Handbook of Sustainable Transport
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Handbook of Sustainable Transport

Edited by Carey Curtis

Exploring the need for a sustainable transport paradigm, which has been sought after by local and national authorities internationally over the last 30 years, this illuminating and timely Handbook offers insights into how this can be secured more broadly and what it may involve, as well as the challenges that the sustainable transport approach faces. The Handbook offers readers a holistic understanding of the paradigm by drawing on a wide range of research and relevant case studies that showcase where the principles of sustainable transport have been implemented.
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Chapter 7: Beyond the dilemma: questioning the links between human prosperity and mobility growth

Luca Bertolini


Contemporary mobility practices are unsustainable, but households and firms depend on them. The search for a balance between the two sides of this dilemma advocated by the ‘sustainable mobility paradigm’ is not matched by achievements on the ground. The lack of progress seems rooted in the still tight connection between mobility growth and economic growth, and between economic growth and household welfare and firm viability. In order to question these relationships, this chapter positions the mobility debate within broader discussions about sustainable development and economic growth. A ‘positive growth’ and a ‘negative growth’ economic paradigm are sketched, and their mobility equivalents explored. The challenge for those advocating positive mobility growth is to show how transport technology can sufficiently and timely address persistent environmental and social issues. The challenge for those advocating negative mobility growth is to show how they can break the deep-seated lock-in of incumbent mobility structures and practices.

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