Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Contemporary Social Science

For a Special Issue on

Future Mobilities: The Challenges of Sustainable Accessibility

Manuscript deadline
30 April 2024

Cover image - Contemporary Social Science

Special Issue Editor(s)

Leslie Budd, Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University
[email protected]

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Future Mobilities: The Challenges of Sustainable Accessibility

The geo-political and economic challenges of the last few years have brought the symbiotic relationship between the global and the local into sharper focus.  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was manifold but in particular, concepts and practices of mobility came under pressure. In the case of Europe, the war in Ukraine has undermined energy security that alongside prior global commodity shortages has generated inflationary pressures. Consequently, commitments to net zero carbon and related climate change abatement initiatives and policies have been questioned.

Different ways of organising production and a changing relationship between home, work and leisure have also produced new pressures in which urban and regional environments are managed and sustained. Within this conjunction of uncertain events, the apparent panacea of a mass global Electric Vehicle (EV) market has been promoted. As a result, the comprehensive challenges of sustainability and accessibility for future mobilities are less visible in public discourses and policy debates.

Various consultancy reports have highlighted a range of trends including: the prospect of large social benefits and industry disruption; connected cars as information platforms providing better experiences for drivers and new business opportunities; more generalised take-up transforming the economics of EVs; hydrogen cars or battery electric vehicles—why not both?; ridesharing and the great urban shift.

The European Union (EU) has tended to take a wider urban perspective as displayed in its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy: Putting European transport on track for the future that comprised a number of key aims: boosting uptake of zero-emission vehicles, renewable & low-carbon fuels and related infrastructure; creating zero-emission airports and ports; making interurban and urban mobility more sustainable and healthier; greening freight transport; pricing carbon and providing better incentives for users; making connected and automated multimodal mobility a reality; innovation, data and AI for smart mobility; making mobility fair and just for all; and enhancing transport safety and security.

The UK government’s Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy established some guiding principles for the mobility transition, such as that: new modes of transport and mobility services must be safe and secure by design; the benefits of innovation in mobility must be available to all parts of the UK and all segments of society; walking, cycling and active travel must remain the best options for short urban journeys; mass transit must remain fundamental to an efficient transport system; new mobility services must lead the transition to zero emissions; mobility innovation must help to reduce congestion through more efficient use of limited road space; the marketplace for mobility must be open to stimulate innovation and give the best deal to consumers; new mobility services must be designed to operate as part of an integrated transport system combining public, private and multiple modes for transport users; data from new mobility services must be shared where appropriate to improve choice and the operation of the transport system.

Meanwhile, the run up to the next general election in the UK has already ushered in greater debate over issues such as clean air zones in cities and targets such as 2030 for the ending of sale of ICE cars.

All of this provides a background to this special issue which is to engage critically with issues concerning future mobilities from social science perspectives.

We welcome contributions from a range of perspectives on the following topics, although the list is not exhaustive:

  • Drivers of and barriers to EV take up and policy implications;
  • The socio-technical impacts of autonomous vehicles and EVs;
  • Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and its implications;
  • The accountability and regulation of mobility services;
  • Evolving urban forms and their future (such as 15 minute cities) Smart and Liveable Cities; 
  • The death of commuting?;
  • What future? Electric or the Hydrogen economy?;
  • The transition to different forms of public transport;
  • Inequalities of transport accessibility and mobilities;
  • Governance of mobility transitions.

Guest Editor Leslie Budd (Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University) welcomes submissions now. 

For full instructions on submitting to the journal please see the Instructions for Authors page. Authors should indicate that they wish the manuscript to be reviewed for inclusion in the special issue. The Editors of this issue would be happy to review plans for papers in advance of their receipt. All papers will be peer reviewed.

Submission Instructions

This special issue on Futures Mobilities will be published in mid 2024.

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