Book Chapter

Mobility and social exclusion : the need of a comprehensive research approach

In recent years, issues of social inequality and social exclusion in mobility and transport have gained increasing attention, both in empirical research and in policymaking and transport development. While some European countries (such as Great Britain, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland) can be seen as outstanding examples in this context, gaps within research and between research findings and political action persist. While researchers have called for more attention to the mobility of individuals and the conditions1 of their mobility, transport planners and politicians (it seems) would rather stick to conventional space- and time-based approaches to accessibility. The issue of social exclusion requires a comprehensive approach : mobility researchers must consider conditions of access and travellers’ competencies, skills, needs, habits and preferences. In this endeavor, sociologically based historical research can help. Recent theoretical research on social exclusion in mobility and transport, related social science research in Europe, and empirical findings (especially on income disparities) and associated policies in some European countries are therefore reviewed in this paper, with no pretensions of comprehensiveness.


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