The automobile road to technological change: Diffusion of the automobile as a process of technological substitution

Nakicenovic, N. ORCID: (1986). The automobile road to technological change: Diffusion of the automobile as a process of technological substitution. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 29 (4) 309-340. 10.1016/0040-1625(86)90021-1.

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Advancement of the motor vehicle and its production methods is analyzed as a process of technological change. In a broader context, motor vehicles evolved as an integral component of road transportation through a series of interlaced substitutions of old by new technologies. Building on a large number of studies that described technological substitution processes, first it is shown how new energy forms replaced their predecessors and how the old marine-transport technologies were substituted by new ones. These examples constitute some of the oldest, empirically documented technological changes and show that many events in the dynamics of energy substitution and marine transport are related to technological changes in road transportation. It is shown that these substitution processes can be described by simple rules and that the replacement of old by new technologies in the energy and transport systems lasted about 80 years. The technological changes within road transportation, however, were more rapid. Replacement of horses by automobiles and older by newer generations of motor vehicles and production methods lasted only a few decades in the United States. Thus, technological substitutions within the road-transportation system were considerably shorter than the expansion of railroads, surfaced roads, all road vehicles together, and the more recent expansion of air transportation.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy Program (ENP)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2016 13:36
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:26

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