Thanks to ageing and deindustrialisation, the Ile de France is painted green

Bernard Jullien is not cheering (source AFP).
The first results in the latest EGT (Enquête Globale Transports = Global Transport Survey) conducted by Île-de-France Mobilités, formerly known as STIF (Syndicat des transports d'Île de France, the state run transportation authority recently devoluted to the region), are now available.
[Expectations were high since the reduction of the car footprint has become the official policy not only of the socialist mayor of Paris Hidalgo but also now to her moderately conservative rival governing the region].
 
They reveal that the region chaired by Valérie Pécresse is where it was expected to be: compared to 2010 (date of the last EGT), the growth in commuting - following that of the population - was expected to be around 7% by 2020 and, to reduce GHG emissions linked to transport by 20%, it was necessary, according to Airparif's calculation, for car and two-wheel motorised travel to fall by 2%.
To do this, the additional trips had to be more than covered by public transit, which had to increase from 8.3 million daily trips to 9.9 million and the "active modes" (cycling and walking), which had to increase from 16.6 million daily trips to 18.2 million.
 
 
Measured in 2018, the number of trips increased by 4.9%, from 41 million daily trips to 43. The car and two-wheel motorized vehicles fell from 16.1 million daily trips to 15.2, a decrease of 5.5% and a share from 39.2% to 35.4% (1).
Public transport increased from 8.3 million to 9.4 million, corresponding to 14% growth and an increase in its share of total daily travel from 20.2% to 21.9%.
Walking went from 15.9 to 17.2, an increase of 8%. Cycling increased by 30% and its share from 1.6% to 1.9%.
In short, where public transport policies had become accustomed to struggling to achieve the expected results, it seems that, over the decade, the expected changes are indeed there thanks in particular to a significant decrease in the number of daily household car trips by 730,000 (-4.7%) and two-wheel motorized trips by 150,000 (-26%).
As we read in the presentation of the first results: "Overall, the trend towards a decrease in individual motorised modes is more significant than that set by the Ile de France Urban Travel scheme (PDUIF)".
 
As the study further notes, this may not necessarily mean that road traffic in Ile de France is falling. Indeed, on the one hand, the EGT shows that travel by bus, tram, bicycle, VTC and taxis is increasing and on the other hand a very large proportion of road traffic is not measured by the EGT. These are deliveries, coaches, transit and visitor flows.
As there is good reason to believe that, due to home delivery in particular, this traffic is increasing, saturation is not prevented by the fact that some households are no longer using their vehicles on a daily basis.
 
If we focus on car travel, it is not surprising that very little of it concerns travel in Paris: it is estimated at 400,000 and represents 4.5% of the 8.8 million trips in Paris every day and 2.5% of the 14.8 million daily car trips in the region at large.
On the other hand, 8.5 million people travel by car within the "grande couronne" (municipalities located 5 miles from Paris and beyond), representing 57% of the 15 million daily trips concerned in that external ring and 57.5% of all daily car trips in the Ile de France region. The marginality of the automobile in the mobility of Ile-de-France residents is not a very shared reality.
 
Similarly, when the authors of the study show how the 700,000 fewer car trips and the 1.1 million additional trips by public transport are distributed "per route", they establish that most of the time the car is abandoned concerns, in order, trips in the inner ring, those made in Paris and those linking Paris to the inner ring.
They detect a very slight decrease in car trips in the outer ring road but this is offset by an equivalent increase in the number of car trips between the inner and outer ring road.
Quite clearly, the efforts made in the field of public transport have mainly concerned the inner suburbs since, as the authors still write, "it is in the inner suburbs that many tramway lines, metro line extensions and more stops on radial rail lines have been put into service". In the outer suburbs, although the car is hardly declining, the growth of public transport is significant, but here, they note, the development of the bus offer has played a lesser role than the fact that the outer suburbs have more elderly people and children.
Yet, more children and older people lead to a decrease in individual mobility and a very large part of what the EGT finds is more related to these phenomena "than to a change in individual mobility with the same profile".
 
Thus, from the same perspective, it appears that the distribution of jobs is quite largely dissociated from the distribution of the population and that this induces mobility needs. Paris has a population of 2.2 million which has decreased by 20,000 people but 1.8 million jobs are located there and 26,000 jobs have been added since 2008.
4.6 million people live in the inner suburbs ("petite couronne") and the increase has been 220,000 inhabitants; 2 million jobs are located there and 67,000 additional jobs have been created since 2008.
The outer suburbs ("grande couronne") have gained an additional 560,000 inhabitants and are populated by 5.3 million people. They offer only 1.9 million jobs and this figure is the same as in 2008.
This trend goes hand in hand with a decline in blue-collar and employee employment of around 70,000 in both cases over the period and a growth of around 120,000 of the number of executive white-collar employees.
Insofar as the lost workers and employees were more likely to generate internal displacement in the outer suburbs, while management-level jobs are more likely to be in Paris or the inner suburbs, it is hardly surprising that "work-related travel is less by car and more by public transport". "The modal share of public transport has increased significantly as a result of the growth in executive jobs located in the core of the Île-de-France region, where public transport networks are the most developed."
 
Thus, more "than a change in individual mobility with the same profile", i.e. changes in behaviour or a clear impact of public policies, the changes observed and their compliance with the famous PDUIF refer to demographic and employment trends and their respective geographical location.
 
(1) Methodologically, in the EGT, each trip counted is assigned to a single purpose and a single mode. If you drop your children off at school before going to work, you will be considered to have made a home-school trip for the purpose of "accompaniment" and then a second "other" trip to work. If, after having dropped your children off at school, you drop your car off at the station to go to work by train, we will consider that you have made this trip by public transport because in the modal chain it is the "heaviest" mode of transport that is chosen.

La chronique de Bernard Jullien est aussi sur www.autoactu.com.

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