User decision-making in transitions to electrified, autonomous, shared or reduced mobility

Colin Whittle, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Paul Hagger, Phillip Morgan, Graham Parkhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (SciVal)


Mobility affords a range of benefits, but there are environmental, social and economic problems associated with current transport systems. Innovations to address these issues include novel technologies (e.g., electric and autonomous vehicles; EVs, AVs), and new business models and social practices (e.g., shared mobility). Yet, far more attention by policy-makers and researchers has been paid to the technical aspects of a low-carbon mobility transition than to social or psychological aspects, or the role of the user. In this paper, we integrate insights from the multi-level perspective on transitions and socio-psychological literature and draw on transport expert interview (N = 11) data, to examine (a) what influences current attitudes and behaviours in respect of EVs and AVs, and shared mobility, and (b) how this may change in the years to come. We argue that technological change may be most compatible with the transport regime (dominated by personal car-based mobility) but potentially affords a narrower range of sustainability benefits, while mobility substitution (e.g., reducing the need to travel through tele-working or -shopping) may be most challenging for both policy-makers and publics, while potentially addressing a wider range of sustainability problems associated with the transport regime. Shared mobility options sit somewhere in between and challenge certain aspects of the regime (e.g., status associated with car ownership) while offering certain environmental, social and economic benefits. For all three areas of innovation, policy interventions need to address the needs, preferences, experiences and identities of users if they are to be effective and sustainable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-319
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Early online date6 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Decision-making
  • Low-carbon mobility
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Psychology
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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