliance on automobiles. This analysis examines current efforts by cities to expand opportunities
for non-motorised transport and identies heritage cities, modern green metropolises and eco-cities as
three urban archetypes with instructive potential. We then highlight the experience of brief case studies
corresponding respectively to these paradigmatic forms: the Old City of Jerusalem, Copenhagen and
Masdar City. The investigation entails the formulation and application of 10 planning criteria to assess
each exemplar city on the basis of both built and human dimensions. The scoring system aims to identify
design policies that can be relevant as planners commence in coming to years to more actively recongure
urban space to facilitate non-motorised modes of urban mobility.
Keywords: sustainable urban mobility; transportation futures; bicycle use; pedestrianisation; sustainable
1. Introduction
Prompted by concerns arising from both global
climate change and public health, many cities
around the world have in recent years begun to
examine their relationship to the personal automo-
bile and, in some notable cases, to implement
transportation and land-use policies intended to
further enable non-motorised modes of mobility.
The bicycle has featured prominently in these
initiatives, and this interest has led to construction
of dedicated bikeways and the establishment of
popularly lauded cycle-sharing systems (Lindsay
et al. 2011; Kahn 2012). Other interventions have
focused on the reallocation of roadway space to
pedestrian and recreational activities with particu-
lar efforts centred on the creation of walkable
cities(Ewing & Cervero 2010; Gehl 2010;
Rousseau 2010). Especially ambitious and her-
alded schemes include the imposition of conges-
tion charging in London, the establishment of
automobile-excluded districts in New York City,
and the organisation of car-free days in a growing
number of cities around the world (Badiozamani
2003; Richards 2005; Ornetzeder et al. 2008;
Morris et al. 2009; Melia et al. 2013).
Just two or three decades ago, many of these
projects would have been inconceivable as the pol-
itics of urban mobility overwhelmingly favoured
the personal automobile and the various interest
groups that have beneted from its pervasive utili-
sation (Grescoe 2012;Henderson2013;Low
2013). Municipal planners have long sought to
*Corresponding author. Email:
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 2014
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
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prioritise the private car, to expand capacity of the
vehicular system and to campaign for a range of
generous automobile-oriented subsidies. However,
demographic aging, shifting economic conditions,
increasingly ubiquitous mobile communication
technologies and evolving lifestyle preferences are
now contributing to an apparent peakingin auto-
mobile use and opening opportunities for the ascen-
dency of other modes (Cohen 2012; Kuhnimhof
et al. 2012; Gallagher 2013; Sivak 2013).
Despite these circumstances, research on tran-
sition of the urban mobility system has tended to
sidestep the privileged role of the personal auto-
mobile. The conspicuous emphasis has instead
been on various emergent technological systems,
most notably liquid biofuels, natural gas, hybridi-
sation, vehicle electrication and hydrogen-fuel
The irony is that while such autophilic
transition pathways offer the prospect of replacing
the gasoline-fuelled internal combustion engine,
they encourage in one form or another continued
reliance on the private car. In other words, despite
incipient evidence of actual movement to
renounce or at least reduce automobile depen-
dency, researchers have not substantively consid-
ered the potential of system changes to increase
the prevalence of non-motorised transport.
We understand non-motorisation in terms of
three specic forms of urban mobility: pedestria-
nisation, bicyclisation and public transit utilisa-
tion. For purposes of the current analysis, only
walking and cycling are actively considered as
there is extensive literature on the trade-offs and
interactions between car use, on one hand, and
ridership on trains, trams, buses and so forth on
the other. We readily acknowledge that non-
motorised transport does not in and of itself offer
a comprehensive answer to contemporary urban
sustainability challenges, but contend that such
modes are and will continue to be important
elements of a prospective mobility transition in
most sizeable cities. A further paradox is that
walking and cycling have to date progressed
much further along their respective transition path-
ways than the other more actively researched
Urban transport is a socio-technical system
that affords municipal governments (and their
associated agencies) unique policy leverage to
reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and to promote
other social and environmental objectives. In par-
ticular, these entities operate transit systems, man-
age transport infrastructure and engage in land-use
planning. This situation stands in stark contrast to,
say, the agro-food system which is more geogra-
phically extensive and typically outside the pur-
view of a single jurisdiction. Despite recent and
ongoing efforts to encourage urban agriculture and
to shape more sustainable consumer practices,
these interventions will remain decidedly periph-
eral without extensive coordination with higher
levels of government and key industry actors.
Similarly, energy generation and distribution is
typically outside of direct local control and deep
change on this front requires regulatory action that
is beyond the reach of municipal governance. As a
result, it is not surprising that cities seeking to
reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions and to
improve public health have organised their sus-
tainability and low-carbon planning around the
improvement of urban mobility (Woodcock et al.
2009; Jonas et al. 2011; Haines 2012).
After establishing that an incipient transition
favouring non-motorised modes of urban mobility
is indeed unfolding, we focus specically on the
potential of design policies to encourage pedes-
trian activity and bicycle use. Three case studies
exemplifying respectively the past, the present and
the future are considered. Our rst case focuses on
the Old City of Jerusalem as a representative
archetype of cities around the world that long
predate the advent of automobility and have been
largely untouched by its remarkable pattern of
diffusion over the past century. The second case
study is more typical and centres on Copenhagen,
a city that actively sought to accommodate the
private car in the decades following the Second
World War but later began implementing policies
to foster non-motorised mobility. Our nal case
centres on Masdar, a futuristic new city in Abu
Dhabi that promises to be car free. Contrasting the
ways that both explicit and implicit design policies
2E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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have shaped human interaction and movement
leads to the formulation of a taxonomy that differ-
entiates planning interventions intended to facili-
tate non-motorised urban mobility.
2. Towards urban non-motorisation
Surface transport in most developed countries is
primarily organised around the personal automobile
and accounts for approximately one-quarter of glo-
bal greenhouse-gas emissions (Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change 2007). While municipal
governments have been at the forefront of planning
efforts to limit carbon releases arising from urban
mobility, the divisive politics underlying climate
change have tended to discourage interventions that
could be characterised as outwardly favouring non-
motorised (and decarbonised) mobility over other
alternatives. More commonly, efforts to encourage
walking and cycling have been embedded in a public
discourse that has sought to upgrade livability, to
enhance quality of life, or to improve public health
(Bias et al. 2010;Holmetal.2012).
Noteworthy planning initiatives along these
lines have involved reclaiming parts of the streets-
cape from the private car and reallocating it to
non-motorised uses. Prominent public spaces
such as Trafalgar Square in London and Times
Square and Herald Square in New York City
have in recent years been converted into new
pedestrian zones.
More modest efforts have
involved appropriation of curbside parking to cre-
ate small parklets(parking spaces that are con-
verted to mini-parks) (Larson & Guenther 2012;
King 2012) and deployment of the Dutch concept
of the woonerf to create complete streets(or
home zones) that function as multipurpose pub-
lic spaces and discourage without outright ban-
ning vehicular use (Biddulph 2010; McCann &
Rynne 2010; Kingsbury et al. 2011; Speck 2012).
Urban multimodality and the public costs of free
(or underpriced) on-street parking have also
become topical among urban planners (Shoup
2005; Nobis 2007; Kuhnimhof et al. 2010,
2012). Purpose-built car-free enclaves such as
Vauban (in the German city of Freiburg) are
regularly venerated as harbingers of an enviable
future (Buehler & Pucher 2011; Creutzig et al.
2012; Kronsell 2013). Most imaginative perhaps
are efforts in some cities to consider how to
enhance bicycle access to local airports (Orrick
& Frick 2012).
A number of other softerexperiments are
also being pursed. One popular strategy entails
the periodic closing of normally heavily trafcked
roadways to vehicular use for several weeks each
year and turning the vacated streets into recrea-
tional venues. A prominent example is Paris
Plage that involves creation of an articial beach
along the banks of the River Seine during the
months of July and August (Stevens & Ambler
2010; see also Gale 2009). Other creative inter-
ventions have been prompted by designation of
World Car-Free Day (normally held on
September 22) and hundreds of cities now partici-
pate in the event (Badiozamani 2003; Even-Har &
Hostovsky 2006). Some local authorities have
even managed to turn the restricted use of private
cars into a way to encourage visitation. So-called
slow cities have become fashionable leisure desti-
nations (Mayer & Knox 2006; Miele 2008)and
slow tourismhas been gaining attention as a
form of recreational travel (Dickinson et al.
