Till Koglin is a Ph.D. student at the Lund University and has a bachelor and master degree in human geography. His research deals with sustainable mobility with a focus on cycling. The main questions of his research deal with cyclist’s marginalisation in cities, the dominance of motorised traffic and power relations in transport planning. His data involves both qualitative material from interviews and observations and quantitative material from survey studies. The cases in his research are Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden.
Mobility research has, during the last decade, progressed, in many different disciplines. This research was much needed due to the previous lack of social understanding of mobility and transport in classic transport studies. Moreover, mobility research has evolved in sub-areas, such as automobility and vélomobility, in order to understand the rise of motorised traffic and the different aspects/problems of cycling. However, the politics of auto- and vélomobility may well go further than the research so far seems to acknowledge. This paper tries to take that step by bringing critical social theory into the analysis of today’s transport system, mobility and vélomobility. Critical social theory offers a different theoretical perspective to analyse today’s mobilities. Much of our transport infrastructure today has been and still is built for motorised traffic. For analysing the mobility patterns that have resulted from this, one has to analyse mobility and transport critically, and this is what this paper tries to do, by connecting critical social theory to such an analysis. The empirical data comes mainly from field studies in Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. The two are very different when it comes to their transport systems, but in both cities motorised traffic dominates. It is therefore interesting to analyse the two places from a mobility perspective, but through the lens of critical social theory, in order to establish a greater and deeper understanding of why motorised traffic is as dominant as it is in both cities.