PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (8): 1516-1529.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.08.014

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mobility studies and transport geography in the West: Progress, implications and prospects

CHANG Enyu(), ZHANG Min()   

  1. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2021-12-02 Revised:2022-03-23 Online:2022-08-28 Published:2022-10-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Min;
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation of China(20AZD040)


Mobility is ubiquitous and flourishing, and its impact on society, space, and individuals is becoming increasingly complex in the continuously changing sociotechnical environment of the contemporary world. Since the start of the "mobility turn", Western mobility studies and transport geography have experienced a fierce collision and gradually developed an extensive and in-depth dialogue, which have jointly promoted the inclusive development of mobility study in geography. However, the existing study on mobilities in geography in China has lagged behind, the research is mostly confined to the internal discourse system of sub-disciplines, and the mutually beneficial dialogue between disciplines has not been carried out effectively, which has not fully stimulated the research innovation in this interdisciplinary field. Therefore, in this article, we focused on the dialogue between Western new mobility study and transport geography and reviewed the key literature on mobility studies in the Western geographic research since 2006, which connects mobility study and transport geography in three common topics—mobility practice and meaning, mobility inequality, and information and communication technology and mobility. This article proposed a rethinking of mobility theory and its fruitful connotation, characteristics, and value, as well as outlining some avenues for future research where further conversation would continue in the area of daily mobility study, taking into account the current local context. We argued that the complementary and progressive nature of mobility research and transport geography constitute the premise of their dialogue, which also suggests that deepening the understanding of the multiplicity, relationality, and contextuality of the connotation of mobility, as well as integrating more dialectical thinking, will drive more innovation in mobility research. In the future, mobility research in China should further expand the multiple connotations of mobility, enrich the subjects and scales of research, think dialectically about the value of mobility, associate with sociotechnical contexts, and explore methodology innovations. Mobility study in the context of China could make great contributions to global research and promote the decentralization and further diversification of the international context.

Key words: mobilities, new mobility paradigm, mobility turn, transport geography, pluralism