Daily inter-urban mobility in France: heterogeneous commuters and commuting

By Benoit Conti

The daily commute has been the subject of abundant research aiming to describe and analyse the characteristics of commuters and their travel patterns. In France, such studies have focused primarily on residents of the functional areas around cities. This paper aims to provide additional insight into the topic of the daily commute by focusing on intercity commuters (people who commute from one French functional urban area to another). A characterisation of intercity commuters is proposed on the basis of a quantitative approach using census databases of the French population. A diversity of profiles of individuals is encountered and the place of intercity commuters to Paris, overrepresented in the literature, is recontextualised. While the general profile of the national intercity commuter is young, male, and a graduate of higher education, our results show a diversity of intercity commuters in terms of both sociodemographic profiles and categories of spatial organisation of commuting trips. They differ to those presented in research on long distance commuters or inter-urban mobility. A graphical modelling of the travel of these intercity commuters shows that these trips connect mainly urbanised spaces, over short distances, and by car use.


  • mobility
  • commuting
  • intercity commuter
  • functional urban area
  • France
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