Disturbance-proof automobility routines. Understanding resistance to change based on user stories in Lille

By Joël Meissonnier, Cyprien Richer

The action-research project “Rush Hour, Leading Ideas” provides insights into the tactics and habits of motorists in the Lille metropolitan area. The qualitative survey focused on employees in two outlying business parks who complained about mobility problems during rush hour. Using the transport diary method as well as the method of commented trips, the survey shows that, beyond the inconvenience caused by road congestion, there are real possibilities of making the most of the longer journey times due to road congestion, which significantly eliminates the traditional public policies encouraging modal shift.The main challenge of this contribution is to observe the reaction of respondents to recurrent or one-off disruptions associated with one of the exceptional events. The results show the extent to which the car appears to be a flexible and resilient mode of transport. However, this resilience quickly reaches its limits that can be taken advantage of to reduce the vulnerability of user employees who travel alone in their cars. Depending on their recurrence and intensity, disruptive situations may constitute a kind of key-event that augurs well for possible changes in mobility behaviour. Just like a turning point in family life, they create a sometimes radical break that pushes some motorists to reinvent their daily mobility routines and even their lifestyles.

  • disturbed mobilities
  • routine behavior
  • automobility
  • qualitative sociology
  • diary methodology
  • commented walks
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