A role for New Mobility Services outside the inner city?


  • Anders Larsson University of Gothenburg
  • Carey Curtis University of Gothenburg


Public Transport, Semi-dense areas, New Mobility Services




The current shift in policy and planning towards sustainable cities and mobility has gained significant attention in academia. Much of this research is, however, dominated by actions centred only on densely populated settlements leaving a knowledge gap as regards the other settlement types, including suburban areas of large cities, small towns and rural areas (van Wee, 2016). Any transition to transport-efficiency needs to take into account the conditions in different spatial contexts (Larsson et al 2022). In practice, however, these strategies have mainly been implemented in the dense city (Pettersson et al, 2021). New mobility services have been mainly installed in dense urban areas (inner city, inner suburb) in places that are already rich in transport mode choice and activity opportunity. This ignores the large areas of outer suburbia, small country towns and villages. In Sweden, these are places where many people live but where there is less transport choice and also fewer opportunities for work, shopping and other activities. As a result, they have poorer accessibility with public or active modes which thus results in car dependent lifestyles (Larsson et al, 2022).

This research seeks to understand the role that new mobility services have in areas between the dense urban core and the rural hinterland and their potential by different population groups. Employing a case study approach based in the Greater Gothenburg region, we select places to represent a spectrum of socio-demographic and accessibility contexts. From places with good public transport for work commuting and new sustainable housing initiatives to less accessible areas with older housing and lower incomes. All areas have a very limited supply of new mobility services (ie. bike share, e-scooter share, car share, flex bus, ride-hail etc) making them useful for understanding the needs and potentials for new innovative solutions and business models. We draw on surveys of residents to establish their current travel behaviour, use of new mobility services and their views on the potential of these. In addition, we draw in a series of in-depth interviews with public and private sector suppliers of new mobility services in order to understand their views on the barriers and opportunities for installation of these services outside their usual places.

Our preliminary results show that few residents use New Mobility Services, the potential for their use varies by geography and demography. Further the relationship between public and private sector impedes the integration of New Mobility Services as part of fully functional public transport system.


Larsson, A., Ellder, E., Vafeiadis, E., Curtis, C., Steiner, A. 2022. Exploring the potential for sustainable accessibility across settlement types. A Swedish case. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 107.

Pettersson, F., Stjernborg, V., Curtis, C. (2021) Critical challenges in implementing sustainable transport policy in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Cities 113

van Wee, B. (2016). Accessible accessibility research challenges. Journal of Transport Geography 51, 9-16.