Catalysts for transport transitions

bridging the gap between disruptions and change

Jennifer Kent*, Robyn Dowling, Sophia Maalsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of disruptions - big and small - to induce modal shift away from the private car is one of the more pressing concerns of transport geography and policy. Car sharing, a more sustainable mode of mobility to private car ownership, has quietly emerged as a viable and popular alternative to private vehicle travel in numerous cities of the world. This paper brings these two phenomena into conversation. We present a novel exploration of the precise moment in which the decision to start car sharing is made - an event which remains under-researched and little understood. Using a qualitative analysis of interview data to explore the period during which the individual adopts car sharing, we ask: how are transport transitions, particularly the uptake of car sharing, catalysed? We find that disruptions can either be single shocks, or a bundling and re-ordering of existing practices. We propose that willingness and ability as two preconditions that are key to enable transition to new ways of being mobile. Willingness is an embrace of new practices through inevitable teething problems. Ability is an aptitude for alternative practices, as well as access to infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • car sharing
  • mobility biographies
  • social practices
  • Sydney
  • disruption

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