New Research Paper Shows Level of User Impact in Mobility Transitions
This new paper, ‘User-made Immobilities: A Transitions Perspective’ from Kanger and Schot, conceptualises the role of users in creating, expanding and stabilising the automobility system. The article explores linkages between two rapidly growing fields, transitions and mobilities studies. It draws on transition studies to offer a typology of user roles including user-producers, user-legitimators, user-intermediaries, user-citizens and user-consumers, and explores the historical transition to the automobile regime in the USA between 1891-1964. Building on the work of Schot and Kanger, this user typology was previously outlined in their paper in May 2016 in Nature Energy.
The User-made Immobilities Paper is the first detailed empirical exploration of the role of users in transitions. Further, this new research illustrates how, while users play a crucial role during the entire transition process, some roles are more salient than others in particular phases. A subsequent finding shows that the success of the transition depends on the ‘stabilization of the emerging regime that (then) triggers upscaling in terms of the numbers of adopters’. The findings are used to reflect on potential crossovers between transitions and mobilities research. The results provide tentative support for the conclusion that user roles and the patterns of user participation are similar in energy and mobility transitions.
The new research paper is published by Mobilities, Volume 11, Issue 4, September 2016.
The paper originally outlining the user typology was published in Nature Energy (May 2016).
Picture:Women and automobiles in 1910 and 1925: from active to passive user.
Sources: on the left: Laura Dent Crane, frontispiece of The Automobile Girls at Newport (Philadelphia: Henry Althemus 1910). Image provided by University of North Carolina; on the right: front cover of Motor Camper and Tourist (April 1925 issue). Image provided by Collections of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC LC-USZ62-66276.