Post-Car Ile-de-France: Ongoing research (Mobile Lives Forum)

Research participants:

Contact : Pierre Gaudino

Automobiles are at the center of a system of well-documented negative externalities that affect public health by increasing local pollution and accidents, that negatively impact local and global environments by contributing to climate change, and that consume a significant amount of urban space. Despite these externalities, and a downward trend in their use, personal vehicles continue to widely dominate transportation in France 1.

The Ile-de-France, a region increasingly associated with pollution peaks and continual traffic congestion, is a particularly interesting case study to imagine an automobile exit. While this dense conglomeration has experienced an overall decline in the use of automobiles, it continues to increase in outlying areas (rural areas and secondary towns) with less alternative transportation options 2.

The Mobile Lives Forum sought to explore the possibility of an automobile exit in the Ile-de-France, based on two more or less radical hypotheses:

  • As part of the project Bioregion Ile-de-France, the Institut Momentum will explore the hypothesis of an end of the Anthropocene 3 in the Ile-de-France, in rupture with our current lifestyles.
  • As a part of the two-year project Post-Car Ile-de-France , researchers from the laboratory Géographie-Cités will explore the hypothesis of a transition towards lifestyles that depend less on the use of personal vehicles.

In order to study the latter hypothesis, the laboratory Géographie-Cités brought together a multidisciplinary team specialized in the fields of urban planning (Jean Debrie, Juliette Maulat), urban geography (Sandrine Berroir), and geographic modelling (Arnaud Banos, Hadrien Commenges, Ludovic Challonges). Throughout the project, the researchers will be assisted by students in professional training as a part of the Master of Urban Planning (Paris 1) and Carthagéo (Paris 1, Paris 7, ENSG 4).

Based on the observation that cars are the source of problems in the Ile-de-France, the study will explore the possibility of a transition toward lifestyles that are less dependent on the use of personal vehicles, while still fulfilling the aspirations of Ile-de-France residents.

In order to achieve this, the research will be divided into three key phases:

  • A phase including a literature review followed by an analysis of current mobility practices in the Ile-de-France. This will be enriched by an in-depth study of the mobile aspirations of people living in the Ile-de-France, based on an international survey conducted by the Mobile Lives Forum on the same topic.
  • A phase to model current mobility practices on a regional scale, in order to then use this information to create a serious game. This game, which will feature common spatial models in the Ile-de-France, will be the basis of a prospective and participative study conducted with people living in the region.
  • A prospective study during the serious game workshops. This phase will bring together people living in the Ile-de-France, in order to identify the different scenarios for transition towards lifestyles that are less dependent on the use of individual vehicles and to analyze the factors of success or failure. A variety of local transition scenarios, which will be discussed collectively during the workshops.

A final summary of the results will outline how these different local scenarios could impact the region as a whole.

Once the research has been completed, the different models will be published in open source, and will be replayable and modifiable.

The projects Post-Car Ile-de-France and Bioregion Ile-de-France will be presented together at the end of 2018, in order to foster discussion around the results and the prospects they offer for public policy.


1 In 2013, personal vehicles represented 83% of trips in France (Chiffres clés du transport, 2015).

2 OMNIL, 2015, enquête globale transport 2010.

3 Neologism created by geochemist Paul Crutzen (2000) based on the observation that over the last 200 years, human activity has caused the earth’s ecosystems to change rapidly. From this point of view, human activity is considered having a significant impact on the environment, and propelling earth into a new geological era: the Anthropocene.

4 National School of Geographic Sciences.



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