How much infrastructure is required to support decent mobility for all? An exploratory assessment

Virág, D., Wiedenhofer, D., Baumgart, A., Matej, S., Krausmann, F., Min, J. ORCID:, Rao, N.D. ORCID:, & Haberl, H. (2022). How much infrastructure is required to support decent mobility for all? An exploratory assessment. Ecological Economics 200 e107511. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107511.

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Project: Understanding the Role of Material Stock Patterns for the Transformation to a Sustainable Society (MAT_STOCKS, H2020 741950), Energy Demand Changes Induced by Technological and Social Innovations (EDITS)


Decarbonizing transport is crucial for achieving climate targets, which is challenging because mobility is growing rapidly. Personal mobility is a key societal service and basic need, but currently not available to everyone with sufficient quality and quantity. The basis for mobility and accessibility of desired destinations is infrastructure, but its build-up and maintenance require a substantial fraction of global resource use. The question arises, how much mobility and how much infrastructure are required to deliver decent, sustainable mobility.

We explore the relations between mobility levels, mobility infrastructure and well-being. We synthesize definitions of decent mobility and assess mobility measurements and provide a novel estimate of mobility infrastructure stocks for 172 countries in the year ~2021. We then explore the relations between infrastructure, travelled distances, accessibility, economic activity and several ‘beyond GDP’ well-being indicators.

We find that travelled distances and mobility infrastructure levels are significantly correlated. Above levels of ~92–207 t/cap of mobility infrastructure no further significant gains in well-being can be expected from a further increase of infrastructure. We conclude that high mobility in terms of distances travelled as well as buildi

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Passenger transport; Well-being; Transport poverty; Decent living standards; Transport infrastructure; Stock-flow-service nexus
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 13:06
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 13:09

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