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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Representations of urban cycling in sustainability transitions research: a review

Valentini, Daniel; Holmgren, Sara; Wangel, Josefin


Background Increased cycling is generally recognized as a highly important project in decarbonizing urban transport. Despite well-researched and broadly accepted benefts of cycling, bicycle mobility plays only a marginal role in the modal share for most cities. Purpose To make sense of this paradox, this review article investigates how cycling research engages with the governance of cycling. The review focuses on how cycling mobility is envisioned, approached and described within the change-oriented feld of sustainability transitions research. Findings Through a systematic reading of 25 peer reviewed scientifc journal articles, we fnd that the articles mainly focus on technological objects of change (e-bikes and bikesharing systems); incumbent actors; and established planning and policy measures applied to new contexts. Most studies are evaluative, lacking the forward-looking and change oriented ambition transitions research set out to address. To contribute to increased cycling mobility in urban contexts, we conclude that future cycling research might beneft from adopting more diverse and clear notions of governance objects, actors and measures.


Urban cycling; Cycling practices; Cycling technologies; Sustainability transitions; Transport governance

Published in

European Transport Research Review
2023, Volume: 15, article number: 28