Digital platforms and the future of urban mobility

This major three-year study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, researches how digital platforms are reshaping urban mobility systems.

green scooters on the streets of Berlin

The extent to which urban mobility platforms (including ride-hailing, bike-sharing, mapping, payment and other platforms) mitigate or exacerbate contemporary economic, ecological and social challenges, including Covid-19, at urban scale will depend on which platform innovations, and combinations of them, become dominant in a place, how they relate to existing forms of provision and how effectively this can be organised and governed. 

Fusing insights from urban studies and innovation studies, the project’s aims to critically investigate how and why global trajectories of urban mobility platform innovation combine and embed in specific city-regional contexts, and with what socio-spatial implications.

Consequently, the central questions the research asks are:

  • What are the various global trajectories of urban mobility platform innovation and how are they imagined and organised?
  • How does knowledge and policy associated with these various urban mobility platform innovation trajectories circulate between urban contexts?
  • How do these trajectories combine and embed in city-regional contexts and with what implications for socio-spatial re-organisation?

The research has three objectives:

  1. To develop a global database of the various trajectories that constitute the global urban mobility platform innovation landscape.
  2. To produce profiles of five intermediaries involved in the circulation of platform knowledge and policies. Each profile will explore how intermediary organisations represent and circulate selective platform trajectories to particular places.
  3. To conduct in-depth, processual case studies of urban platform innovation in three English city-regions (West Midlands, Greater Manchester and North East Combined Authority / North of Tyne). The case studies will investigate how global platform trajectories combine and embed in various place-based contexts, and with what socio-spatial implications.

Principal Investigators