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Special Issue "Ensuring Sustainable Development at the Light of New Mobility Trends and Challenges"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. José Manuel Vassallo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Transport Research Centre, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. ETSI de Caminos, Canales y Puertos. Avenida del Profesor Aranguren, 3, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: transport policy and planning; sustainability assessment; infrastructure appraisal; transport economics and financing; governance; public-private partnerships; mobility as a service
Dr. Juan Gómez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Transport Research Centre, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. ETSI de Caminos, Canales y Puertos. Avenida del Profesor Aranguren, 3, 28040, Madrid, Spain
Interests: discrete choice modelling, shared mobility, transport economics, forecasting, behavioral economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, the world is facing a new mobility paradigm driven by the impact of digitalisation, artificial intelligence, new cleaner energy sources and public health issues caused by the COVD19 pandemic. Those trends are changing the way people work, travel and acquire goods and services. Applications from big data combined with machine learning techniques are contributing to provide more complete information about transport systems, thereby helping public authorities and companies to better plan and program activities, and optimize processes in a much more dynamic way. Information technologies also contribute to a larger integration of different transport means through MaaS (Mobility as a Service) platforms that offer intermodal transport alternatives customized according to the preferences of the users (price, comfort, reliability, health, etc.). New energy sources are also gaining momentum. The improvement of batteries and the promotion of electro mobility, along with the growth of alternative fuels would likely reduce the weight that fossil fuels have traditionally played to power transport means. In addition, the COVID19 pandemic has brought about a new mobility scenario where public health issues and social distancing become key challenges of transport policy and planning. The pandemic is also accelerating new lifestyles. Teleworking is booming, while e-commerce is growing given the reluctance of many people to acquire products using traditional approaches.

Moreover, the fight against climate change poses crucial challenges in the coming years. On the one hand, governments will have to adopt measures to enhance cleaner mobility, or even reduce mobility. On the other hand, additional funding may be necessary to make infrastructure resilient to climate change, or to repair the consequences of extraordinary events caused by climatic hazards. In addition, moving towards a more sustainable mobility that minimizes its impact on the environment and biodiversity also implies great efforts related to energy production by renewable means, the deployment of more sustainable fuels and engines, the implementation of circular economy approaches across the life cycle of transport-related products and services, etc.

All these changes draw an uncertain future. In fact, in its latest Transport Outlook, the International Transport Forum mentions that: “uncertainties abound regarding travel behaviour and mobility patterns as well as technological progress and innovations. The sheer multitude of variables and the enormous scope of increasingly fast-paced and disruptive change render the future of transport ever more difficult to foretell”.

The irruption of many new trends, along with the uncertainty associated with their future uptake, will necessarily imply the adoption of policy and regulatory measures aimed at safeguarding sustainable development. Mobility after COVID19 also faces important issues. On the one hand, the pandemic is changing traditional social habits of work, leisure and commerce. On the other hand, it requires safeguarding health in the use of public transportation means, while planners should strive to avoid a massive shift towards the use of private vehicles that may prompt higher social and environmental costs to the society.

This Special Issue is calling for papers providing high-quality research on the potential impacts that new mobility paradigms are expected to have on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environmental). We are also interested in papers dealing with policy and regulatory measures, already implemented or proposed for the future, that will contribute to align new mobility trends with sustainable development goals.

Dr. José Manuel Vassallo
Dr. Juan Gómez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • transport policy
  • mobility decoupling
  • sustainable development
  • regulation
  • governance
  • transport externalities
  • automation and connectivity
  • clean power sources
  • sharing economy
  • shared mobility
  • mobility as a Service
  • teleworking
  • e-commerce.
  • COVID 19

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Understanding the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Transportation Travel Patterns in the City of Lisbon
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8342; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158342 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 624
Abstract
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating disruptive changes in urban mobility that may compromise the sustainability of the public transportation system. As a result, worldwide cities face the need to integrate data from different transportation modes to dynamically respond to changing conditions. This [...] Read more.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating disruptive changes in urban mobility that may compromise the sustainability of the public transportation system. As a result, worldwide cities face the need to integrate data from different transportation modes to dynamically respond to changing conditions. This article combines statistical views with machine learning advances to comprehensively explore changing urban mobility dynamics within multimodal public transportation systems from user trip records. In particular, we retrieve discriminative traffic patterns with order-preserving coherence to model disruptions to demand expectations across geographies and show their utility to describe changing mobility dynamics with strict guarantees of statistical significance, interpretability and actionability. This methodology is applied to comprehensively trace the changes to the urban mobility patterns in the Lisbon city brought by the current COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, we consider passenger trip data gathered from the three major public transportation modes: subway, bus, and tramways. The gathered results comprehensively reveal novel travel patterns within the city, such as imbalanced demand distribution towards the city peripheries, going far beyond simplistic localized changes to the magnitude of traffic demand. This work offers a novel methodological contribution with a solid statistical ground for the spatiotemporal assessment of actionable mobility changes and provides essential insights for other cities and public transport operators facing mobility challenges alike. Full article
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Article
Mobility Trends before and after the Pandemic Outbreak: Analyzing the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona through the Lens of Equality and Sustainability
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7908; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147908 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
The spatial arrangement of a metropolis is of utmost importance to carry out daily activities, which are constrained by space and time. Accessibility is not only shaped by the spatial and temporal dimension, but it is also defined by individual characteristics, such as [...] Read more.
