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Achieving Urban Travel Sustainability after a Pandemic: Clean, Efficient and Inclusive Decarbonization Strategies for Livable Cities

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 20055

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Interests: transport and climate change; energy
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal, Germany
Interests: climate change; political science; international cooperation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Covid-19 pandemic will transform urban travel in ways that are difficult to predict. The world needs a transformation of cities towards sustainable travel and must design new systems post-pandemic that reflect and take advantage of changing dynamics, and address new challenges. The pandemic has already had a massive impact on mobility behaviour during the lock-downs all around the world. How might this affect mobility behaviour once the restrictions are lifted? Individual (e.g. automotive) mobility may surge and public transport could potentially suffer due to social proximity concerns. Working from home might become much more common, and last mile delivery systems may further substitute for passenger trips. The political response has also shown that massive and rapid changes are possible if the situation requires it. This may encourage local and national policy makers to take a much more active role, using economic stimulus packages to boost sustainable urban transport systems, modes and technologies such as electrification. On the freight side, how will changes in shopping patterns affect logistics and delivery systems?  What issues are increased “last mile” delivery creating around the world, and how can these be addressed via rationalizing systems and shifting to cleaner modes like electric vehicles? How can non-motorized modes be used for these services?

Meanwhile, cities will continue to cut air pollutant emissions and will strongly need to decarbonize, with targets of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner proliferating in line with IPCC projections of needed reductions (IPCC 2018 1.5 degree report). The transportation sector plays a critical role as it currently accounts for about 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2014).  Equitable, inclusive development will continue to be a key objective of the New Urban Agenda (United Nations 2017). Transport infrastructure investments will be a critical factor in shaping cities, determining the emissions and energy intensity of mobility and providing access to essential social and economic opportunities across demographic and income groups.

In the post pandemic world, there will be substantial potential to improve urban access, air quality, safety, and the quality of life in cities along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions if an integrated policy approach is applied that combines all intervention areas for transport policy and involves all levels of government. This can be viewed as (a) clean (low carbon, low pollutant emissions), (b) efficient (here meaning general compact urban form and optimal use of streetscapes for a range of activities), and (c) inclusive (providing robust, affordable transportation options for all members of society). A package that achieves low-carbon passenger and freight transport and fosters sustainable development reflects all three of these aspects. It includes achieving avoided journeys through compact urban design and shifts to more efficient modes of transport including active transport and micro-mobility systems, uptake of improved vehicle and engine performance technologies, low-carbon fuels, investments in related infrastructure, and changes in the built environment. The electrification of the vehicle fleet will play a vital role in achieving low carbon transport and can help to lead to lower-power, more urban-friendly vehicles.

This Special Issue invites research papers focusing on:

  • How Covid-19 has changed and could permanently change urban transportation patterns going forward such as passenger travel patterns and freight movement and delivery systems;
  • How policies can help to guide post-pandemic patterns toward greater sustainability;
  • What measures will help avoid increases in private (especially solo) vehicle trips and promote transit and pooled ride sharing;
  • The potential role of, and electrification of lower powered, lighter urban vehicles, and micro-mobility options, especially cycling;
  • Interactions between last mile delivery and passenger trips, and how these delivery systems could be optimized and made more sustainable;
  • The potential for electrification of commercial vehicle services;
  • The role of urban planning to create environments where traffic is reduced, with more shared and active mobility;
  • The role of data and indicators in measuring the sustainability impacts of e-mobility and share mobility; and
  • The role of urban planning and other policies in creating more sustainable shared and e-mobility systems post-pandemic.

Papers can include evaluations of projects and policies, comparative assessments, data-driven analysis for specific cities, and broader evaluations of trends and policies around the world.

Dr. Lewis Fulton
Dr. Oliver Lah
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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

