How much mobility infrastructure is required for decent mobility standards? A comparative assessment and explorative modelling

Virag, D. (2021). How much mobility infrastructure is required for decent mobility standards? A comparative assessment and explorative modelling. IIASA YSSP Report. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA

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Global transport substantially contributes to climate change and is one of the sectors with the highest emission growth throughout the last decade. Decarbonizing and mitigating escalating mobility demand is thus key to reaching ambitious climate targets. At the same time, the transport sector is delivering a key societal service and basic need of universal necessity: personal mobility, which is currently not available with sufficient quality and quantity for decent living across the world. Infrastructure stocks are a basic requirement for providing mobility services in terms of accessibility of desired destinations and the mobility modes enabled by them. However, infrastructure stocks require substantial resources for build-up and maintenance and can create lock-ins into unsustainable mobility practices, e.g. by locking-in car-based mobility. This leads to the so far unresolved question of how much mobility would be sufficient and which kinds and how much infrastructure stocks are required to deliver sufficient and climate-friendly mobility globally.

Herein, we firstly assess different strands of literature and compare definitions of decent or sufficient mobility, to shed light on varying conceptualizations of measurements and sufficiency thresholds for mobility. Secondly, we derive several possible relations between (sufficient) mobility thresholds and the required infrastructure stocks, which we then quantitatively investigate across multiple empirical cases. We use data available at global or multi-national scale to empirically explore the connection of mobility and accessibility levels and mobility infrastructure stocks in a descriptive analysis. We find that total distances travelled and the mass of infrastructure stocks are highly correlated, though there seem to be more relevant influencing factors, and that mobility stock levels do not relate strongly to accessibility indicators. For a more differentiated understanding of mobility services, data availability on a multi-national or global level has to be improved.

With this conceptual and empirical investigation, we provide a novel exploration of the connection of material stocks and available measures of societal output of mobility, with the aim to further advance the discussion about decent mobility standards and corresponding infrastructure stocks for a future of sustainable global mobility.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA YSSP Report)
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 09:20
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2022 10:30

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