Sustainable Development Principles and Their Implications for Transport

Henrik Gudmundsson, Mattias Höjer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


"Sustainable mobility" has been adopted as overall objective for European transport policy, and similar intentions are aired in other parts of the world. However, little have been done to define, what "sustainable mobility" would actually imply for our understan¬ding and assessment of transport. We expect this much used term could end up as only lubricant to the very development it was meant to challenge: Ever growing movements of people and goods. In this article we attempt to situate transport and mobility in a context of sustainable development principles. Four such principles are suggested, with inspiration from Herman Daly and others. We emphasise the need to include principles of development (increasing well-being and equity) as well as sustainability (preserving natural and man-made capital). We then establish a comprehensive concept of passenger transport, which combine a systems perspective with a service perspective. Omitting either one would disable a full consideration of sustainable development. Our discussion of the four principles reveal several critical implications for current transport trends and policies. We are even forced to challenge the value of mobility itself. The article thereby outlines the conceptual foundations for a transport policy, that would qualify as sustainable.
Keyword: sustainable mobility, transport, Sustainable Development principles
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)269-282
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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