  • climate action
  • urbanization
  • transport
  • electric mobility

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 319 KiB  
Article
East Africa’s Policy and Stakeholder Integration of Informal Operators in Electric Mobility Transitions—Kigali, Nairobi, Kisumu and Dar es Salaam
by Jakub Galuszka, Emilie Martin, Alphonse Nkurunziza, Judith Achieng’ Oginga, Jacqueline Senyagwa, Edmund Teko and Oliver Lah
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1703; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041703 - 4 Feb 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 6162
Abstract
Electric mobility is beginning to enter East African cities. This paper aims to investigate what policy-level solutions and stakeholder constellations are established in the context of electric mobility (e-mobility) in Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Kisumu and Nairobi and in which ways they attempt [...] Read more.
Electric mobility is beginning to enter East African cities. This paper aims to investigate what policy-level solutions and stakeholder constellations are established in the context of electric mobility (e-mobility) in Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Kisumu and Nairobi and in which ways they attempt to tackle the implementation of electric mobility solutions. The study employs two key methods including content analysis of policy and programmatic documents and interviews based on a purposive sampling approach with stakeholders involved in mobility transitions. The study findings point out that in spite of the growing number of policies (specifically in Rwanda and Kenya) and on-the-ground developments, a set of financial and technical barriers persists. These include high upfront investment costs in vehicles and infrastructure, as well as perceived lack of competitiveness with fossil fuel vehicles that constrain the uptake of e-mobility initiatives. The study further indicates that transport operators and their representative associations are less recognized as major players in the transition, far behind new e-mobility players (start-ups) and public authorities. This study concludes by identifying current gaps that need to be tackled by policymakers and stakeholders in order to implement inclusive electric mobility in East African cities, considering modalities that include transport providers and address their financial constraints. Full article
16 pages, 1092 KiB  
Article
Diffusing Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in the EU
by Stefan Werland
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208436 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4012
Abstract
This paper explores how the European Commission promotes the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) among European cities. Despite the strong uptake of the SUMP concept, mobility-related problems persist in European municipalities. Linking theoretical approaches to understand the diffusion of policies with [...] Read more.
This paper explores how the European Commission promotes the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) among European cities. Despite the strong uptake of the SUMP concept, mobility-related problems persist in European municipalities. Linking theoretical approaches to understand the diffusion of policies with empirical findings from working with cities in the SUMP context, this article explores channels of policy diffusion and investigates shortcomings related to the respective approaches. Studies on the diffusion, the transfer and the convergence of policies identify formal hierarchy, coercion, competition, learning and networking, and the diffusion of international norms as channels for policy transfer. The findings which are presented in this paper are twofold: First, the paper finds evidence that the Commission takes different roles and uses all mechanisms in parallel, albeit with different intensity. It concludes that the approaches to explain policy diffusion are not competing or mutually exclusive but are applied by the same actor to address different aspects of a policy field, or to reach out to different actors. Second, the article provides first evidence of factors that limit the mechanisms’ abilities to directly influence urban mobility systems and mobility behaviour. Full article
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13 pages, 1752 KiB  
Article
Covid-19 Pandemic: Early Implications for North European Manufacturing and Logistics
by Olli-Pekka Hilmola, Oskari Lähdeaho, Ville Henttu and Per Hilletofth
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208315 - 9 Oct 2020
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 5721
Abstract
From early 2020 onwards, the world has been going through an unprecedented wave of lockdowns, shutdowns, and preventive measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is evident that these have been harmful for tourism, passenger transport, and the service sector in general. However, [...] Read more.
From early 2020 onwards, the world has been going through an unprecedented wave of lockdowns, shutdowns, and preventive measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is evident that these have been harmful for tourism, passenger transport, and the service sector in general. However, less is known regarding the implications for manufacturing and logistics, which is the purpose of this research. We concentrate on reporting survey findings from Northern Europe, and mostly from Finland. Based on trade accounts, it is evident that Covid-19 has had significant impacts on Finnish import and export. However, in survey responses, companies report that they have mostly been able to serve customers in a good fashion, and the pandemic has increased transportation costs only moderately. Inventories might experience an increase due to the virus, however, in the longer term they will likely remain at the earlier levels (or slightly increase). Companies are mostly afraid of the effects of the second wave of the epidemic, and are also already thinking about the long-term issues with transportation modes used together with supply chain dependencies. For example, the Chinese and, in part, Russian, markets are increasingly being served by railways during the current decade. For some companies (especially small and medium-sized ones) and foreign trade markets, however, the epidemic era has been very harmful. Therefore, as a conclusion we argue that the pandemic is causing rather asymmetrical impacts on manufacturing and logistics. Full article
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16 pages, 5327 KiB  
Article
Electric Free-Floating Carsharing for Sustainable Cities: Characterization of Frequent Trip Profiles Using Acquired Rental Data
by María Ampudia-Renuncio, Begoña Guirao, Rafael Molina-Sanchez and Luís Bragança
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031248 - 9 Feb 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3351
Abstract
Free-floating carsharing systems (FFCS) have become a new type of urban sustainable mobility, much more flexible than the previous station-based carsharing but limited by on-street parking availability and managed by municipal administrations. Literature on FFCS until now mostly relies on survey-based methodologies and [...] Read more.
Free-floating carsharing systems (FFCS) have become a new type of urban sustainable mobility, much more flexible than the previous station-based carsharing but limited by on-street parking availability and managed by municipal administrations. Literature on FFCS until now mostly relies on survey-based methodologies and simulations, and little research on FFCS has been devoted to the scientific analysis of real flows using revealed web-based data. This paper contributes to the existing literature with an analysis of FFCS trips using rental data collected directly from operators’ websites, paying special attention to the most frequent trips. The added value of this research is that it provides the first analysis of the more FFCS demanding districts in the city of Madrid. The results showed that the main origin and destinations points were concentrated in low populated and high-income districts that also had good parking availability and connectivity to the public transportation network. Full article
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