The spatial arrangement of a metropolis is of utmost importance to carry out daily activities, which are constrained by space and time. Accessibility is not only shaped by the spatial and temporal dimension, but it is also defined by individual characteristics, such as gender, impairments, or socioeconomic characteristics of the citizens living or commuting in this area. This study analyzes mobility trends and patterns in the metropolitan area of Barcelona before and after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, with special emphasis on gender and equality. The study draws on multiple sources of information; however, two main datasets are analyzed: two traditional travel surveys from the transport metropolitan area of Barcelona and two coming from smartphone data. The results show that gender plays a relevant role when analyzing mobility patterns, as already highlighted in other studies, but, after the pandemic outbreak, some population groups were more likely to change their mobility patterns, for example, highly educated population groups and those with higher income. This study also highlights that e-activities may shape new mobility patterns and living conditions for some population segments, but some activities cannot be replaced by IT technologies. For all these reasons, city and transport planning should foster sustainable development policies, which will provide the maximum benefit for society. Full article
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Article
Understanding the Effect of Traffic Congestion on Accidents Using Big Data
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137500 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
Understanding the temporal and spatial dynamics of traffic accidents are a key determinant in their mitigation. This article leverages big data and a Poisson model with fixed effects to understand the causality of traffic congestion on road accidents in ten cities in Latin [...] Read more.
Understanding the temporal and spatial dynamics of traffic accidents are a key determinant in their mitigation. This article leverages big data and a Poisson model with fixed effects to understand the causality of traffic congestion on road accidents in ten cities in Latin America: Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador, Santiago, Santo Domingo, and Sao Paulo. Analyzing over 10 billion observations in 2019, results show a positive non-linear causality of congestion on the number of accidents. Overall, the results suggest that a 10% reduction in traffic delay would reduce accidents by 3.4%, equivalent to over 72 thousand traffic accidents. Sao Paulo and Mexico City would be particularly benefited, with reductions of 5.4% and 4.7%, respectively. The results of this paper aim to support policymakers in emerging economies in implementing measures to reduce congestion and, with it, the related direct and indirect costs borne by societies. Full article
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Article
Teleworking and Online Shopping: Socio-Economic Factors Affecting Their Impact on Transport Demand
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7211; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137211 - 28 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 830
Abstract
Teleworking and online shopping became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be expected to maintain a strong presence in the foreseeable future. They can lead to significant changes in mobility patterns and transport demand. It is still unclear, however, how extensive their [...] Read more.
Teleworking and online shopping became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be expected to maintain a strong presence in the foreseeable future. They can lead to significant changes in mobility patterns and transport demand. It is still unclear, however, how extensive their adoption can be, since each individual has different preferences or constraints. The overall impact on transport depends on which segments of the population will modify their behaviour and on what the substitutes to the current patterns will be. The purpose of this work is to identify the user profiles and spatial aspects that affect the adoption of teleworking and online shopping, and to explore the potential impact on transport demand. To that end, data from an EU-wide survey on mobility were analysed using a Machine Learning methodology. The results suggest that while the take up of the new work and consumption patterns is high on average, there are significant differences among countries and across different socio-economic profiles. Teleworking appears to have a high potential mainly in certain services sectors, affecting commuting patterns predominantly in large urban areas. Online shopping activity is more uniform across the population, although differences among countries and age groups may still be relevant. The findings of this work can be useful for the analysis of policies to encourage the uptake of new technologies in transport and mobility. They can be also a good reference point for future studies on the ex-post analysis of the impacts of the pandemic on mobility. Full article
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Article
The Role of Shared E-Scooter Systems in Urban Sustainability and Resilience during the Covid-19 Mobility Restrictions
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137084 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 826
Abstract
Shared e-scooter systems were first introduced in 2017 and have since been spreading around the world as a sustainable mode of transport. The success of this mode is also due to new urban mobility strategies and plans, such as the European Sustainable and [...] Read more.
