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Automobilities after SARS-CoV-2: A Socio-Technical Perspective

Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5978;
Received: 23 June 2020 / Revised: 17 July 2020 / Accepted: 22 July 2020 / Published: 24 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Automobilities in the Mobile Risk Society)
This paper presents an analysis, informed by socio-technical transitions theory and the socially derived concept of automobility, of the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and resulting COVID-19 pandemic on automobility in Europe. The paper argues that the concept of a pervasive, sudden, and powerful crisis has not previously be explored in the socio-technical transitions literature. The strong behavioural changes in physical and virtual mobility associated with the pandemic are argued to be particularly significant, representing a ‘living lab’ in which to explore the possibilities for disintegrating the boundaries of the automobility system, thereby breaking the enduring structures and practices that have enabled automobility to remain largely unchallenged in the policy arena. Change processes previously underway in the automotive industry and in automobility are not impacted equally by the pandemic. We present initial evidence that mobility sharing will reduce, while the acceptance of electric cars will increase. However, it is also concluded that the hegemony of private automobility is not in itself threatened by pandemic outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: coronavirus; pandemic; automobility; Europe; crisis events; futures coronavirus; pandemic; automobility; Europe; crisis events; futures
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, L.; Wells, P. Automobilities after SARS-CoV-2: A Socio-Technical Perspective. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5978.

AMA Style

Wang L, Wells P. Automobilities after SARS-CoV-2: A Socio-Technical Perspective. Sustainability. 2020; 12(15):5978.

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Wang, Liqiao, and Peter Wells. 2020. "Automobilities after SARS-CoV-2: A Socio-Technical Perspective" Sustainability 12, no. 15: 5978.

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