STS - conferences, IST2012

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A socio-technical analysis of low-carbon transitions in transport: Applying the MLP to (Dutch and UK) transport systems
Frank W. Geels

Last modified: 2012-03-19


Building on findings in a recent book (Geels et al, 2012), this paper uses the MLP to make a comprehensive analysis of stability and change in contemporary transport systems. At the niche-level, six innovations are discussed: a) intermodal travel, b) cultural and socio-spatial innovations, c) demand management, d) public transport innovations, e) Intelligent transportation systems (ITS), f) green propulsion technologies (BEV, HEV, FCV). At the landscape level, three destabilising trends are discussed: a) climate change, b) peak oil, c) the emergence of an information society. But I also discuss several landscape trends that help stabilize the existing auto-mobility regime (e.g. cultural preference for speed and time saving, physical landscape and urban structures, cultural values such as freedom, choice, progress, wealth and status). At the regime level, I discuss mechanisms of inertia and incremental changes as well as emerging ‘cracks in the regime’ (increasing policy activity at city level because of increasing problems, diminishing growth of auto-mobility sometimes indicated as ‘peak car’, some dissociation of policymakers from the automobility regime, awareness of regime actors of landscape pressures). The conclusions make an interpretive assessment of multi-level interactions and the question to what degree transport systems are in transition.