Transition Management for Sustainable Personal Mobility:
Philip J. Vergragt, Tellus Institute, United States
In the Dutch National Environmental Policy Plan-4 it has been recognised that persistent environmental problems (like global warming caused by greenhouse gases) cannot be solved by traditional policy instruments or by technological innovation alone. Transitions are necessary and have been defined as long term, continuous processes in which a society or a subsystem changes fundamentally; interconnected changes which reinforce each other in technology, the economy, institutions, ecology, culture, behaviour, and belief systems. One of the examples where transitions are necessary is in the realm of mobility.

Transportation of persons and freight is responsible for roughly 30 % of the emission of CO2 and this amount is increasing rather than decreasing. Moreover, economic development in developing countries will be responsible for an explosion in automobile and freight transportation. There is no accepted single strategy at this moment that is able to check these developments. Promising new strategies are increased multimodal chain mobility (in order to reduce car mobility), and a transition towards a sustainable fuel infrastructure.

In the last few years leading car companies have been investing in fuel cell technologies, possibly requiring new infrastructures based on hydrogen. Fuel cells have the potential of zero emission, but their implementation depends heavily on many factors, among them technical and economic performance, fuel storage on board, fuel infrastructure, and fuel generation by means of sustainable technologies.

Innovation in the direction of hydrogen fuel cells requires a future vision that is shared by many stakeholders, collaboration between many public and private stakeholders, experimentation in Bounded Socio-Technical Experiments, in which second order learning processes take place about the nature of the technology, about collaboration between stakeholders with various interests, and about sustainable solutions for the future.

As a case study, consumer acceptance of fuel cell buses in Amsterdam has been analysed. In this case, special emphasis has been given to social learning among stakeholders. For this, a zero measurement has been done before the actual introduction of the buses, which will be followed by follow-up interviews during and after the introduction period.

View Full Paper in PDF FORMAT