Special Issue "Sustainable Automobilities in the Mobile Risk Society"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sven Kesselring
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nuertingen-Geislingen University (HfWU), Campus Geislingen, Parkstraße 4, 73312 Geislingen, Germany
Interests: mobility research; sustainable (auto)mobilities; urban policies; social theory
Dr. Weert Canzler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Social Science Center Berlin (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Interests: mobility research; energy transition; innovation policy
Prof. Dr. Vincent Kaufmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Interests: mobility research; land use planning; social theory
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The “system of automobility” (Urry 2004) is in the process of deep on-going transformation. In the digital age, new opportunities, technologies, and business models have emerged for organizing the mobility of individuals. Mobility as a service (MaaS), sharing concepts in general, electrified, autonomous, and even mobility based on solar energy are no longer vague ideas but realistic opportunities for the future of mobilities. “Tracing mobilities” (Canzler, Kaufmann, Kesselring 2008) has become part of the everyday business of the mobility industry as a whole.

It seems the drivers of these developments are no longer just the big European, US, and Japanese car companies. Innovations and a push towards a new form of selling access to mobility instead of cars have emerged from Chinese entrepreneurs together with Chinese car companies, which constantly increase their market shares.

In Germany, i.e., a number of initiatives have been started to face and manage the transformation of the automotive industry including strategic dialog initiatives and the like. Start-ups have also begun to challenge the mature industry.

Against the backdrop of these recent developments, this Special Issue asks for the potential, risks, and dangers of the transformative process. It asks if the changes in the industry open up a transition towards sustainable automobilities or if the future of automobility lies in a “system of mobilities” (Kesselring 2008; 2019) that integrates cars, as one element among many others.

The editors of this Special Issue invite theoretically and empirically driven contributions dealing with the following topics:

  • Towards a theory of sustainable mobilities; theories of change
  • Transformations of automobilities in the mobile risk society
  • Changing mobilities: Innovative car producers, the new entrepreneurial cultures in for instance Asia, and the role of the state
  • Automobility and the new culture of sustainability
  • Lifestyles and social practice beyond automobile dependency
  • Cooperative, connected, and automated/autonomous mobility
  • The culture of artificial intelligence and the future of (sustainable) automobility Discursive policies for the future of automobilities
  • Current challenges in automotive management: new financial services, digitalization, new mobility concepts
  • New sustainable materials and production systems
  • Mobility as a service (MaaS)
  • When automobilities meets the city
  • “After the car”: Imagining post-automobility
  • Disruptive (auto)mobilities

We are calling for interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives and are inviting both theoretically and empirically driven research. Contributions can be from social science, history, automotive management, industrial relations, mobilities research, and theory.

Prof. Dr. Sven Kesselring
Dr. Weert Canzler
Prof. Dr. Vincent Kaufmann
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 1800 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.


  • Just transition: Transformation of transport
  • Societal impact of decarbonization of the transport sector
  • Automotive management
  • Role of active mobility
  • Mobilities research
  • Narratives of post-automobilism
  • Transport policies and populist strategies

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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