Chapter 2: A transitions theory perspective on transport innovation
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Taking a systemic perspective on transport innovation, this chapter discusses the specific understanding of 'system innovation' as brought forward in sustainability transitions theory. This perspective challenges conventional insights regarding the rationale, governance philosophy, relevant dimensions and scope of transport innovation. It proposes to move 1) from ecological modernization to 'system innovation'; 2) from optimization to experimentalism; 3) from sustainable technologies to socio-cultural transformation; and 4) from innovation to exnovation. The systemic, holistic outlook and the long-term orientation of the transitions perspective do come with certain limitations, though. The 'bigger picture' lacks accurate analysis of societal impacts, both in positivist-quantitative as well as in constructivist-qualitative terms. This limits the scope for tailored transport solutions. The strength of transitions theory lies elsewhere: Taking innovations seriously as dynamic processes, it provides a nuanced and strategically sophisticated understanding of innovation success and failure.