The need to improve transport sector sustainability is widely acknowledged. Environmental concerns have dominated debate on the transport transition, leaving the social dimension of sustainability often neglected. However, the interdependent nature of the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainability is pushing social concerns to the fore, as is evident in the discourses relating to different mobility behaviours and the equity of measures to promote the transport transition. Research on the links between poverty, exclusion and transportation (cf. Daubitz 2014; Schwedes & Rammler 2018; Manderscheid 2014) or environmental justice and mobility (cf. Sheller 2018) are of particular relevance in this context. However, the implications of social sustainability in this context often remains unclear – despite the prominence of “equity” as a buzzword in relevant debates. This ambiguity is due, among other things, to theoretical differences, contextual circumstances, and difficulties relating to the operationalization of various concepts (cf. Pieper et al. 2019; Renn et al. 2017). As the transport transition is not a purely technological process, efforts to address social concerns and equity can generate considerable leverage for measures to bring about a more sustainable and equitable transportation sector.

Building on Sheller's concept of mobility justice and the literature on just transitions (cf. Williams & Doyon 2019), this research project examines distributive and procedural justice in the context of the transportation transition. To this end, the project first reviews the current state of research on the distributional impacts of the transportation sector and examines various dimensions of equity and their interdependencies with the aim of developing a conceptual-theoretical understanding of distributive justice. Building on this understanding, the project shows that while distributive justice plays a crucial role, other dimensions of justice must also be considered. In a second step, the project examines various public participation processes in the context of Berlin’s transport transition and their role in delivering procedural justice. The following questions are considered: What conflicts arise in the context of transport transition measures and how are they tackled in participation processes? Why do citizens engage with (or decline to engage with) planning processes for transport transition measures? How can insights from the understanding of distributive justice and procedural justice be considered in both perspectives?

By developing an understanding of distributive justice and analysing participatory processes in the context of the transportation transition, these research findings serve to improve understanding of justice in the context of transportation. Last but not least, these findings offer starting points for efforts to make other areas of consumption more sustainable and equitable.