DS0601 -

Motives for demotorisation in French urban areas – MoDe

Submission summary

Reducing car dependency is one of the main goals of urban transport and land-use policies. In France, urban policies have primarily focused on the development of public transport and the restriction of car use. These policies have been quite effective in city centres. However they have been thwarted by the growing sprawl of households and economic activities, which have been accompanied by a multi-polarization of daily trips and an increase in distances travelled by car.
There is a huge literature on the determining factors of car dependency (socio-economic, spatial, psychological…) and on the difficulties in changing individual daily travel behaviour. On the other hand there is little research on the policies that would encourage households to demotorise (i.e. to reduce the number of the cars they own) in a permanent manner, and on the conditions under which demotorisation could be effectively accompanied by a significant reduction in car use. The few studies available on this topic, mainly based on quantitative data, highlight that demotorisation remains a rare phenomenon, and that it is often related to economic constraints or a change in the household size (like the death of one of the partners or children moving out).
However we assume that a thorough research on recent tendencies regarding demotorisation (observed in some dense parts of urban areas) is necessary in order to inform public stakeholders on the strategies to implement in order to reduce the number of cars owned by the households and mitigate the negative social and environmental consequences associated to car use, in a context where the image of the automobile is changing, ICT provide new perspectives regarding the organisation of daily activities (e-commerce, teleworking…) and mobility services (car sharing, carpooling…), and where urban forms are changing at various scales (ecodistricts, polycentrism…).
Based on the analysis of four French urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Dijon), and on quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the MoDe (Motives for Demotorisation in Urban Areas) research project has three goals. The first aim is to generate an overview, at the household scale and over long time scales, of the (socio-economic, psychological, spatial) motives which explain sustainable demotorisation. Beyond the role of biographical factors and instrumental and non-instrumental (symbolic and emotional) motives, accent will be put on the influence of social and urban contexts, and on the way the different factors interact in the long-run and lead to demotorisation, which will be considered as a process (and not as an isolated decision). The second aim seeks to describe and analyse the relationship between demotorisation, travel behaviour (especially car use) and social inequalities (mobility and accessibility). This comprehensive analysis will ensure the efficacity and the sustainability of public policies aiming at reducing the number of cars in urban areas. Indeed the third objective of MoDe is to address recommendations to policy makers in the fields of transportation and land-use with the goals to reduce car ownership, decrease car use and mitigate socio-spatial inequalities.
The researchers are from sociology, psychology, geography, economy and planning. Additionally a close collaboration will be built in the four selected urban areas with policy makers who have already expressed their interest for the Mode project: they accepted to be interviewed (in order to help us understand the local contexts) and to participate in two workshops with the researchers in the middle and at the end of the project.

Project coordination

Anne Aguiléra (Laboratoire Ville, Mobilité, Transport)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


AME (DEST et LPC) Aménagement, Mobilités et Environnement
Théma Théoriser & Modéliser pour Aménager
LVMT Laboratoire Ville, Mobilité, Transport

Help of the ANR 375,611 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2017 - 36 Months

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