Shared e-scooter systems were first introduced in 2017 and have since been spreading around the world as a sustainable mode of transport. The success of this mode is also due to new urban mobility strategies and plans, such as the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which relies on non-pollutant modes. To display the range of effects that can be achieved in urban mobility through the proper implementation of shared e-scooter systems, a systematic literature review and a case study were performed. It was found that this shared system can help cities with environmental issues, such as reducing air pollution, reducing inequality in access to transport, promoting money-saving, and improving mobility resilience. During the Covid-19 pandemic, shared e-scooters became a great asset in many cities worldwide, because they promote social distancing and help cities not to rely only on private cars to replace public transport rides, especially for short-distance trips. In the case study of Braga, it was found that the city still relies on shared e-scooter modes as a mobility option after the pandemic, also promoting special fares for people to start using the service. Full article
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Article
Business Model Blueprints for the Shared Mobility Hub Network
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126939 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 817
Abstract
Shared (electric) mobility is still facing challenges in terms of reaching its potential as a sustainable mobility solution. Low physical and digital integration with public transport, a lack of charging infrastructure, the regulatory barriers, and the public nuisance are hindering the uptake and [...] Read more.
Shared (electric) mobility is still facing challenges in terms of reaching its potential as a sustainable mobility solution. Low physical and digital integration with public transport, a lack of charging infrastructure, the regulatory barriers, and the public nuisance are hindering the uptake and organization of shared mobility services. This study examines the case of the shared mobility hub, a location where shared mobility is concentrated, as a solution to overcome these challenges. To find ideas informing how a network of shared mobility hubs can contribute to sustainable urban mobility and to overcome the aforementioned challenges, a business model innovation approach was adopted. Focus groups, consisting of public and private stakeholders, collaboratively designed five business model (BM) blueprints, reaching a consensus about the value creation, delivery, and capture mechanisms of the network. The blueprints, defined as first-/last-mile, clustered, point-of-interest (POI), hybrid, and closed mobility hub networks, provide alternative solutions to integrate sustainable transportation modes into a coherent network, enabling multi- and intermodal travel behaviour, and supporting interoperability, sustainable land use, and ensured access to shared (electric) travel modes. However, which kind of network the local key stakeholders need to commit to depends on the local policy goals and regulatory context. Full article
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Article
Moped Scooter Sharing: Citizens’ Perceptions, Users’ Behavior, and Implications for Urban Mobility
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126886 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 488
Abstract
In recent years, moped-style scooter sharing is gaining increasing attention in many urban areas worldwide. Nevertheless, research contributions are still limited, unlike other shared mobility systems. This paper is aimed at providing a first insight on moped sharing demand by exploring the usage [...] Read more.
In recent years, moped-style scooter sharing is gaining increasing attention in many urban areas worldwide. Nevertheless, research contributions are still limited, unlike other shared mobility systems. This paper is aimed at providing a first insight on moped sharing demand by exploring the usage and opinions towards this new mobility alternative. To that end, the research exploits the data from a web-based survey conducted in Spain, one of the countries with the largest implementation around the world in terms of the shared e-mopeds fleet. Kruskal–Wallis tests were conducted to identify the segment of the urban population that is more likely adopted moped sharing, and additional statistical mean differences in specific variables concerning moped sharing were carried out. The paper also provides a better understanding of the shared mopeds market and some implications for urban mobility, such as the potential role of shared mopeds in reducing vehicle ownership and its effect on urban modal shift. Furthermore, two discrete choice models were developed to (i) analyze the key drivers determining the willingness to use moped sharing, and (ii) explore individuals’ opinions on whether owning a private vehicle will not be a need in the future. The results indicate that age, occupation, income, and environmental awareness seem to be among the main reasons behind the potential use of these services in the future. The results may be useful for both operators and transport planners when designing actions and policy efforts addressing this mobility option and urban mobility in general. Full article
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Article
The Post-Pandemic Recovery of Transport Activity: Emerging Mobility Patterns and Repercussions on Future Evolution
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6359; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116359 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1016
Abstract
The expectations for post-COVID recovery of transport activity point towards a gradual return to normality, once the pandemic is under control and mobility restrictions end. The shock to society and economy has, however, caused a number of behavioural changes that can influence the [...] Read more.
