• Anne Geertje Bouman
4. term, Sustaianable Cities, Master (Master Programme)
The goal of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the problematization of transport poverty and rural sustainable mobility for the Northern region of the Netherlands. Pressing challenges around the sustainable transitions in the transport and mobility sector, and the inclusivity of the mobility system are emphasized in academic literature and newspapers.
This is also applicable to the Northern region of the Netherlands, where a high car dependency is the norm with all sustainability concerns in mind. Moreover, this also has influenced the inclusivity of the mobility system for people who do not have car ownership. An individual is transport poor when their daily basic activities cannot be satisfied with the available mobility option. Therefore, the research question is the following: “How are the need for rural sustainable mobility and the issue of transport poverty problematized in policy for the Northern part of the Netherlands?” The contribution of this research is giving attention to the societal issue of transport poverty, filling the gap of sustainability consideration in the concept of transport poverty, and increasing attention to rural sustainable mobility which is currently less present in academic literature.

The theoretical approach in this research is the understanding of problematization, transport poverty, rural sustainable mobility, and the mobilities turn. The mobilities turn gives a counter perspective upon the traditional understanding of transport planning and advocates for an approach of mobilities, everyday life, practices, and acknowledgment of the complexities of this all.

Problematization also is the methodological approach in this research because understanding problems is important in all fields of study as it forms the basis for many policies, which in their way shape the lives of individuals. Through document analysis and semi-structured interviews data was collected and with an adjusted ‘What is the problem represented to be’ framework from Carol Bacchi the data was analyzed. Seven categories of problems came forward in the policy documents: The lack of intricacy of the public transport network, distribution of facilities and long travel distances, lack of equity in the mobility system, the car as the dominant mode of transport, affordability and its friction with availability, transport emissions, and other externalities, and uncertainties. Moreover, the analysis also shows a certain degree of interrelatedness of these problems. Furthermore, gaps in the representation of the problem come are brought forward in the analysis. These are mainly related to the lack of a holistic approach and therefore not fully acknowledging the complexity and interrelatedness of practices and the everyday life. The latter is followed in the discussion where it reflects upon the richness of practices, the difference in temporalities, and the important role of the problem. The paper is concluded with statements that acknowledge the strongly solution-based approach within the domain of transport and mobility and suggestions to move away from this approach and bring the understanding of everyday life and practices more present in policies.
Publication date31 May 2023
Number of pages45
ID: 532410391