2011; Lumsdon & McGrath 2011).
It moreover merits observing that bicycles are
becoming an increasingly prevalent mode of urban
mobility in many cities in Europe, North America
and elsewhere. For example, Amsterdam, with
more than 30% of daily commuters peddling to
work, is an acclaimed and closely studied case of
how best to plan for this form of non-motorised
transport (Beck & Immers 1994; Zacharias 1999;
Baron et al. 2012; Tagliabue 2013). Most major
cities have now installed dedicated bicycle lanes,
and cycle-share programmes and pedicabs
(bicycle-powered taxis) have become accepted
(and increasingly regulated) types of conveyance
(Grynbaum 2009; McGeehan 2012). In terms of
social movement activity, the politics of transport
continue to be energised by Critical Mass and
monthly mass-bicycle rides in more than 300 cities
around the world to press the claim that
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 3
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two-wheeled transport is a genuine form of urban
mobility and should be treated in equitable terms
(Blickstein & Hanson 2001; Furness 2007).
Perhaps not surprisingly, concerns about ter-
rorism and other expressions of politically moti-
vated violence have contributed in important ways
to the reshaping of urban mobility (Benton-Short
2007; Coaffee 2013). For instance, the area sur-
rounding Wall Street in New York City has
become effectively a car-free district. A substantial
security infrastructure, including a military-style
cordon with gold-coloured bollards, prevents
unauthorised vehicles from gaining entry to prox-
imate streets. With respect to disaster management
more generally, non-motorisation has become a
prominent feature of contingency planning.
particular, the 9/11 disaster in 2001 (when the
vast majority of survivors ed the area on foot)
and the subsequent response failure during
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (when municipal autho-
rities neglected to provide adequate public trans-
port for carless New Orleanians) have prompted
the development of walk-outplans in a number
of cities in the United States (Ercolano 2008; see
also Bagrow et al. 2011). Additionally, local
governments no longer hesitate to issue driving
prohibitions and to close down large portions of
the surface-transport system during public
emergencies. For instance, during the winter of
2013, a blizzard triggered a ban on private auto-
mobiles in Boston (and the rest of the state of
Though stressful and possibly
chaotic, such events create what sociologists and
anthropologists refer to as liminal moments,brief
windows (often induced by a sense of disorienta-
tion) when people are able to glimpse an alterna-
tive system of social organisation (Kennett-Hensel
et al. 2012; see also Noble & Walker 1997).
Despite these developments, efforts to facili-
tate non-motorised urban intermodality remain a
work in process in most cities (Kloos 2005;
Martens 2007; Handy & McCann 2010). For
instance, many transit authorities have compli-
cated protocols or outright prohibitions on
allowing bicycles on their systems. These exclu-
sions make it difcult for commuters to organise
journeys involving changes with non-motorised
modes. In the case of the transitbicycle interface,
the introduction of cycle-sharing systems has
helped to ameliorate this problem by allowing
train travellers to pick up a bicycle at a transit
station and drop it off at an ultimate destination.
The provision of dedicated storage areas on public
transport vehicles could enable travellers to more
seamlessly navigate multimodal trips. Other inter-
modal problems include the creation of bicycle
networks that feed travellers into transit nodes
and the provision of sufcient bicycle-parking
facilities at train stations.
3. Indicators of effective design and policy for
Research to date on non-motorised modes of urban
mobility has tended to focus on walkabilityand
cyclabilityand how underlying infrastructures
enhance conditions of livability(Ewing &
Cervero 2010; Rousseau 2010). Though walking
and cycling are distinct activities, they are often
joined conceptually and refer to an individuals
ability to acquire access to the environment either
needed or desired as a pedestrian or cyclist
(Saelens et al. 2003; Brownson et al. 2009;Bias
et al. 2010). From this standpoint, it has become
increasingly common to calculate indices of walk-
ability/cyclability as aggregate measures of residen-
tial density, street connectivity and land-use mix
(and sometimes crime rate) within a specicradius
(Bias et al. 2010;Carretal.2010; Nielsen et al.
2013). For example, on the basis of a measure
known as a walk score, New York City receives a
grade of 85 and is deemed to be a walkerspara-
disewith the constituent neighbourhoods of Little
Italy and SoHo venerated as the citys most walk-
able neighbourhoods (Carr et al. 2010).
The score
comprises eating and drinkingestablishments (a
proxy for street connectivity), transit options,
bicycle friendliness, residential availability, and
accessibility to social venues such as schools
and stores. Somewhat confusingly, the walk score
does not just measure the advantageousness for
pedestrianised movement, but is intended to
4E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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identify geographical locations that are on the
whole supportive of non-motorised lifestyles.
More generally, a walkable/cyclable environment
is characterised by the capacity to facilitate mobility
by readily negotiable non-motorised means and the
existence of reasonable distances between common
origins and destinations such as convenience stores,
places of worship, schools, childcare facilities and
grocery stores. Some planners argue that these fea-
tures are more important because they help to create
a more workable framework for walking and
cycling (see e.g. Gehl 2010).
The various measures commonly used to
assess walkability/cyclability are intended to
assess interaction in the local environment and
the socio-demographic features of the people that
occupy it (Cervero & Radisch 1996; Kelly et al.
2011; Nielsen et al. 2013). The factors most com-
monly employed are age, income, marital status,
educational achievement, car ownership and, in
some studies, the level of physical activity (or
body mass index) (Eriksson et al. 2012;Van
Dyck et al. 2012). The socio-demographics of a
neighbourhood can shed light on the specic beha-
vioural practices of a community and provide
indications of how to encourage walkability/
cyclability. The composition of a neighbourhood
especially its political, economic, and social
status characteristics contributes to certain cap-
abilities for non-motorised mobility and with it
different motivation and usage of the built envir-
onment (Frank et al. 2010).
It has become increasingly prevalent to evalu-
ate the walkability/cyclability of particular places
not just in terms of measurable variables pertain-
ing to the physical environment and the socio-
demographic features of local residents, but also
through assessment of the level of service (LOS)
of the supporting infrastructure (Gehl 2010; Asadi-
Shekari et al. 2013). Drawing on engineering per-
spectives, LOS is a way to assess the performance
of infrastructural systems. It focuses on the kinds
of facilities and equipment that are located in the
street and the level of quality it is able to deliver
from the standpoint of user experience. Service for
non-motorised mobility is typically evaluated in
terms of safety, security, attractiveness and com-
fort. For example, a designated place with ade-
quate shading, lighting and seating arrangements
is likely to be more satisfactory (thus a higher
LOS) than a space without such amenities
(Asadi-Shekari et al. 2013). The social norms of
a place will also dictate LOS and so usually addi-
tional audit tools are deployed to derive a measur-
able index (or a walkability/cyclability checklist
for the physical environment). These factors can
include the condition of the roadway, the number
of vehicle and bicycle lanes, the width and type of
different paths, and the availability of transit ser-
vices, parking, street furniture, trees and lighting
(Moudon & Lee 2003). The presence and specic
designs of these features can either enhance or
undermine the perceived walkability/cyclability
of a place.
4. Methodology
Most analyses of the urban environment unhelp-
fully separate the physical form of the built envir-
onment from its human dimensions. In addition,
contemporary urban infrastructure is evaluated not
as a complete system but as disaggregated parts
with little connection to one another. With respect
to mobility, researchers typically focus on pedes-
trians or cyclists and the availability (or lack
thereof) of adequate roadway capacity and fail to
appreciate the wider context in terms of, say, zon-
ing requirements, weather, cultural practices and
actual use of particular spaces. The main problem
that derives from considering walkability or
cyclability in such reductionistic terms, and with-
out sufcient appreciation of the entire spectrum
of factors that constitute a place, is that such
analyses fail to consider the city as a complex
and interwoven system comprising coevolving
physical and social elements.