The expectations for post-COVID recovery of transport activity point towards a gradual return to normality, once the pandemic is under control and mobility restrictions end. The shock to society and economy has, however, caused a number of behavioural changes that can influence the evolution of the transport sector. We analyse the main factors that can influence future supply and demand and explore how they may affect trip generation, distribution and modal split in passenger transport. We combine several conventional and innovative data sources with a detailed strategic transport model at the EU level, in order to present quantitative estimates under various scenarios. New remote work patterns or personal risk avoidance attitudes can lead to increased levels of car ownership and use. Public policy priorities in the aftermath of the pandemic would need to address the emerging challenges and adopt measures that can sustain the shift to active travel, support public transport, railways and aviation and stimulate innovation in transport technologies and services. Full article
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Article
Analysis of the Impact of Ride-Hailing Services on Motor Vehicles Crashes in Madrid
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5855; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115855 - 23 May 2021
Viewed by 609
Abstract
In most cities, discretionary passenger transport by car is predominantly supplied by taxi services. These services face competition from new digital platforms (UBER, Cabify, etc.) that connect users with the services offered by authorized drivers with a license for rented vehicles with drivers [...] Read more.
In most cities, discretionary passenger transport by car is predominantly supplied by taxi services. These services face competition from new digital platforms (UBER, Cabify, etc.) that connect users with the services offered by authorized drivers with a license for rented vehicles with drivers (VTC). However, very little is known about the impacts that these services produce in cities where they operate. So far, most studies on this issue have focused on cities of the United States of America, and they broadly found a positive impact in terms of road safety. Road safety has become one of the priority focuses for ensuring social welfare, to the point of being integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals as a primary value to achieve sustainable, safe and responsible mobility. Within this context, the objective of this paper is to analyze the impact of ride-hailing platforms on the frequency of traffic accidents with at least one fatally or seriously injured person in the municipality of Madrid from 2014 to 2018. To do this, a regression analysis has been carried out using a random effects negative binomial regression (RENB). The results of the model show that Uber and Cabify services are associated with a decrease in fatal and serious accidents in Madrid. Full article
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Article
Public Acceptability of Low Emission Zones: The Case of “Madrid Central”
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063251 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Cities have intensified the adoption of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to improve urban livability. Despite the high social controversy caused by LEZs in many cities, the scientific literature has paid little attention to study their public acceptability. This paper conducts a modelling approach [...] Read more.
Cities have intensified the adoption of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to improve urban livability. Despite the high social controversy caused by LEZs in many cities, the scientific literature has paid little attention to study their public acceptability. This paper conducts a modelling approach exploring the impact of four groups of variables on the public acceptability of LEZs: (i) socio-economic and demographic characteristics; (ii) personal attitudes; (iii) travel-related variables; and (iv) perceptions and mobility habits linked to LEZs. The city of Madrid, Spain, is a case study of great interest because a LEZ called “Madrid Central” has been recently implemented. A total of 799 individual questionnaires were used to calibrate an ordered logit model. Results indicate that socio-economic and demographic variables are weakly related to the level of public acceptability towards the LEZ. On the contrary, the political ideology of individuals, their environmental awareness, their primary transport mode, the use of shared mobility systems, and the frequency of access to “Madrid Central” have a higher explanatory power. The results may be useful for policy-makers to understand the factors that increase the public acceptability of LEZs. Full article
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Article
The Norwegian Vehicle Electrification Policy and Its Implicit Price of Carbon
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031346 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2209
Abstract
The rapid market uptake of battery and hybrid electric cars in Norway is unparalleled. We examine the fiscal policy instruments behind this development. In essence, the Norwegian policy consists in taxing internal combustion engine vehicles rather than subsidizing electric ones. There are 14 [...] Read more.
The rapid market uptake of battery and hybrid electric cars in Norway is unparalleled. We examine the fiscal policy instruments behind this development. In essence, the Norwegian policy consists in taxing internal combustion engine vehicles rather than subsidizing electric ones. There are 14 different fiscal incentives in place bearing on vehicles, fuel, or road use. All of them are in some way CO2-differentiated. In the tradition of positive economics, we derive the price of carbon implicit in each policy instrument and in the total package of taxes and subsidies. The price of carbon characterizing the trade-off between conventional and battery electric cars in Norway as of 2019 exceeds €1370 per ton of CO2. For light and heavy-duty commercial vehicles the corresponding prices have been conservatively estimated at €640 and €200 per ton of CO2, respectively. In addition, the penalty incurred by automakers for not meeting their 2020/2021 target under EU Regulation 2019/631 corresponds to a carbon price of the order of €340 per ton of CO2. As compared to the price of emission allowances in the European cap-and-trade system, the price of carbon paid by automakers and Norwegian motorists is one or two orders of magnitude higher. Full article
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