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How useful is the Multi-Level Perspective for transport and sustainability research?

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  • Whitmarsh, Lorraine

Abstract

This article reflects on the strengths and limitations of the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) in the socio-technical transitions literature, focussing in particular on experiences applying the MLP in the domain of sustainable transport research. I address two questions: to what extent is the MLP useful for transport and sustainability researchers; and how might the MLP be improved to overcome present limitations and better address transport and sustainability research needs? I highlight contributions of the MLP to transport and sustainability modelling and social research including providing a more integrated and systemic perspective on socio-technical change. The MLP has also been useful as an analytical tool for identifying and engaging with diverse stakeholder groups, including mainstream (‘regime’) and alternative (‘niche’) organisations. The MLP might be improved by integrating natural, behavioural and political science insights, and particularly by elucidating how behavioural–institutional change might occur. This is critical for transport research given the expressed and observed public resistance to changing travel behaviour. It remains to be seen whether the MLP and transitions framework themselves require more radical adjustment to be able to predict the changes needed to support a transition to a sustainable society.

Suggested Citation

  • Whitmarsh, Lorraine, 2012. "How useful is the Multi-Level Perspective for transport and sustainability research?," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 483-487.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jotrge:v:24:y:2012:i:c:p:483-487
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.01.022
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