Transport planning, paradigms and practices: finding conditions for change

Ruben Akse, Adri Albert de la bruhèze, Karst Geurs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Paradigms are discussed as sociotechnical configurations underlying transport planning and transport policy making. Paradigms are important for continuity and change in policy but are unfortunately neglected in many analyses of transport planning. In making paradigms visible in this chapter, we do not solely focus on their cognitive aspect like ‘ideas’ and conceptualisations of transport, but we instead argue that transportation paradigms have to be sustained through specific sociotechnical planning practices within organisational and institutional contexts. Based on a literature review, we explain that the dominant mobility paradigm has been built on the need for speed, travel time savings and increasing urban traffic throughput. This paradigm became and has remained dominant for two main reasons. Firstly, technological modelling practices of this paradigm fit a narrative of quantitative data being objective and neutral. Secondly, building an efficient transport system based on speed fits a compelling narrative of a society that is expected to go forward, and which is built on rationality and efficiency. By illustrating how key factors for paradigm stability can be worked out in practice through the concept of the 15-minute city, we propose ways in which both practitioners and academics can build an accessibility-based planning paradigm contributing to a more sustainable transport system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourse Analysis in Transport and Urban Development
Subtitle of host publicationInterpretation, Diversity and Controversy
EditorsRobin Hickman, Christine Hannigan
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781802207200
ISBN (Print)9781802207194
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2023


  • NLA
  • Sustainable transport
  • Transport governance
  • Mobility paradigms
  • Mobility transition
  • 15-minute city
  • Accessibility


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