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Car and the city: Socio-technical pathways to 2030

A socio-technical approach is used to show that the future of urban mobility will depend on the competition between coalitions of innovative actors who support alternative transport systems. The current positioning of these coalitions is mapped with reference to innovation and power. The supporting coalition of the ‘individual car’ system benefits from a dominant position on current alternatives, but faces external pressures for change. Three transition pathways to 2030 are considered - 1) ‘AUTO-city’, i.e. the reconfiguration of the ‘individual car’ supporting coalition through the stable integration of producers of batteries; 2) ‘ECO-city’, i.e. the empowering of local coalitions which integrate all non-car modes, and their diffusion from pioneering to laggard cities; 3) ‘ELECTRI-city’, i.e. the empowering of a new coalition centered on electric operators which establish a new ‘electric vehicles + smart grids’ system. The deployment of one or another transition pathway also depends on the ability of supporting coalitions to influence political institutions. Without a political action for the weakening of the dominant position of the ‘individual car’ system, the ‘AUTO-city’ transition pathway will prevail. To support the ‘ECO-city’ and the ‘ELECTRI-city’ transition pathways, a multilevel transport policy or a national/federal industrial policy is needed, respectively.

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Paper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 201306.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:201306
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