We aim to create a more holistic and compre-
hensive framework to evaluate both the built and
sociocultural environments of several paradig-
matic urban areas and to identify several criteria
necessary for beginning to plan for post-automo-
bility. In contrast to the perspectives developed to
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 5
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date for assessing walkability/cyclability, we seek
to capture in a fully integrated way the urban
design and human dimensions of such places.
We begin by developing a taxonomy of sub-
stantially non-motorised cities that distinguishes
three different archetypes and then examine a
representative real-world example for each of
them. First, heritage cities are urban places that
have been continuously occupied for hundreds (or
even thousands) of years and have physical infra-
structures that have signicantly impeded (and in
many cases largely precluded) adaptation to the
automobile. Our paradigmatic case of a heritage
city is the Old City of Jerusalem.
Second, so-called modern green metropolises
are cities that initially sought during the twentieth
century to accommodate the private car, but have
more recently adopted planning priorities that
emphasise walking and cycling. This category of
non-motorised cities is quite expansive and
includes both medieval European cities such as
Amsterdam and new worldcounterparts like
Vancouver. Copenhagen serves as our case study
of a modern green metropolis.
Finally, during the last few years, there has
been considerable interest in new ecological cities
(or urban districts) that enable planners to trans-
cend the complex problems of retrotting existing
places. Several self-styled eco-cities have been
designed in China as well as in Europe and else-
where around the world. We focus on Masdar
City, an ambitious project in Abu Dhabi, as an
exemplar eco-city.
Our typology and by extension the three case
studies encompasses a diverse range of urban
forms and the different challenges associated with
non-motorisation. We overlay on this basic frame-
work 10 evaluative criteria: residential density and
land-use variation, human dimensions, versatility
and complexity of activities, availability of urban
amenities, adaptive reuse of existing infrastructure,
level of exibility, safety and health, social inclu-
sion, travel speed and experiential quality, and
ease of intermodality.
The evaluation criteria are based on our view
that a city comprises three analytic categories: the
users, the built environment and the means for
movement. These elements obviously cannot be
completely treated as single pillars, but are rather
intertwined, creating the complex system that is
urban living. The ways that users occupy and
inhabit the built environment inuence its mobility
practices. Changes in the types of mobility and
their availability precipitate alterations in the
urban environment which causes users to modify
their behaviours in accordance with the feedback
loops depicted in Figure 1.
Three criteria are designed to capture those
relationships in which users are the dominant
cause-and-effect instigators. First, human dimen-
sions refer to how residents perceive the environ-
ment and the physical services that it provides.
Second, versatility and complexity of activities
denotes the social need for elaborate and entangled
purposes and spontaneous actions in the same
physical environment. Finally, social inclusion
captures the way in which planning is used to
positively affect socioeconomically and politically
disadvantaged populations and their use of the
built environment.
The built environment is then analysed by
means of three further criteria that are considered
as multiple moments in time: residential density
Figure 1. The feedback loop of the city.
6E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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and land-use variation, availability of urban ame-
nities, and adaptive reuse of existing infrastruc-
ture. The ensemble of built environment criteria
takes into consideration the extent of government
policy involvement, public interest and private
investment. First, the parameter residential density
and land-use variation highlights the socio-demo-
graphic composition of a place as dictated by local
government through zoning and planning with
respect to infrastructure provisioning. Second,
availability of urban amenities refers to the scope
and operational performance of facilities such as
trafc control, lighting and public transport.
Finally, adaptive reuse of existing infrastructure
is the criterion that determines the changing poten-
tial of the urban environment. The durability of a
place is predicated on capacity for the reclamation
and repurposing of assets so that current use can
fuse with the realisation of future potential.
Mobility in the city is inherently complex.
Beyond the availability of multiple mobilities in
the urban environment, such as complex public
transit systems and non-motorised transportation
options, the mobility of a place can be ascertained
in terms of functionality involving the level of ex-
ibility, travel speed and quality of the overall
experience,andease of intermodality. The range
and coverage of mobility options provided in a
city are the main determents of the level of exibil-
ity. In general terms, the extent of multifunctional-
ity, allowing different user groups to access a
diverse number of different forms of mobility, can
be regarded as an indicator of a successful city.
Functionality can also be assessed with respect to
travel speed and experiential quality. Ease of inter-
modality is indicative of the ability of a user to
transfer as required between different types of
mobilities available in the urban environment and
to maximise the potentialities of the overall system.
Ten planning criteria are used to appraise an
urban environment as a holistic system.
Considering a city through these parameters
enables a preliminary understanding of the three
basic driving forces of the city: the users, the built
environment and the means for movement. By
evaluating each of these determinants, it is
possible to identify the relative strengths and
weaknesses of a city with respect to its capacity
to enable non-motorised transport.
5. Three case studies of urban
We apply in this section our typology of 10 plan-
ning criteria to three case studies a heritage city
(Old City of Jerusalem), a modern green metropo-
lis (Copenhagen) and a newly planned ecological
city (Masdar City).
5.1. Old city of Jerusalem
Unlike many urban concentrations, the Old City of
Jerusalem was not designed through a progressive
process of constructing buildings and spaces,
meaning it did not evolve through development
by its occupants. The city rather came about in
accordance with a hierarchy of importance and
was conceived as a whole that was meant to be
maintained as originally envisioned (Wharton
1995). In other words, social implications and
cultural practices dictated development of the phy-
sical environment. The citys vast and storied his-
tory and multiple sacred sites have over the years
inhibited any subsequent reconguration or reor-
ganisation. The arrival of the private car during the
early decades of the twentieth century did not
instigate change within the citys venerated walls
and its spatial arrangement remains the same today
as it was 500 years ago.
Concomitantly, Jerusalem is emblematic of how
the absence of automobility is not in and of itself an
enabling condition for effective non-motorised
mobility. While the city is marked by an extremely
high population density (approximately 37,000 peo-
ple occupying a residential area of 40 hectares, or
roughly 100 acres, in size) and a diverse mix of
land uses, extreme levels of congestion impede
uid movement by foot and make cycling a virtual
impossibility (which is further complicated by
inadequate and incompatible roadways built of
unevenly laid stones and bricks).
determined religious and ethnic segregation the
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 7
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city is divided into Muslim, Christian, Armenian,
and Jewish quarters further complicates opportu-
nities for non-motorised mobility among its differ-
ent neighbourhoods.
Intermodality involving different transporta-
tion options is limited by the fact that walking
(constrained though it may be) is the only method
of movement that is practicable within the Old
Citys ancient walls. Although the incidence of
public health problems such as obesity and car
accidents is low, safety and security are long-
standing concerns. The size of Jerusalem, in com-
bination with a highly condensed and intricate
circulation network, creates an extremely interac-
tive and complex social experience. In addition,
the modest size of the buildings (there are no
buildings higher than four or ve stories with
most structures less than four stories) gives the
Old City a comfortable scale. Its materiality also
encourages an intense level of human engage-
ment through both colour and texture. Stone is
used almost exclusively and this standardising
feature creates a sense of warmth that is absent
in places where glass and steel are the primary
building materials. Moreover, the travel experi-
ence through the Old City can be delightful and
sensuous even though one can only do it on foot,
and journeys can be time-consuming due to
obstructions, bottlenecks and the meandering
street conguration. The availability of numerous
shortcuts eases some of these problems, at least
for long-time residents who are familiar with
such routes.
With respect to the social inclusiveness of
Jerusalem, there are several different expressions
of this criterion. The rst is a clear exclusion of
cycling and an evident privileging of pedestriani-
sation. The Old City follows the alignment of the
Roman Cardo (northsouth axis) and a decumanus
(eastwest axis) that creates numerous dense
building clusters with dimensions that are approxi-
mately 70 by 70 metres (Kutcher 1975; Thubron
1976). These aggregations have led to extremely
compressed quarters with narrow and twisting
streets that invite users to get lost in them.
Cultural practices common in the Middle East
have further contributed to the development of
pedestrian hot spotsand most social and com-
mercial life occurs outside of the immediate home.
