user2023 ARL Congress

2023 ARL CONGRESS 22–23 June at the Leipziger KUBUS – UFZ, Germany

ARL International ARL International
published on 22/12/2022

2023 ARL CONGRESS 22–23 June

Towards a viable and mobile future

How can we plan socially just and ecologically responsible mobility?



The ability to take part in activities outside the home (participation) is vitally important for the social, economic and cultural viability of societies, as shown most recently during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Online activities related to work, school, shopping, leisure, family and other facets of life can at best only partly substitute for in-person interaction. Social participation therefore depends on mobility and on temporal and physical accessibility. Conversely, restrictions on accessibility and mobility can result in social isolation and a reduced quality of life. This applies especially to various socially and/or spatially defined groups with limited mobility and accessibility such as households without a car, older or disabled people, low-income households, and people in rural areas.

Studies on such relationships have evolved over the past two decades or so into a broad field of study in transport and spatial research, which is closely linked to the principles of fair and equal access to activities. These problems are also relevant in the context of the required mobility transition, which has to take ecological as well as social aspects into account.

In planning practice, safeguarding the spatial aspects of social participation has long been the aim of various guiding principles and instruments (safeguarding the provision of public services, equivalent living conditions, the central place principle, ABC planning (the Netherlands), gender planning, accessibility planning (UK), participative approaches, etc.).

The 2023 ARL Congress will focus on a multi-perspective view of the relationships between mobility and accessibility and various aspects of social participation in the course of discussions among researchers and planners. International perspectives and experiences, such as those of other European countries, will also be explored.


Travel behaviour is having far-reaching impacts on spaces and their social and economic functions and uses. The frame of reference for expert submissions to the sessions at the 2023 ARL Congress is sustainable development that is socially just, ecologically responsible and spatially differentiated. This field of inquiry offers manifold opportunities for in-depth discussions, and the following questions can serve as suggestions:


  • What added value can a spatial science perspective on mobility, accessibility and social participation provide?
  • How can planning and participation processes be designed in a fair and socially inclusive manner, and what role would they have in a socio-ecological mobility transition?
  • How can mobility and accessibility be systematically improved for disadvantaged groups and areas through spatial and/or transport policy strategies?
  • How are objective and subjective accessibility related, and what does that mean for participation?
  • How does the cost of transport affect participation, and how is this reflected in the various modes of transport?
  • What role does the increasing digitalisation of mobility services such as mobility apps and online platforms play in relation to socially equitable participation?
  • What perspectives can gender-based mobility research contribute with respect to the socio-ecological aspects of transformation?
  • How have mobility, accessibility and participation changed in times of COVID-19 and increasing digitalisation in our professional and personal lives? Has social inequality in mobility and accessibility been exacerbated by the pandemic?
  • How do different modes of transport affect participation? What is the pandemic’s role in this context, and what are its implications for the mobility transition?
  • How are new models for workplaces, housing, households and lifestyles affecting mobility? How are social and spatial inequality reflected in the usability of online accessibility options (remote working, home schooling)?


The programme for the ARL Congress includes three research- and practice-based keynote presentations. The spatial, temporal and social aspects of mobility and accessibility will be examined and discussed in five or six sessions. Current projects, particularly those of young researchers, will be the subject of a poster presentation. The programme will end with a closing discussion.


The ARL Congress provides a forum for direct dialogue between researchers and planning professionals and facilitates cross-disciplinary discussions across the fields of planning, economics, the environment, policymaking and administration. If the issues addressed here are of interest to you (including junior researchers and professional planners), we look forward to receiving an abstract for your contribution.

by 31 January 2023 at kongress@arl-net.de.

Please send us an abstract (no more than 2,500 characters excluding spaces) of your envisaged presentation (maximum 15 minutes) in German or English. Your contribution must be related to the topics in the call for papers and/or to one of the key questions above. Please also specify whether you wish to present your contribution in the form of a presentation or a poster. Your abstract should include your central focus, key theses and conclusions, and it should have a clear and concise title.

The abstracts we receive will undergo a review and selection process. For each selected paper, ARL will waive the ARL Congress registration fee and reimburse travel and accommodation expenses in accordance with German travel expense regulations for one presenter.

For questions about the call for papers, please contact Dr. Martina Hülz at ARL HQ, martina.huelz@arl-net.de, tel. +49 511 34842 28.

Tram and bicycle in inner-city traffic; © anmejia18 / Adobe Stock
Tram and bicycle in inner-city traffic; © anmejia18 / Adobe Stock