Displacement and deconfinement: What if we asked the French for their opinion?


The French can go on holiday in France in July and August. " : it's official, Edouard Philippe has just announced it this Thursday, May 14th. The deconfinement seems to be on the right track. Even if the Minister of Ecological Transition, Elisabeth Borne, has announced the creation of a training program for 250 bicycle mechanics to put the little queen back on her feet, it's still a long way off. (1), the problem of mobility in times of deconfinement is still unresolved. The Vedecom Institute in particular is going to tackle this issue: How can we reconcile the management of this health crisis with the daily journeys of millions of people for public and private transport?

Deconfinement seems to mark the beginning of the return to normal. But it does not mean the end of measures to protect oneself and others. In this perspective, there is a major concern about the issue of transport for the French people with the government tending on the one hand to strengthen the supply of urban transport, while at the same time reducing demand.

It is known that since March 17, the first day of confinement, the mobility of the French population has been reduced by 65 %, causing a drop from 60 million to 20 million journeys per day, with disparities between the thirteen metropolitan regions. Indeed, modeled by researchers at the Institut Pierre-Louis d'épidémiologie et de santé publique (Iplesp, Inserm, Sorbonne University) published on May 11, the reduction in travel was more marked where the epidemic was strongest.

There is also growing evidence of the major role of public transport in the spread of the virus, with the authors of the study emphasising the increased role of mobility restrictions in combating the epidemic. Holidays will therefore be welcome, but the organisation of mobility throughout the country must be anticipated and managed.

The Institute for Energy Transition (ITE) Vedecom is a public-private partnership foundation based on an unprecedented collaboration between 58 actors engaged in innovative and sustainable mobility, i.e. more ecological, more autonomous and better shared. It has just been commissioned by the State to bring together the mobility ecosystem and develop a new French industry for sustainable mobility, i.e. electric, autonomous and shared mobility. To this end, it is launching a major study on the behaviour and expectations of the French people and is recommending a number of solutions to be implemented.                                                                                                                                                           

Covid-19 and mobility: Giving mobility actors a new key to analysis

The Covid-19 outbreak and the unprecedented episode of containment it provoked have profoundly, and probably for a long time, changed our relationship to mobility. Proof of this is the return in force of cycling in the city! But what about rural areas? Now that we are on the fourth day of deconfinement, the question of how we get around in our daily lives is becoming more crucial than ever. In order to understand and apprehend the effects of the crisis on everyday means of transport, to analyse the behaviour and expectations of the French people and to propose solutions that can be implemented quickly or in the longer term, the Institute for Energy Transition is launching a major national online consultation entitled "COVID-19 and mobility".

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The consultation is open until 25 May and is addressed to all French citizens and mobility experts (Responses to this questionnaire are strictly anonymous and confidential).

Deconfinement and transport: what solutions?

Under what conditions will the trips be made? According to Pierre Serne, former vice-president of the region in charge of transport, administrator of Ile-de-France Mobilités and president of the Club des villes et territoires cyclables (EELV) in an interview at Le Parisien, " Everyone agrees that after the epidemic there will be a collective rejection of public transport. If we do not want to take the subway, bus or coach to get to work for fear of contagion, we will have to be able to get around. "Reliable alternatives will have to be found.

The Vedecom Institute recommends some solutions to be implemented:

  • Predicting and optimizing mobility flows to relieve congestion on public transport and roads based on the reason and means of travel from point A to point B.
  • Estimate in real time or predictively the number of users at the main points in order to put in place an adapted transport offer and organise these transitory devices such as temporary cycle paths. Example: anonymous and anticipated declaration on a mobile transport application.
  • Develop and promote soft mobility solutions with notification of urban planning and roads, such as widening lanes for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Encouraging streamlined and frugal mobility: teleworking, videoconferencing, encouraging low-carbon transport, etc.
  • Facilitate the deployment of a "mobile robotic reserve" to assist humans (e.g. delivery robots for last-mile logistics) or limit the exposure of drivers (e.g. subways and autonomous shuttles).
  • To think of a mobility at the service of the immobile, by bringing services to users (e.g. mobile diagnostic offices, vehicles that bring the internet network to poorly equipped neighbourhoods, mobile banks, mobile offices).

78 % of drivers believe that "public transit will always be a risk of contamination, even after the containment period" according to a poll conducted by the Driver's Defense League with 1,200 people. Another survey carried out by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research firm among 5,000 people in Europe, including 500 French people, also confirms this apprehension. Thus, 20 % of them reported less frequent use of public transport.

Source: Drivers' Defense League Survey

Many questions therefore remain unanswered. If the State does help companies in difficulty and restarts the bicycle industry, will it be able to support private individuals who have to travel by car? The people surveyed share this question since 68 % think that current policies on cars (taxation, repression...) are unsuitable for the resumption of life after confinement.

Source: Drivers' Defense League Survey

This graph shows that it seems impossible to build the "next" world without the automobile. At a time when we are reflecting on our mobility, the car is reassuring, safe, a vector of opening up and present throughout the country. It is once again proving to be an indispensable partner in the resumption of "normal" life, the essential tool for our future social and economic contacts. 

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We still need to take a close interest in innovations in the field of new mobilities, with electric or hydrogen engines, and in particular by following the Movin'On Final Startup Challenge which will be held this year exceptionally in the form of an interactive digital event on Thursday, June 4: ten startups have been selected and are invited to pitcher live in front of a jury composed of professionals who are experts in the various categories of the challenge, such as preserving resources, safer and more accessible mobility, etc. Because as Florent Menegaux, President of Movin'On, explains, " The crisis we are going through must not stop our actions, quite the contrary. It is an unprecedented opportunity to accentuate the expected shift towards more sustainable mobility. An initiative that is fully in line with a dynamic of support for start-ups, capable of proposing new models of sustainable mobility, new business models and opportunities to do things differently. ".






(1) Some 250 bicycle mechanics will be trained in the coming months to meet the demand for repairs, with the creation of a Bicycle Trade Academy. This Academy, with a budget of eight million euros for the period 2020-2022, will make it possible to "develop technical guides, a web platform and training materials, but also to train bicycle experts at all levels (mechanics, trainers, etc.)", ...

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