The proliferation of market stalls and small-scale
vendors creates opportunistically formed pedes-
trian areas, a pattern reinforced by the generally
warm weather that encourages a vibrant outdoor
life which stands in stark contrast to lifestyles
predicated on automobility. Commercial displays,
shops, and cafés clutter the Old City and deliveries
are typically made on foot (or by small donkey
carts or handcarts) because the size of the thor-
oughfares does not permit any other kind of
Recent developments, most notably rehabilita-
tion of the Mamilla District adjacent to the Old
City, offer useful examples of adaptive reuse. This
adjoining area was a largely disused nineteenth-
century neighbourhood located outside of the Jaffe
Gate that after more than a decade of debate
became during the mid-1980s the site of an ambi-
tious urban renewal project. A pedestrianised
street through Mamilla now connects the Old
City with the pre-existing car-free market centre
of Mahane Yehuda and Ben Yehuda Street, a
proximate downtown district that also excludes
private cars. On one hand, these areas are designed
exclusively for travel by foot and do not have any
multimodal exibility. On the other hand, the
spaces afford a high level of versatility and com-
plexity for non-motorised activities including
walking, running, sitting and shopping. At certain
times of the year, the areas are outtted with
temporary performance stages or become sites
for makeshift markets.
The Old City of Jerusalem exemplies the
opportunities and challenges for non-motorisation
inherent in heritage cities and highlights certain
design features that can be implemented in more
conventional cases. The near-absence of the auto-
mobile has enabled these places to maintain their
complexity and to preserve their human scale.
During the present day, they provide unique van-
tage points to witness life in the absence of the
private car and to distance ourselves from auto-
mobile reliance.
8E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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5.2. Copenhagen
Like many of its European counterparts, the built
environment of the Danish capital developed over
hundreds of years and was strongly inuenced by its
medieval religious institutions. The city was not
designed in accordance with a master plan (as was
the case for the Old City of Jerusalem), but rather
developed organically and episodically over time.
Copenhagen has a long history of reinvention and
over the past few decades the so-called City of Spires
has recast itself as a modern green metropolis. In
particular, the city has normalised bicycle use and
constructed facilities that invite the public to
embrace this mode of urban mobility (Gehl 2010;
Jensen 2013). This commitment to cycling has had
profound effects on the cityscape and led to the
creation of highly attractive public spaces and
encouraged planning interventions that ensure short
travel distances among different activity nodes.
Copenhagens formal bicycle network pre-
sently comprises more than 300 kilometres of
dedicated pathways and during the decade from
2002 until 2012 the municipal government
devoted itself to expanding the proportion of the
population that commutes to work by this mode.
This initiative required improving safety for
cyclists as well as increasing the travel speed and
overall comfort and convenience of bicycle use.
These objectives were accomplished by enhancing
cycling conditions in the city centre, establishing
dedicated roadways, developing green cycle routes
in the more rural parts of the metropolitan area,
improving lighting and signage, integrating
cycling and public transport, enhancing parking
and storage for bicycles, adding trafc controls
for both bicycles and automobiles, and formulat-
ing informational campaigns to encourage bicycle
use (City of Copenhagen 2002,2007).
Unlike heritage cities, modern green metropo-
itating non-motorised mobility practices and focus
attention especially on the needs of cyclists. In
2007, the municipal government published the
results of a visioning study that referred to the
city as the eco-metropolis of the worldand set a
goal to become the most environmentally progres-
sive city (City of Copenhagen 2007). Local ofcials
also established a long-term plan to be the worlds
best cycling city and it is due in large part to this
commitment that Copenhagen is today a forerunner
in the movement to enhance urban opportunities for
walking and cycling. Local planners understood
that realising this ambitious objective would require
active participation by both residents and the busi-
ness sector. They also deemed it necessary to look
beyond Copenhagen and to expend their outreach
efforts to include the Danish Parliament, the
European Union and even the United Nations
(City of Copenhagen 2002,2007).
According to municipal data, Copenhageners
cycle on average more than 1.1 million kilometres
per day and 36% of the citys commuters use their
bicycles to travel either to work or to school. By
emphasising safety, the city sought by 2015 to
increase the percentage of bicycle commuters to
50%, to reduce the number of injured cyclists by
half and to have 80% of cyclists feel secure in
trafc (City of Copenhagen 2002,2007).
Motivated by these targets, municipal ofcials
have pursued two primary initiatives. The rst
calls for reusing several abandoned rail lines to
establish new green cycle tracks comprising an
independent network of different routes connect-
ing neighbourhoods, parks and squares (Jensen
2013; Nielsen et al. 2013). The second initiative
entails construction of a locus of bicycle super-
highways specially designed to accommodate
commuters traveling more than 7 kilometres.
These routes will be established between the out-
lying suburbs and the city centre to lessen conges-
tion and to improve the health of users.
While Copenhagen has been widely lauded for
its efforts, there are three issues that require more
critical appraisal and apply not just to the Danish
capital but are relevant as well to other modern green
metropolises. First, in terms of non-motorised mobi-
lity, priority has been on cycling, and the enhance-
ment of pedestrian spaces has largely been based on
the use of land left overfrom cycling-related devel-
opments. The heavy emphasis on the bicycle has left
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 9
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pedestrians at a disadvantage and conict between
the two groups has become more evident in recent
years (Nielsen et al. 2013). Second, it is arguably
easier to induce a household to commute to work
and school by bicycle if this means of transport is
already part of the prevailing culture. It becomes a
much more complicated task to encourage minority
subpopulations to take up this mode of travel. In
Copenhagen, Danish-born middle-class residents
living in the outer rings of the city comprise a dis-
proportionate share of the citys bicycle commuters
and this raises questions about social exclusion from
a cycling lifestyle (Jensen 2013). Finally, as we have
seen with respect to automobility over more than
half a century, increasing use brings about conges-
tion. Copenhagen today faces a situation where the
next challenge will be to more effectively manage
the large number of cyclists to avoid erosion in the
quality of the travel experience.
In summary, the modern green metropolis
model is based on long-term investment in the
built environment and commitment to a supporting
policy framework. Planning consistent with this
approach requires continuous adaptation to
respond to changing needs. To avoid resistance
and backlash, it is typically necessary to adjust
the physical infrastructure in gentleways that
do not impinge on the interests of other users,
for instance by adding additional capacity for
cycling without reducing vehicular lanes. There
are clearly limits to this approach with respect to
the pace of change and the fact that roadway size
is ultimately constrained and space has to be allo-
cated among competing modes. At some point,
more difcult decisions will need to be made that
require disadvantaging some users to benet
others. This, along with the design of policies
that foster social inclusion, is very much the next
stage that Copenhagen and other modern green
metropolises now face as they seek to build on
their initial achievements.
5.3. Masdar City
The eco-cities that have been planned or built
around the world to date are based on a realisation
of impinging biophysical limits and the need to
achieve at the global level substantial reductions in
energy and material throughput (Joss et al. 2013;
Premalatha et al. 2013; Rapoport 2014). Masdar
City is a newly built eco-city in Abu Dhabi, capi-
tal of the United Arab Emirates, and conceived by
the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (known
as the Masdar Initiative) (http://www.masdarcity.
ae/en). The project is a master-planned community
launched in 2006 and anticipated at full build-out
to comprise 6 square kilometres. Masdar City was
conceived to be completely reliant on renewable
energy, with no carbon emissions and energy con-
sumption that would be substantially below cus-
tomary levels. The concept plan called for
incorporation of smart resource management and
utility grids, cutting-edge green technologies, con-
centrated solar power (CSP) and electric-powered
personal rapid transit (PRT). Masdar City is being
built by a consortium of collaborating rms that
are using the initiative as a laboratory to test
sustainable products and design techniques and
the rst few companies to join the enterprise
were General Electric, Schneider and Siemens
(Bullis 2009; Cugurullo 2013). The population of
the city (at least at present) comprises staff from
each of the participating partners and a modest
number of university personnel and students. The
initial timeline anticipated that the city would open
its rst non-university residential building in 2015.
