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Lessons from the spread of Bus Rapid Transit in Latin America
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, USA.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 50, 82-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Technological transitions and governance theories are employed for the analysis of the dissemination behavior of Bus Rapid Transit systems in Latin America. This process presents interesting characteristics and traits that seem to facilitate the overcoming of barriers and act as catalysts for the adoption of innovation. The present study uses a systems perspective to explore the dynamics of Bus Rapid Transit's adoption by different cities in the region and to follow its geographical dissemination, relying on historical data collected on numerous implemented projects.

The resulting analysis provides an insight on the determinants and key points for the concept's expansion, which may be useful for the study of the dissemination of environmental technologies in cities. Contextualized, solid demonstration projects and incremental innovations, it is here argued, facilitated the adoption of new ways and promoted the dissemination of this urban mobility solution within a homogenous group of cities. A description of the Bus Rapid Transit system's approach to barriers that are also found to hinder the dissemination of environmental technologies provides a learning basis for future dissemination strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 50, 82-90 p.
Keyword [en]
Transitions; Innovative urban solutions; Technology spreading; Urban transformation; BRT Systems
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85513DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.028ISI: 000320490600008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-85513DiVA: diva2:571119
Funder
Vinnova
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-21 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Diffusion of Environmental Technology in a Megacity - A case study of Mexico City
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diffusion of Environmental Technology in a Megacity - A case study of Mexico City
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a world recently declared urban, each day technology plays a more important role in society. A majority of people seem to believe in technology not only for solving everyday problems and for supporting the current production and economic systems, but also for the redress of environmental problems that are caused to a large extent by the same technology that has driven society to the current standards. In this direction, megacities (i.e. cities with more than ten million inhabitants) represent a valuable example of both the problems caused by high urbanization rates and the possibility of solving them using technology. However, the mere development of technology does not guarantee its immediate adoption and successful implementation by a given society.

In this thesis, one of the largest megacities in the world (i.e. in terms of population) was chosen as a case study for the analysis of the adoption and diffusion of environmental technology. Mexico City is studied through a set of interviews with local stakeholders from academia, government, industry and other external organizations such as non-profit organizations and international institutions. This approach resulted in the identification of different obstacles to the adoption and implementation of technologies, but also led to a successful case of technology adoption that allowed for the understanding of important traits that facilitated not only such adoption, but also the subsequent diffusion and spread to other cities.

Although the thesis has a strong focus on the demand side (in this case Mexico City), the supply side (in this case the Swedish environmental technology sector) is also considered and analyzed. By using statistical data of common enterprise and economic nature, the composition of the sector was described and analyzed with the intention to identify important areas and behavioral traits that could give insight into the hindrances that the sector faces when exporting its offerings. Given the interest that the Swedish government has put in the sector for contributing to the country’s economic growth, the different studies commissioned for the assessment of the sector are also discussed in this thesis. The different conclusions and suggestions made by the different agencies entrusted with this task are shown and analyzed.

Conclusions are drawn regarding the need for designing strategies that consider local conditions, that are flexible and adaptive to a highly dynamic environment and that pay particular attention to the development of strong demonstration projects that facilitate overcoming the distrust normally created when new technologies are introduced in a society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 73 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1574
Keyword
Technology Diffusion, Environmental Technology, Megacities, Mexico City
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88401 (URN)978-91-7519-697-8 (ISBN)
Presentation
2013-02-01, ACAS, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköping University, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Megatech
Funder
Vinnova
Available from: 2013-02-15 Created: 2013-02-04 Last updated: 2013-02-15Bibliographically approved
2. Environmental Technology and its Role in the Search for Urban Environmental Sustainability: The Dynamics of Adaptation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Technology and its Role in the Search for Urban Environmental Sustainability: The Dynamics of Adaptation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to analyze the role that environmental technology plays in the solution of environmental problems in cities, and discuss models and conditions that can facilitate the processes of selection, implementation and use of environmental technologies in and by cities.

The technological component is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of modern cities. The dependence of humans on technology is in most cases a given, something that is not ignored in the sustainability debate. The development and implementation of new, “better” technologies is however hindered by the inertia that modern societies have and the influence of the dominant systems (e.g. economic systems based on growth, extraction of natural resources and environmental disturbance). So-called environmental technologies are not always able to efficiently compete against other technologies that are embedded in societies by lock-in mechanisms, e.g. learning by doing and using, scale economies, subsidies, and network externalities.

Even with the “right” technologies, an exclusively techno-centered approach to sustainability can result in other problems, and it might reduce the sustainability debate and the cities’ role in it to discussions of an administrative nature. The actual role of local actors and their agency must be also considered in the models and frameworks directed at understanding sustainability transition processes. It is thus important to analyze the dynamics of technology selection, implementation, use and diffusion in cities from a stakeholders’ perspective as well.

Not only is the availability of technology of interest for understanding the impact it has on the environment, but also the intensity of its use. This has resulted in increased attention from politicians and scholars on the so-called global cities (e.g. London, New York, Tokyo), which are characterized by their intense use of e.g. transport, security and surveillance, and information and communication. Paradigmatic models of sustainability can however be contested when the role of local actors, power and agency are considered in detail and not isolated from the context. Some authors recognize the need to address what they call “ordinary cities”, since focusing on the cities’ comparative level of development (be it political, economic or technological) hinders the possibility of bidirectional learning. In the end, sustainability is a “collective good,” which means that it is in everyone’s interest to coordinate efforts and learn from the best practices, regardless of where they come from.

This thesis focuses on “ordinary cities,” and promises to offer conclusions that can contribute to a better understanding of how societies can learn from each other and how environmental technologies can have deeper and better results when implemented in different contexts than the ones where they were developed. Two questions related to the process of environmental-technology adaptation are addressed in this thesis: How do technology adaptation processes for the solution of urban environmental problems take place in cities? And how do cities benefit from environmental technologies?

It is found that environmental technology is not only seen as a solution to environmental problems in cities, but every day more as a component of strategies to attract attention and compete for resources in national and international markets. Cities have different adaptation and learning strategies. This means that technological solutions have to be flexible and adaptive to local conditions, and allow for vernacular knowledge and past experiences to enrich their performance by facilitating their connection to existing systems. Learning between cities is important and necessary for global sustainability transitions. When it comes to environmental technology, this process is facilitated by strong proof-of-concept projects. Such projects are not only expected to be able to show their technical ability to solve a problem, but must also offer contextual connections to the problems faced by interested cities or potential implementers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 75 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1659
Keyword
Technology Adaptation; Governance Mechanisms; Spread of Technology; Stakeholder Involvement; Proof-of-concept; Environmental Technology Suppliers; Urban Imaginaries
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117947 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-117947 (DOI)978-91-7519-075-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-15, ACAS, A-Huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved

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Mejía-Dugand, SantiagoHjelm, OlofBaas, Leenard

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