Freedom of movement & fairness

Transforming transport planning for social and environmental justice.

A new think-piece by Dr Caroline Mullen is one of two outputs on energy and mobility justice, written by members of the DEMAND Centre for Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas Project.

In Freedom of movement and fairness Dr Mullen argues that to move to a sustainable and just mobility system, we should start from recognition that each and every person matters.  This would mean planning which aims to support and enable mobility for each person as well as ensuring each can access social and economic benefits of transport, and be protected from health and other risks from transport pollution.  Part of the picture is developing cleaner vehicles and renewable, clean energy sources. But that alone is not enough. Existing mobility systems limit mobility for many without vehicles and create difficulties for others who find they cannot get on with everyday life unless they devote resource and time to traveling by car.   Instead, freedom of movement can be promoted by a shift away from car reliance and towards safe mobility on foot, by bicycle and collective transport. A move to a just mobility system can draw broad political and public support by promoting multiple social, economic and individual interests. It outlines new methods of assessment and public participation in decision-making which could support a transition toward a more just transport system. 

The second think-piece, De-energising and de-carbonising society, is by Professor Gordon Walker of Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University.  It focuses on energy justice and argues that “the combined need to reduce carbon emissions at scale, at speed, and in ways that embody fairness and justice, means that particularly in the more wealthy parts of the developed, carbon-saturated Global North, we have to both de-carbonise the energy supply system and de-energise the conduct of everyday life, at home, at work and in moving around.” 

Read more via the Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas Project and the DEMAND Centre.