Introducing new network promoting sustainable transport for everyone

By Jayne P Lambrou

Barn leker på en kjelke i Norge.
Barn leker på en kjelke i Norge.Photo: Shutterstock

Are you interested in transport and mobility? Do you believe that social factors should play a central role in shaping our transportation systems? This new network might be something for you.

Discussion and development in transportation is currently dominated by technological advancements and infrastructure improvements. While these aspects are undoubtedly important, the social and cultural dimensions of transport have been overlooked. That's where our network comes in.

With the aim of changing how we approach and develop transportation, the Network for Mobility and Social Sustainability will address these issues from all sides. We will explore how issues such as equal access to transport, public health, and socio-cultural experiences of travel are just as crucial as engineering and technical solutions.

What exactly does the network offer?

It's a platform for researchers, planners, policy-makers, and anyone interested in transportation to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on innovative solutions.

The goals of the network extend beyond fostering discussion. We aim to spark real change in how transportation is planned and developed by influencing policies and decision-making processes related to mobility and transport.

Various activities will be arranged, some with a narrower focus and with particular aims, others with a broader perspective. These activities will be workshops, discussion panels, open talks and the like.

Urban planning researcher, Sebastian Peters is the network’s leader. “Examples of themes that we will address could be the mobility of specific groups of the population, public health, transport poverty [when people do not have access to essential services or work because of a lack of affordable or available transport options], socio-cultural experiences of travel, gender issues related to travel, the rationales and mind sets affecting decision making about transportation, or the social role of technology - to name a few,” he informs.

“These themes have the potential to affect or be affected by policy-makers, politicians but also, and probably most importantly, all those who move  - basically everybody,” he adds.

Can anyone join?

Whether you're an academic, a professional, or simply someone with a keen interest in mobility challenges, there's a place for you in our network.

“Yes, the network is open for anyone,” confirms Peters. “It is really an open space for people interested in the topics we have talked about, no matter how trained they are in the field. Even if they just want to observe and learn.”

“The different activities that we plan will sometimes be developed for specific, more narrowly defined groups. We can, for example, offer a workshop for creating research funding applications, or host a panel discussion about integrating social perspectives of transport planning into university education. Activities will naturally vary in their openness, and in their appeal to different network members.”

Registered members of the network will have a gateway to get in touch with others interested in the field of transport and mobility. Once joined, you will be invited to any activities that are planned or of other relevant news.

What impacts will the network have?

“The exchange of knowledge will hopefully result in the recognition of the social perspectives of transport, giving these more attention in the planning and development of mobility,” says Peters.

“Decision makers are important members of the network. Most of them are aware of the need for such a network,” he adds.

Guro Berg, editor of Tiltakskatalogen, has previously led several research and development projects on sustainable urban transport under the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Viken County Municipality. She is collaborating with Peters on the network. “Social sustainability affects everyday life, human dignity, and welfare,” says Berg.

“Social sustainability and mobility affects people in the transportation system, users of transportation services and others who are somehow affected by the infrastructure and the use of the transportation system (e.g. noise, air quality, land use, time use, and accidents). A goal of the network is to highlight these issues and develop social sustainability into an important policy area for transportation,” she adds.

The network is based at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and is supported by Konnekt, Norway’s National Centre for Competence on Mobility. It is open for all interested institutions and individuals.


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