Like other large-scale development projects
being undertaken elsewhere around the world,
Masdar City suffered several serious setbacks in
2008 as a direct result of the nancial crisis, although
detailed changes to the master plan have not been
fully disclosed. It nonetheless became apparent that
the goal of zero carbon emissions has evolved
instead into a less stringent objective of aiming for
carbon neutrality. Project proponents also relaxed
their commitment to CSP and instead have formu-
lated arrangements to import electricity from outside
of the city. Moreover, the PRT system that was
originally planned to provide access to the entire
city has been modied to cover only 10% of the
total built-up area. The modied scheme now calls
for electric vehicles to transport residents to other
10 E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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areas of the city beyond the reach of the PRTsystem.
Finally, the overall investment of US$22 billion has
been pared back to US$16 billion, and the deadline
for completion has been extended from 2016 to 2030
(Abbaai et al. 2012; Cugurullo 2013).
In terms of its organisational structure, Masdar
City is a commercially driven enterprise that
aspires to attract investors and, in due course, to
generate a prot for its shareholders (Cugurullo
2013). Accordingly, the sponsors are motivated
by a particular set of aspirations. The chief aim
is to serve as a demonstration project for various
sustainabletechnologies and the residents
recruited to live in Masdar City are mostly main-
tenance peoplewho work for the partner compa-
nies or are connected to the university. The fact
that the project is being built from scratch on a
master-planned basis makes it difcult to accom-
modate the organic dimensions of urban develop-
ment. At the same time, the city does not lack
customised features to enhance the comfort and
convenience of its residents, but these elements of
the project seem to function primarily as promo-
tional tools for visitors (Abbaai et al. 2012;
Cugurullo 2013).
The word masdar means the sourcein
Arabic and the technologies and designs created
and trialled by this initiative are intended to be
used (or bought) and implemented by other pro-
jects elsewhere around the world. At present, the
venture has yet to become an actual living place
and the aspirations of is proponents remain, at
least thus far, largely unrealised. Moreover, its
design has not been tested to determine whether
the intentions of its proponents for non-motorised
mobility are achievable. According to its promo-
tional material, Masdar City is being designed
and operated to provide the highest quality of life
with the lowest environmental footprintbut at this
point at least this objective remains more a pro-
mise than an accomplished deed.
Similar to a large showcase room, Masdar City
appears pristine and untouched. It has yet to live
up to its stated expectations, but perhaps it is just
too soon to render a denitive judgement. With
respect to the three pillars of sustainability, the
economic ambitions of the project are apparent in
its entrepreneurship and effort to achieve nancial
success. Its environmental practices are in place
only as commercialised tools to be used as a live-
in advertisement and the social dimension has yet
to be articulated in a coherent way. Without a
clearly focused social understanding of sustain-
ability, the ability of the project to realise its
objectives for non-motorisation appear at this
point to be quite limited.
5.4. Comparative planning-criteria analysis
To complement the narrative case studies pre-
sented above, we evaluated each of the three para-
digmatic cities against our 10 post-automobility
planning criteria (Table 1). We used a seven
point scoring system ranging from +3 to 3 with
+3 indicating extremely procient performance on
a particular criterion and 3 connoting extremely
decient performance. Zero designates indetermi-
nate performance or insufcient data to make an
informed judgement. For example, in the Old City
of Jerusalem, residential density and land-use
variation are deemed to be moderately procient
because of the high population concentration
and diverse land uses, though there is little open
or green space. This composition results in assign-
ment of a score of +2 points. By comparison,
Masdar City receives a zero on this planning cri-
terion because of its relatively low residential den-
sity and land-use variation (at present only a 100
people live in the city) and active land uses are
conned for now to university buildings.
The vertical sum across all 10 post-automobi-
lity planning criteria provides for each paradig-
matic city an approximate measure of its capacity
to effectively support non-motorised mobility.
This calculation enables us to rank the three repre-
sentative cases. Copenhagen emerges as the city
with the most conducive conditions for walking
and cycling (summative score of +19 points) with
the Old City of Jerusalem and Masdar City respec-
tively receiving more modest scores of +9 points
and +7 points.
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 11
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6. Conclusion
From a contemporary perspective, the extraordinary
achievements of the personal automobile seem to
have been inevitable and predetermined. It is though
useful to remember that the rst efforts to recon-
gure cities and their surrounding metropolitan
regions to accommodate the car were, in their own
time, experiments with highly uncertain outcomes.
We often forget the vehement, but ultimately inef-
fectual, opposition unleashed during the early days
of the automobile age and the occasional resistance
movements that have coalesced from time to time. It
Table 1. Planning criteria analysis of case studies.
Planning criteria Old City of
Jerusalem Copenhagen
Residential density and
land-use variation +2 +3 0
Human dimensions +3 +2 +2
Versatility and complexity
of activities +3 +2 0
Availability of urban
amenities +1 +3 +1
Adaptive reuse of existing
infrastructure –2 +2 0
Level of flexibility –1 –2 0
Safety and health +2 +3 +2
Social inclusion –1 +1 –1
Travel speed and
experiential quality +2 +2 +2
Ease of intermodality 0 +3 +1
Total +9 +19 +7
Scoring system:
Extremely proficient = +3
Moderately proficient = +2
Mildly proficient = +1
Indeterminate or insufficient information available = 0
Mildly deficient = –1
Moderately proficient = –2
Extremely deficient = –3
Masdar City
12 E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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took the better portion of a half century of political
and technical negotiation to build up the resultant
socio-technical system and for the car to achieve its
seemingly inexorable position in the lives of ordin-
ary people today. Numerous allied innovations were
necessary to make this happen including the devel-
opment of new tools of public nance to pay for
necessary infrastructure and the establishment of
programmes to train drivers in the safe operation of
their vehicles. At the same time, extensive interven-
tion has been required to shade the social and envir-
onmental costs of automobility as well as to maintain
the oil-supply lines necessary to keep the system
After more than a century of growth and expan-
sion, we are now witnessing a weakening in public
enthusiasm for the car and cities are beginning to
formulate once unimaginable strategies to adjust to
these circumstances. The most signicant challenges
are prompted by local concerns about climate
change and the public health dimensions of perva-
sive motorisation. We are now arguably reaching the
stage where it is becoming possible to regard this
shift in public sensibilities as something more than
the disjointed efforts of a diminishingly small min-
ority of disenchanted anti-automobilists. At the same
time, if currently dominant modes of urban mobility
are ultimately going to be supplanted, it will be
necessary to begin to plan for an emergent transition.
This analysis, by formulating a provisional typology
for capturing both inadvertent and purposeful exam-
ples of non-motorisation, is meant to provide as
initial step in this direction.
1. This characterisation is predicated on an extensive
literature review. See, for example, Vergragt
(2004); Van Den Bosch et al. (2005); Köhler
et al. (2009); Ros et al. (2009); Sovacool &
Hirsh (2009); Farla et al. (2010); Huétink et al.
(2010); Kriston et al. (2010); Budde et al. (2012);
Egbue & Long (2012); Warth et al. (2013); Dijk
et al. (2013); Steinhilber et al. (2013).
2. While it is only indirectly germane to the current
analysis, we attribute this divergence to a techno-
centric bias in contemporary transition research, a
predisposition that arguably stems from the avail-
ability of greater research funding for novel techno-
logical applications relative to social innovations
more reliant on behavioural adaptations.
3. New York City has also embarked on less publi-
cised projects to covert individual blocks into car-
free public spaces. For example, see Ishayik (2013).
4. Of related interest is the fact that most of the top 10
tourist destinations in the world are essentially non-
motorised spaces: Times Square (New York, USA),
National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington,
DC, USA), Magic Kingdom (Florida, USA),
Trafalgar Square (London, UK), Disneyland Park
(California, USA), Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada
and New York, USA), Fishermans Wharf and
Golden Gate Park (California, USA), Tokyo
Disneyland and DisneySea (Urayasu, Japan), Notre
Dame Cathedral (Paris, France), and Disneyland
(Paris, France).
5. There are in contrast indications that concern
about terrorist threats that induce people to alter
their travel behaviour in favour of personal auto-
mobiles. See, for example, Elias et al. (2013).
