Affording mobility: Attending to the socio-material affordances of transport un/affordability


Anna Plyushteva

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, policy - fares, policy - equity


Transport affordability, Transport justice, Affordances, Transport fares, Bulgaria


The affordability of transport is a long-standing concern of both transport and economic geography. However, despite the growing influence of relational and heterodox economic thinking in a range of geographic sub-disciplines, the cost of transport is still largely conceptualised in universalising, binary, and purely quantitative terms, as either affordable or unaffordable. The present paper proposes the concept of transport un/affordability to bring together perspectives from the geographies of everyday mobility, and research on everyday economic lives, in order to examine how affording transport takes place. The paper draws on interviews with public transport users in Sofia, Bulgaria, demonstrating how fares act as one type of socio-material affordance which enables, precludes, or transforms un/affordability in situated and contingent ways. The everyday spaces and times within which transport un/affordability takes place are examined through the three interrelated dimensions of transport un/affordability: transactions, journeys, and budgets. The paper considers the implications of conceptualising transport un/affordability relationally, particularly in the context of transport geography's empirical and theoretical engagements with transport justice, and amidst processes of profound technological change within both payment systems and transport systems globally.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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