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The Morality of Motoring

The Emergence of the Automobile in Belgium, 1895-1940

Donald Weber

The emergence of the automobile in Belgium from 1895 onwards brutally disrupted the traditional social order on the roads, transforming social practices and the order of society from the mundane-the everyday use of transport-to the more rarified-urban planning and the use of public space. In this article, we will deal with the earliest history of motorization in Belgium. We will analyze motorization as a process of interaction between a specific set of social actors, and focus on its outcome: modern traffic policy as a conflict-management strategy. It is argued that traffic policy evolved from an originally moral strategy into a technical strategy, as engineers and the public road administration introduced Foucauldian approaches in order to discipline the traffic system.

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From Victim to Villain

Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980

Martin Emanuel

This article employs a social practice approach to analyze the boom and bust of cycling in Stockholm around 1980, in the context of broader socioeconomic trends and under the influence of new cyclists, bicycle innovation, and local traffic policy. Within a predominantly car-based city traffic regime, which rendered some mobility practice more legitimate than others, measures intended for cyclists were taken at the expense of pedestrians rather than motorists. Because of a blend of more cyclists, faster bicycles, and design choices based on the car as norm, the image of the cyclist transformed from that of the victim (of automobility) to the villain, and, for this reason, cycling was less easily supported by local politicians. Combined with the second wave of automobility in the 1980s, bicycle policy and planning lost its steam, and cycling declined.

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Indigènes into Signs

Incorporating Indigenous Pedestrians on Colonial Roads in 1920s and 1930s French Indochina

Stéphanie Ponsavady

In Colonial Indochina, the introduction of motorized transportation led French authorities to focus their attention on the issue of pedestrian walking. The political and economic imperatives of the colonial state shaped the modern phenomenon of traffic, which isolated the indigenous body as a sign of otherness. The unruly indigenous pedestrian expressed a discursive and experiential crisis that questioned colonialism itself. This article invites us to examine the political potential of walking by considering Henri Lefebvre's notion of dressage and its limitations in a colonial setting through various examples, from French accounts of indigenous walking in daily activities to political disruptions of traffic by pedestrian demonstrators and the incorporation of indigenous bodies in road safety policies. Repeatedly, colonial subjects eluded, criticized, or undermined the rules of the road and the colony by the simple act of walking.

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The Map and the Territory

The Seventh International Road Congress, Germany 1934

Kristina Skåden

In transnational history of traffic, transport, and mobility, historians have been arguing for studying organizations as “transnational system builders” in the establishment and modification of transnational infrastructure. Emphasis has been placed on examining human actors. Here, I argue that the role of material objects, the nonhuman actors, should also be taken into account by investigating how a particular map matters. The major research issue is, therefore: How can we understand and analyze how the Nazi regime put the map Deutschlandkarte displayed at the exhibition Die Strasse (Munich, 1934) into play? In addition, how did the map figure in transnational system building during and after the seventh International Road Congress arranged by the Permanent International Association of Road Congresses? Insights from transnational history in the fields of traffic, transport, and mobility as well as material cultural studies, critical mapping, and actor-network theory inform this article.

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Introduction

The Return of Transport Coordination

Gustav Sjöblom

The coordination of transport was heavily debated in the interwar period, as mechanized road traffic for the first time posed a serious challenge to the railways as the backbone of the transport system. The main issues of the interwar period bear resemblances with current challenges for transport policy, and historical studies may improve our understanding of contemporary transport coordination. This introduction sets the stage by discussing the concept of transport coordination and its historiography.

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Museum Review

The National Rail Museum Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, India

Anne-Katrin Ebert

In the affluent neighborhood and diplomatic district of Chanakyapuri in New Delhi lies the Indian National Rail Museum (NRM), the only one of its kind in Asia. Sprawling over 44,000 square meters, the NRM comprises a large outdoor museum, an indoor gallery and a large Auditorium for conferences. In 2010, the museum hosted the annual meeting of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M).

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Francis Papon

In historical research on cycling in France, most attention has been given to the development of bicycles themselves and the industry that built them, mainly in the nineteenth century, or on cycling as a sport. Some historians have studied the bicycle as a social object. But the works dealing with cycling as a means of transport are scarce. The special double session on “Cycling History and Cycling Policies” at the 2012 annual conference of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility in Madrid was an opportunity to exchange findings from various countries.

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Alex Drace-Francis

If you get off the train at Bucharest's Gara de Nord and walk out of the front entrance, you will see (across the busy traffic) a park, flanked on the righthand side by Dinicu Golescu Boulevard. Some distance down this road there is a statue of Dinicu Golescu. Dinicu owned most of the land on which both the park and the boulevard are situated. Perhaps more importantly, in 1826 (or was it 1827?), he did something none of his fellow countrymen had ever done before: he published an account of his travels.

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Editorial

Mobilities Studies, a Transdiciplinary Field

Dagmar Schäfer

The inter- and multidisciplinary field of mobility studies is in full swing: at least seven dedicated journals and several dedicated book series now cover the field, and the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M); Cosmobilities; and related associations and networks are cooperating ever more closely. As mobility studies have gained importance and grown into a field of its own, with its own organizations, other disciplines have become interested in mobilities. While this trend indicates the health and strength of mobility studies per se, it brings with it the obligation to consider new ways to reach out and expand.

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Emma Terama, Juha Peltomaa, Catarina Rolim and Patrícia Baptista

The popularity of car sharing as part of the urban mobility repertoire has barely increased from a niche contribution in recent decades. Although holding potential to address local issues such as congestion and air quality, but even more crucially to meet the urgent need to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from traffic, car sharing often meets barriers stemming from local contexts, regulatory environments, and/or lack of political support or consumer awareness. In this article, we discuss the interdependencies of these barriers and provide some key elements to consider in the future when planning practical implementation, research initiatives, and policy support for car sharing in order to overcome the complex and interrelated barriers.