6. Municipal ofcials in Boston and its surrounding
suburbs imposed a similar prohibition during the
manhunt that occurred following the marathon
bombing in April 2013. See Ryan (2013).
7. It furthermore merits noting that natural disasters
have created opportunities to implement measures
to restrain automobile use. For example, the
Embarcadero and Central Freeways in San
Francisco were destroyed during the 1989 Loma
Prieta Earthquake and rather than rebuild the ele-
vated roadways they were dismantled two years
later. For a more complete list of highway removal
projects in the United States, see http://www.pre-
8. For comparison, Boston received a walk score of
85 and Newark (New Jersey) a grade of 75 on this
scale. See
9. See the appendix for detailed information regard-
ing each criterion.
10. Expressed in more conventional units of measure-
ment, the population density of the Old City is
approximately 92,500 people per square kilometre
which makes this urban agglomeration one of the
most compact districts in the world. See Khamaisi
et al. (2009).
Notes on contributors
Maurie J. Cohen is an Associate Professor and a
Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and
Society at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 13
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an Associate Fellow of the Tellus Institute. His most
recent book is Innovations in Sustainable Consumption:
New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social
Practices (with Halina Brown and Philip Vergragt).
Esther Zipori is a graduate student in the Master of
Infrastructure Planning Program at the New Jersey
Institute of Technology, curator of the website A Post-
Automobile World?and facilitator of The Great
Transition Initiatives working group on Urban
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Planning criteria Explanation Key references
1. Residential
density and land-
use variation
Highlights the socio-demographic composition of a
place and is based on local census data. It provides
insight into the extent to which an active walking/
cycling lifestyle can be implemented and whether
municipal land-use laws allow for physical
infrastructure to support non-motorised mobility.
Carr et al. (2010); Eriksson et al.
2. Human
Refers to both the built environment and the perceived
environment and the physical services that the
environment provides. This criterion questions the
presence of environmental networks that provide the
community with needed (and wanted) services such
as: convenience stores, place of worship, schools,
recreational facilities, community centres, child-care
services, pharmacies, restaurants, grocery stores,
movie theatres, libraries, banks and post ofces.
Human dimensions are also assessed by the actual
physical environment in terms of, for example,
architecture and its physical scale. The level of
service provided by the built environment is what
encourages individuals to remain in a community
and to engage it.
Brownson et al. (2009); Bias et al.
(2010); Gehl (2010); Saelens
et al. (2003)
3. Versatility and
complexity of
For a place to be activeand attractivefor walking
and cycling, it needs to provide versatility and have
capacity for complexity. There needs to be an
overlap of purposes such as walking, running,
resting, and shopping and a mix of planned and
spontaneous actions.
Gehl (2010)
(Continued )
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 17
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Planning criteria Explanation Key references
4. Availability of
urban amenities
This criterion measures the quality of the cityscape and
its ability to accommodate different uses, especially
walking and cycling. Issues of particular attention
include adequate road space, trafc controls,
lighting, and the relationship of travel conduits to the
larger municipal transport network. Also relevant are
the sense of placecreated by different road spaces,
conguration of intersections, distances to public
transport, roadway width and angles, and the ability
to reach common destinations in a variety of
different ways.
Jensen (2013); Gehl (2010); Snizek
et al. (2013)
5. Adaptive reuse of
Cities are ever-changing landscapes of people and the
built environment and durability is a function of the
ability to adapt and reuse infrastructure to
accommodate new requirements. This criterion
assesses the degree to which a city regards its
infrastructure in a physically limited world and how
these circumstances affect opportunities for non-
motorised transport.
Gehl (2010); Snizek et al. (2013);
Nielsen et al. (2013); Banister
et al. (2011)
6. Level of
This criterion refers to the capacity of a city for
multifunctionality and to allow different user groups
to simultaneously occupy and coexist in the same
space. The concept of the complete street (or the
woonerf) is an example of such exibility.
Urry (2004); Gehl (2010); Aldred
(2010); Jensen (2013)
7. Safety and health This criterion entails several aspects with respect to
urban mobility. First, the incidence of trafc
accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists requires
attention. Second, planners need to consider the
prevailing activity levels of people and their state of
physical tness. Finally, the quality of the physical
environment in terms of ambient air pollution and
available green space is critical. In aggregate, these
factors provide an indication of the actual practices
that are reasonable and point to opportunities for
Holm et al. (2012)
8. Social inclusion Social inclusion (and exclusion) is a function of both
social dynamics and built environmental conditions.
This is primarily a matter of vehicular infrastructure
taking precedence over walking and cycling
infrastructure, but can also entail cycling being
privileged over walking. Beyond physical
segregation and favouritism, there are questions
pertaining to socially dynamic practices surrounding
non-motorised forms of urban mobility.
Hodson and Marvin (2009); Frank
et al. (2010); Gehl (2010);
(Continued )
18 E. Zipori and M.J. Cohen
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Planning criteria Explanation Key references
9. Travel speed and
Travel speed refers to the amount of time it takes to
transit between primary origins and destinations.
This criterion also considers the quality of the travel
experience, especially in the context of journeys that
need to be made within a specic timeframe (such as
commuting to work). Other trips can extend for
longer periods of time, especially if the experience
itself is deemed to be positive.
Nielsen et al. (2013); Jensen (2013);
Snizek et al. (2013)
10. Ease of
This criterion refers to the ease with which users can
transfer between different urban mobility systems
and the provisions that are in place to enable
travellers to seamlessly navigate trips involving
different modes.
Moudon and Lee (2003); Xing and
Handy (2009); Frank et al. (2010)
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 19
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... Based on the qualitative analysis, we have identified that the need for transition is no longer a question [100,182]. Current research in transition studies is addressing levels at which transition should or could be happening and who should be involved [102,183,184]. The multiple level perspective (MLP) [185] describes three levels where the change can be happening: niche, socio-technical regime, and socio-technical landscape. ...
... From retrospective transition studies we know that the system expected to change should be ready (for example, infrastructure should be in place) and there should be acceptance from people. Urban transitions of today should be based on causal dynamics, comparability, and acknowledgement of differences, as well as they should be planned [12,80,82,87,94,100,102,183,184,186,187]. ...
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Sustainability related challenges in mobility planning have been recognised at the international level, and the urgency for change has been widely discussed among scholars. However, there seems to be no general agreement on the best ways to pursue such change. To seek answers to the question of how to pursue change, this study analysed the development of the broad research fields of mobility, urban planning and transitions, and the overlap of these bodies of literature. Both academic and non-academic literatures were covered. By means of a systematic literature review, as well as bibliometric studies, several prominent research themes that address change from planning and transition perspectives were identified. Moreover, these themes describe different viewpoints and challenges in mobility planning. These include planning and policy for sustainable mobility and accessibility, backcasting and scenario planning, indicators in planning, modes of transport, decision-making, studies of global North and global South, as well as overarching themes of equity, equality and justice, roles of institutions, and co-production of knowledge. Strategies for staying up to date with these fields were also identified. In the literature covered, the temporal dimension in mobility planning was described in four different ways, but little was found about how accelerated transitions towards sustainable mobility can be achieved. Further knowledge gaps were identified in relation to behavioural change, policy development, institutionalisation of planning capacity, and social sustainability in mobility planning. This created an outline for possible future studies.
... Such practices are intended to lead to changes within the current economic system and to spur sustainable growth (European Commission 2012). Unfortunately, rising demand for nominally ''more sustainable'' products tends to intensify energy and material throughput and hence to increase rather than decrease aggregate resource consumption (Owen 2011;Zehner 2012;Weidmann et al. 2015). ...
... One of the reasons being that consumption volumes are one of the main drivers of GHG-emissions, as well as of other environmental problems. A weak approach focuses, for example, on incrementally improving the fuel economy of automobiles, while a strong approach would explore a much wider range of options for cutting emissions from transportation-including other forms of transport as well as how the need for mobility might be transformed (Urry 2008;Schwartz 2015;Zipori and Cohen 2015). Considering the dire ecological and social challenges that we are facing, minor adjustments within the current system-mainly relying on ''technological solutionism'' and a product-based sustainable consumption approach-will not suffice to foster the changes needed to reverse current patterns of unsustainability. ...
