Kelsey Oldbury: "People’s interactions with infrastructure can tell us a lot about politics and social systems. This is also true for combined mobility services."
Kelsey Oldbury has just started working in Mistra SAMS as part of the work package that studies user needs, institutional conditions and sustainability performance. Her research background is in social anthropology and geography, and she is currently working on two projects: a small focus group study of a car-pool service, and a longer project on “tillgänglighetsdesign” and combined mobility services.
– “Tillgänglighetsdesign” is mentioned in the 2016 research proposition from the Swedish government, and Vinnova has made calls for research on the topic. It is unclear exactly what is meant by the term “tillgänglighetsdesign”, which means that, for the first stage of the project, I’m working to map the origin of the concept.
After establishing an understanding of “tillgänglighetsdesign”, the main part of the project that Kelsey Oldbury will be working with will be to look at how accessibility and design relate to current developments in transport planning, specifically as a part of combined mobility services with a focus on how to combine public transport and bike sharing Field research and interviews with planners and other decision-makers in Stockholm and Göteborg will form the basis for this research. Through the interviews, Kelsey Oldbury hopes to get more knowledge of how accessibility, and possibly “tillgänglighetsdesign”, is understood and worked with in practice.
– I am interested in looking at the relationship between public infrastructures and digital technology and how this could shape the future of transport.
The second project connected to Mistra SAMS that Kelsey Oldbury is working with is a focus-group based study of a car-sharing pilot project connected to Stockholm’s central train station. This project involved several different actors, among them Samtrafiken and Stockholms Stad, as well as three different car-sharing companies: Sunfleet, Drive Now and Move About. The focus group study looks to understand people’s experiences of using the service, and the differences between the car-companies. Together with information from online surveys, the focus group discussions will give a good picture of how the costumers have used and experienced the service.
As she gets further involved with Mistra SAMS, Kelsey Oldbury hopes to bring social anthropology into the research more. There are many aspects of accessibility and mobility that would be useful to examine from an anthropological perspective.
– Infrastructure, for example, is now established as an area of focus in anthropology. People’s interactions with infrastructure can tell us a lot about politics and social systems. This is also true for new initiatives like combined mobility services, especially in terms of understanding the role transport plays in people’s everyday lives.
Mobility and accessibility services, and their users, are something that Kelsey Oldbury sees great value in studying through an ethnographic approach.
– Mistra SAMS focus on interdisciplinary research is something that drew me here, and I’m happy to contribute to it through my perspective as an anthropologist!