Using Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Modeling to Understand Rebound Effects

  • Mohammad Ahmadi AchachloueiEmail author
  • Lorenz M. Hilty
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


Processes leading to an increase of demand for a resource as a consequence of increasing the efficiency of using this resource in production or consumption are known as (direct) rebound effects. Rebound effects at micro and macro levels tend to offset the reduction in resource consumption enabled by progress in efficiency. Systems thinking and modeling instruments such as causal loop diagrams and System Dynamics can be used to conceptualize the structure of this complex phenomenon and also to communicate model-based insights. In passenger transport, the rebound effect can be invoked by increased cost efficiency (direct economic rebound) and/or increase in speed (time rebound). In this paper we review and compare two existing models on passenger transport—including a model on the role of information and communication technology—with regard to the feedback loops used to conceptualize rebound effects.


Rebound effect Energy efficiency Systems thinking Systems modeling System dynamics Causal loop diagrams Passenger transport ICT Time rebound Direct rebound 



The authors would like to thank Empa (Technology and Society Lab), KTH (Centre for Sustainable Communications), and Vinnova, which made this work possible as a part of the first author’s Ph.D. project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Ahmadi Achachlouei
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Lorenz M. Hilty
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Strategies Research (fms)KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable Communications (CESC)KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Technology and Society LabSt. GallenSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of InformaticsUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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