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The United Nations formulated the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015 as a comprehensive global policy framework for addressing the most pressing social and environmental challenges currently facing humanity. In this paper, we analyse SDG 12, which aims to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” Despite long-standing political recognition of this objective, and ample scientific evidence both on its importance and on the efficacy of various ways of promoting it, the SDGs do not provide clear goals or effective guidance on how to accomplish this urgently needed transformation. Drawing from the growing body of research on sustainable consumption and production (SCP), the paper identifies two dominant vantage points—one focused on promoting more efficient production methods and products (mainly through technological improvement and informed consumer choice) and the other stressing the need to consider also overall volumes of consumption, distributional issues, and related social and institutional changes. We label these two approaches efficiency and systemic. Research shows that while the efficiency approach contains essential elements of a transition to sustainability, it is by itself highly unlikely to bring about sustainable outcomes. Concomitantly, research also finds that volumes of consumption and production are closely associated with environmental impacts, indicating a need to curtail these volumes in ways that safeguard social sustainability, which is unlikely to be possible without a restructuring of existing socioeconomic arrangements. Analysing how these two perspectives are reflected in the SDGs framework, we find that in its current conception, it mainly relies on the efficiency approach. On the basis of this assessment, we conclude that the SDGs represent a partial and inadequate conceptualisation of SCP which will hamper implementation. Based on this determination, this paper provides some suggestions on how governments and other actors involved in SDGs operationalisation could more effectively pursue SCP from a systemic standpoint and use the transformation of systems of consumption and production as a lever for achieving multiple sustainability objectives.
... In the transport sector's micro-mobility segment, technologies that can be displaced by electric solutions have been around for more than two centuries: the bicycle was invented in 1817, and walking is as old as humankind itself (Geels, 2005b;Martin, 2019). Other technologies such as skateboards and push scooters have played a relatively marginal role, but a notable aspect in recent decades is an increasing trend in urban planning to privilege these ways of moving in many cities, through infrastructural interventions like bicycle lanes, wider pavements, and car-free zones (Zipori and Cohen, 2015). The advent of electric bicycles, cycling as a service (CaaS), cargo bikes and e-scooters in the late 2010s thus arises at a time when transport policy is generally favourable to improving the built environment's ability to accommodate micro-mobility solutions (but see Glaser et al., 2020 on the persistence of automobility frames). ...
Full-text available
Micro-mobility market-making represents an under-studied but important aspect of urban transport sustainability transitions. Micro-mobility roll-out combines several critical elements: decarbonisation, digitalisation and public space interventions. We theorise the emergence of a micro-mobility market, drawing on innovation studies, micro-politics scholarship and commoning mobility literature, and critically discuss the relationship between innovation and regulation in this emerging market. We examine e-scooter roll-out in Bergen, Norway, using a structured analysis that interrogates knowledge, authority and power. Our empirical analysis employs expert interviews and focus group discussions with key transport sector stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners and urban residents. We discuss insights in terms of implications for how micro-mobility markets are made and in turn make urban transport sustainability transitions. We argue that while micro-mobility can enable just low-carbon mobility transitions, market forces drive outcomes that may undermine urban sustainability agendas. We identify scope for dynamic regulation to engender low-carbon mobility in wider public interest.
... Hence, if the majority of humankind flew, this would increase flight emissions drastically: Predictions for the year 2050 suggest that commercial aircraft emissions might triple (EESI, 2019) and account for a quarter of the global carbon budget (Graver et al., 2019). A decarbonisation of the mobility system and a change in the way we are travelling is essential in order to limit climate change (Urry, 2008;European Commission, 2011;Zipori and Cohen, 2015). Given the current technological infrastructure, people can deliberately reduce their mobility-related CO 2 footprint by simply travelling less and/or by choosing less CO 2 -intensive means of transport such as trains. ...
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Global crises such as the climate crisis require fast concerted action, but individual and structural barriers prevent a socio-ecological transformation in crucial areas such as the mobility sector. An identification with people all over the world (i.e., global identity ) and an openness toward less consumption (i.e., sufficiency orientation ) may represent psychological drivers of a socio-ecological transformation. We examined the compatibility of both concepts as well as their relation to people’s support of a decarbonised mobility system and their flight mobility behaviour – a CO 2 -intensive behaviour that may be particularly difficult to refrain from for globally identified people, but less so for sufficiency-oriented people. In an online study conducted in Germany ( N = 317), we found that global identity and sufficiency orientation were positively related. Both were negatively related to past flight-related CO 2 emissions and positively related to refraining from flying and the support of decarbonised mobility policies. Accounting for both showed that sufficiency orientation in particular was related to fewer flight-related CO 2 emissions and refraining from flying. Furthermore, we examined people’s travel experiences. While global identity was unrelated to the frequency and duration of international travelling, it was positively related to the frequency and quality of contact with local people met on journeys. An experimental variation of whether participants first answered questions on global identity or on travel experiences revealed that remembering past international travelling led to higher reported levels of global identity. Taken together, global identity seems to profit from in-depth international contact with people, but can be decoupled from resource-intensive travel behaviour. Globally identified and sufficiency-oriented people may support a socio-ecological transformation. Our results indicate a compatibility of global identity and sufficiency orientation. Experimental and longitudinal research should examine causal links to foster our understanding of the conditions under which both can be strengthened.
... Declining car use since 2007 (Fig. 3) gave rise to debates about 'Peak Car' [72] and speculations about post-car societies [73]. Recent increases in car sales and car traffic suggest that these speculations may be premature and that Peak Car may have been a temporary response to high oil prices and the financial-economic crisis rather than a long-term structural trend. ...
Low-carbon transitions in whole systems (in energy, mobility, agro-food) are an important, yet understudied topic in socio-technical transition research. To address this topic, the paper builds on the Multi-Level Perspective, but stretches it to address developments in multiple regimes and multiple niche-innovations. This ‘zooming out’ strategy changes the conceptualisation of transition dynamics from bottom-up disruption (driven by singular niche-innovations) to gradual system reconfiguration, which represents a more distributed, multi-source view of change that includes cumulative incremental regime change, shifts in relative sizes of regimes, regime alignments, component substitution, and symbiotic adoption. To illustrate the reconfiguration approach and empirically explore the topic of whole system change, the paper investigates unfolding trajectories in UK passenger mobility. This analysis, which addresses developments in auto-mobility, train, bus and cycling regimes and five niche-innovations (biofuels, electric vehicles, smart cards, compact cities, home working), aims to assess if and how the mobility system is reconfiguring in low-carbon directions. It also aims to provide an interpretive assessment of the 12.7% decrease in domestic transport-related CO2-emissions between 2007 and 2013. This decrease is attributed to reduced auto-mobility (due to the financial-economic crisis), incremental engine efficiency improvements in new cars, some modal shift from cars to trains, and biofuels. Radical niche-innovations (smart cards, compact cities, electric vehicles) did not (yet) greatly contribute to emission reductions. CO2-emissions increased again since 2014, which suggests that further low-carbon transitions require deeper system reconfiguration.
... Os principais componentes são: infraestrutura em rede e serviços públicos para todo o território; direito à mobilidade, ao transporte coletivo e individual, à acessibilidade universal, ao saneamento ambiental e à participação social nas decisões da política urbana (Chapecó, 2014;. Isso compõe as estratégias postuladas por Zipori & Cohen (2015) como oportunidades para um novo desenvolvimento urbano e territorial. ...
