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Getting smart about urban mobility – Aligning the paradigms of smart and sustainable

Lyons, Glenn



© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The digital age continues its advance, bringing with it remarkable technological possibilities. Such possibilities are founded upon an increasingly fine-grained electronic connectivity of people, places and objects allied to powerful data gathering and processing capabilities. Urban mobility of the future could be transformed, with developments such as: new forms of propulsion; new forms of vehicle control; changing business models of ownership and use; mobile technologies that equip and empower individuals; and opportunities to undertake activities without the need to travel. 'smart’ is the order of the day. Smart urban mobility conjures up a sense of new opportunity; of progress. However, what is really meant by smart? This paper examines this question, revealing a lack of consensus in terms of smart cities and a paucity of literature seeking to make sense of smart urban mobility. The paper considers how smart relates to sustainable, raising concerns about potentially dichotomous constituencies of commentators and discourses. Critical commentary associated with smart includes caution that large corporations are exerting significant influence in the era of smart in pursuit of goals that may not strongly align with those of urban planners concerned with social and environmental sustainability as well as economic prosperity. The paper puts forward and explores the following definition of smart urban mobility: “connectivity in towns and cities that is affordable, effective, attractive and sustainable”. This is intended to help draw the paradigms of smart and sustainable closer together towards a common framework for urban mobility development.


Lyons, G. (2018). Getting smart about urban mobility – Aligning the paradigms of smart and sustainable. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 115, 4-14.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 6, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 27, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 28, 2017
Journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Print ISSN 0965-8564
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 115
Pages 4-14
Keywords smart urban mobility, sustainable urban mobility, sociotechnical, ICTs, intelligent transport systems, smart cities
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


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