Special Issue – Call for Papers

Environmentally and socially sustainable mobility

In Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (Elsevier)

As the sixth International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights, near-term climate actions are increasingly urgent, and must prioritize equity, social justice, and inclusivity in order to achieve more sustainable outcomes (IPCC-AR6, 2023). Enabling carbon-neutral mobility is one of the immediate actions for which policy-makers around the world can plan and implement locally, with significant environmental and health benefits to inhabitants. Decarbonising transport brings about several challenges as social equity and environmental sustainability are often in tension with one another (Mattioli, 2016; Mullen & Marsden, 2016). For instance, without guaranteeing viable and affordable sustainable transportation alternatives, some policy interventions that seek to reduce transport emission can disproportionately harm the accessibility and mobility of low-income communities and increase social exclusion.

In recent years, researchers have been using data-driven (and theory-informed) techniques to investigate the issues that hinder a broader adoption of sustainable transportation modes in cities, investigating both accessibility and mobility. Access to destination studies have been analysing how people’s possibilities to reach opportunities and services by different modes of transport, including sustainable options such as walking, cycling and public transit, may vary depending on social status, gender, ethnicity (Borowski et al, 2018, Pereira et al., 2019, Tucker & Manaugh, 2018, Liu et all., 2022). Mobility studies, leveraging both traditional and new forms of data, have also uncovered behavioural differences across i.e. gender, age, income (Gauvin et al., 2020, Nordbakke, 2013, Iglesias et al., 2019), highlighting the importance of accounting for the varying people’s needs to understand mobility patterns. The increasing availability of new micro-mobility transport solutions is thought to have a promising role for sustainable transitions (Abduljabbar et al. 2021), and their role has also been examined through the equity lenses. These studies have underlined issues of affordability and barriers of these new services (Reck & Axhausen, 2021, Shaheen et al., 2017). Insights emerging from these studies can inform and support policy-making in the context of net-zero transitions.

This special issue aims to continue the discussions and push the boundaries on how advances in geospatial data science can be leveraged to promote development that balances social and environmental sustainability in transport and mobility to build more equitable neighborhoods and sustainable communities. We invite papers that develop new methods and technologies as well those applying existing geospatial analysis techniques to examine research questions at the intersection of social equity and sustainable mobility including but not limited to:

  • How do we reach socially and ecologically sustainable mobility that considers both people and the environment at the same time?
  • How can novel geographic artificial intelligence (GeoAI) methods contribute to the development of more inclusive and sustainable transport systems?
  • Can we develop accessibility measures that move beyond travel time and monetary costs to incorporate energy consumption and environmental costs?
  • How should we measure the trade-offs between environmental and social sustainability by investigating accessibility levels of different transport modes and mobility patterns?
  • How do urban form and land use patterns affect transportation choices and accessibility to different transportation options, and induce more or less sustainable mobility patterns?
  • Can we combine mobility and accessibility measures to better understand the drivers of sustainable transportation adoption and uncover inequalities based on gender, income, age, race etc.?
  • To what extent will the adoption of new transportation technologies, such as electric and autonomous vehicles create unintended conflicts between social equity and environmental goals?

Guest Editors

Submission Deadline

Manuscript submission information

For any inquiries about topic fit, deadline, etc., please contact Grant McKenzie (grant.mckenzie@mcgill.ca).  The journal’s submission platform (EditorialManager®️) is now available for receiving submissions to this Special Issue. Please refer to the Guide for Authors to prepare your manuscript, and select the article type of “VSI: ESS 2023” when submitting your manuscript online. Both the Guide for Authors and the submission portal could be found on the Journal Homepage: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/computers-environment-and-urban-systems

Related Workshops at GIScience Conference

Prior to the special issue deadline, the guest editors of the special issue are co-organizing two workshops related to this topic at the 12th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience ’23). These workshops will take place on September 12, 2023 and all are invited to participate.  More details:


  • Abduljabbar, R. L., Liyanage, S., & Dia, H. (2021). The role of micro-mobility in shaping sustainable cities: A systematic literature review. Transportation research part D: transport and environment, 92, 102734.
  • Borowski, E., Ermagun, A., & Levinson, D. (2018). Disparity of access: variations in transit service by race, ethnicity, income, and auto availability.
  • Gauvin, L., Tizzoni, M., Piaggesi, S., Young, A., Adler, N., Verhulst, S., … & Cattuto, C. (2020). Gender gaps in urban mobility. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7(1), 1-13.
  • Iglesias, V., Giraldez, F., Tiznado-Aitken, I., & Muñoz, J. C. (2019). How uneven is the urban mobility playing field? Inequalities among socioeconomic groups in Santiago De Chile. Transportation research record, 2673(11), 59-70.
  • Liu, D., Kwan, M. P., Kan, Z., Song, Y., & Li, X. (2022). Inter‐and intra‐racial/ethnic disparities in walking accessibility to grocery stores. Area, 54(4), 627-637.
  • Mattioli, G. (2016). Transport needs in a climate-constrained world. A novel framework to reconcile social and environmental sustainability in transport. Energy Research & Social Science, 18, 118-128.
  • Mullen, C., & Marsden, G. (2016). Mobility justice in low carbon energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 18, 109-117.
  • Nordbakke, S. (2013). Capabilities for mobility among urban older women: barriers, strategies and options. Journal of Transport Geography, 26, 166-174.
  • Pereira, R. H., Banister, D., Schwanen, T., & Wessel, N. (2019). Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 12(1), 741-764.
  • Reck, D. J., & Axhausen, K. W. (2021). Who uses shared micro-mobility services? Empirical evidence from Zurich, Switzerland. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 94, 102803.
  • Shaheen, S., Bell, C., Cohen, A., Yelchuru, B., & Hamilton, B. A. (2017). Travel behavior: Shared mobility and transportation equity (No. PL-18-007). United States. Federal Highway Administration. Office of Policy & Governmental Affairs.
  • Tucker, B., & Manaugh, K. (2018). Bicycle equity in Brazil: Access to safe cycling routes across neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba. International journal of sustainable transportation, 12(1), 29-38.