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Resumo As cidades brasileiras tiveram um impulso para o desenvolvimento econômico a partir da intensificação do processo de globalização, o qual contribuiu para a pulverização de atividades econômicas para além dos grandes centros urbanos. Nesse contexto está Chapecó (SC), cidade-polo regional que possui uma rede urbana centrada em pequenos municípios. Na perspectiva da dinamização das atividades econômicas, a pesquisa teve como objetivo verificar os aspectos legais e o ponto de vista de lideranças sobre a perspectiva da formação de uma cidade inteligente e criativa. As contribuições da pesquisa estão associadas à análise do processo de formação de Chapecó (SC) como cidade inteligente e criativa. O estudo de caso qualitativo contemplou a análise de documentos legais municipais aliada à análise de conteúdo das entrevistas com lideranças comunitárias e de entidades locais. Como resultado, constatou-se que Chapecó (SC) possui diretrizes para a criação de uma cidade inteligente e criativa. Todavia, a transição para uma cidade inteligente e criativa é embrionária, com demandas estruturais, culturais, sociais, econômicas, institucionais e ambientais a serem atendidas.
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In this paper we make the case for conceptualizing automobility as a singular and enduring imaginary that is located in the present continuous tense. It is an imaginary composed not only of discourses, representations, images and visions but also the ostensible materiality of automobility. That imaginary is the everyday, taken-for-granted reality of automobility. If we are to entertain hopes of living in a world absent the routine violence of automobility, the political challenge is not only the construction of alternative, “sustainable” and “just” mobility imaginaries but the deconstruction and destitution of the automobility imaginary. Pointers to destituting automobility may be found in policies towards controlling tobacco, fighting sex-trafficking, and decolonization. The concept of destituent power opens up possibilities for developing alternative strategies for moving towards a post-automobility future, not just as a conceptual deconstructive exercise but as political praxis.
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The consumption of goods and services can be a driver of environmental and social impacts around the world. Understanding the role that the different levels of government can play in incentivising sustainable consumption is therefore critical. Using systematic review techniques, this paper reviews the latest evidence on the importance, effectiveness, successes and failures of local government in advancing sustainable consumption. We find that there is little focus on sustainable consumption in its entirety or whether it is being achieved at the local government level. Important consumption aspects like food, procurement, water, waste prevention, clothing, other consumables or services are understudied. Evaluation of the outcome of interventions was limited, and the assessment that was completed gave mixed results. The most popular policy instruments were of the less coercive administrative and informative type. Multiple barriers to the success of an intervention were identified, the top ones being funding; staff capacity, knowledge or data; lack of flexibility and lock-in to the status quo; lack of guidance or political will; administrative burdens; and lack of regulatory powers or tools. Sustainable consumption interventions by local government were most effective when they had strong leadership, good stakeholder engagement, participatory approaches and extensive consultations.
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With the international success of the annual Car Free Day (CFD) event, a number of Canadian cities have been hosting CFDs (a total of 13 in 2005) in various capacities. None have done so as successfully as Montréal, the first city to have local government support and a weekday downtown street closure for the past three years. Named "In town, without my car! / En ville, sans ma voiture!" the event is part of the New Mobility Movement's mandate for multimodal transportation systems. In this article we discuss Montréal's first and third annual CFDs, in order to ascertain its usefulness for promoting multimodal transportation planning.
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Mixed-mode streets are being proposed as a solution to local traffic and land-use problems. A mixed-mode street in Amsterdam with relatively high traffic volume was studied to determine how the modes and directions are accommodated. The free movement of pedestrians, cyclists and trams are observed, especially the skill of the Amsterdam cyclist. Results show that the variations in density observed have little or no effect on cycling behavior. The most promising feature of the Leidsestraat case is the role of environmental design in the location of the movement streams. Subtle changes in paving are closely related to the distribution of pedestrians and bicycles in the street.
Research in transportation, urban design, and planning has examined associations between physical environment variables and individuals' walking and cycling for transport. Constructs, methods, and findings from these fields can be applied by physical activity and health researchers to improve understanding of environmental influences on physical activity. In this review, neighborhood environment characteristics proposed to be relevant to walking/cycling for transport are defined, including population density, connectivity, and land use mix. Neighborhood comparison and correlational studies with nonmotorized transport outcomes are considered, with evidence suggesting that residents from communities with higher density, greater connectivity, and more land use mix report higher rates of walking/cycling for utilitarian purposes than low-density, poorly connected, and single land use neighborhoods. Environmental variables appear to add to variance accounted for beyond sociodemographic predictors of walking/cycling for transport. Implications of the transportation literature for physical activity and related research are outlined. Future research directions are detailed for physical activity research to further examine the impact of neighborhood and other physical environment factors on physical activity and the potential interactive effects of psychosocial and environmental variables. The transportation, urban design, and planning literatures provide a valuable starting point for multidisciplinary research on environmental contributions to physical activity levels in the population.
Ken Livingstone was elected Mayor of London on a platform that included a congestion charge for central London, a policy that became reality on 17 February 2003. Richards uses his experience as Director of a £2.5 million Government congestion charging study, as one of those who created the scheme Livingstone adopted and as advisor to the London Assembly, to provide a critical record of the introduction of the London Congestion Charge, and of its implications for congestion charging elsewhere.
The Innovative Intermodal Solutions for Urban Transportation Award, in memory of Daniel W Hoyt, has two purposes: 1) to encourage reporting of activities and programs that have been effective in addressing urban transportation needs through the development of innovative, practical and balanced intermodal solutions; and 2) to publicize the role of transportation professionals in achieving innovative solutions to urban transportation needs. The award has been endowed by Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan Inc. in memory of Daniel W Hoyt, a fellow member of ITE who was transportation planning manager for Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan Inc. in Miami, FL, USA, until his untimely death in April 1991 at the age of 51. Hoyt was one of the stalwarts of the profession, consistently giving his time, energy and initiative back to the profession. A consummate professional, he always strove energetically for a better solution and a better way.
Bike sharing is a short-term bicycle rental system that allows users to make relatively short trips of 30 minutes to an hour by bicycle instead of using other modes of transportation. An effective program will reduce automobile dependency and increase public mobility. Most U.S. bicycle sharing systems are currently being run and operated by private companies. The companies provide the physical hardware, bicycle monitoring systems, docking stations, and maintenance, and collect a portion of the subscriber fees. A large portion of American society is overweight, and bike sharing programs provide opportunities for increased physical activity throughout the day. Reducing the use of automobiles will also have benefits in minimizing traffic congestion, especially in high-density areas that currently have traffic capacity issues. The average number of trips in the U.S. bike sharing programs varies substantially by the size of the program. Safety criteria are posted on the various program Web sites, which require compliance with local safety rules including the use of bicycle helmets.
A team of 12 transportation professionals chosen by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) conducted an international scan focused on bicyclist and pedestrian mobility and safety in May 2009. The scan-team met with transportation officials in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK to learn how they have made travel modes safer and more attractive. About 36% of commuters in Copenhagen bicycle to work, with residents cycling about 0.7 million miles every day. Transportation policy in Switzerland puts human-powered mobility on a par with motor vehicles and transit. Bicycles in Germany are permitted on transit with no exceptions. Potsdam, Germany, aims to increase bicycle use from 20% to 27% by 2012. Lund, Sweden, built a strategy called LundaMaTs II that sets sustainable transportation targets to be achieved by 2030. Bristol has a program called Bikeability, which offers safety suggestions to children.
The government of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has invested $15 billion under the Masdar Initiative to construct the world's first car-free zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions, zero-waste city. The new project being undertaken in the outer city area will run on solar energy and use 20 percent power in comparison with that of a conventional city. Waste will be sorted and recycled or used for compost, while sewage will be processed into fuel. Concrete columns will allow the city to built seven meters above the ground, creating space underneath for a network of automated electric transports that will replace cars. Planners of the proposed city expect that the development will allow 1,500 cleantech businesses to be established in the city. These businesses are expected to include large international corporations, new companies, and 50,000 residents.
Parklets, or temporary parking space conversions to mini-parks, generate intensive collaborative planning nodes. Parklets create human-scale inclusive green infrastructure through public-private partnerships that demonstrate transitions of auto-centric paved spaces to people-friendly places. Successful parklet projects in San Francisco and New York have established unique people-friendly places through community engagement, public-private partnerships, and corporate support, but how might such projects translate to a smaller municipal context? What long-range and current planning outcomes can municipal planners help generate from parklet projects? Funding, development rights, impacts, public engagement and collaboration form the basis for best practices that planners and community champions can activate in their local urban environments.