Nowadays, daily mobility behaviours are emerging as a big challenge for the sustainability of our lifestyles. The awareness of the increasing impact of cars on the environment has led to the concept of sustainable mobility that supposes a modal shift from cars to public transportation and soft mobilities.
In this context, the ACROSS project aims at assessing the sociocultural effects on mobility behaviours in cross-border areas. By further analysing the psychosocial and environmental determinants of attitudes leading to such behaviours, this project will help to identify efficient incentives to promote the use of public transportation and soft modes. To do so, the ACROSS project will focus on three cross-border areas (Luxembourg, Strasbourg and the particular case of Brussels).
The overall methodological framework relied on the use of attitude theory and cognitive mapping to assess the role of cultural differentiation on mobility behaviours, including mode choice as well as location choices. In the first stage, we built a single questionnaire including attitudinal scales, dealing with transport modes, as well as self-reported mental maps and activity schedules, in order to study the action spaces. We dealt with attitudes by using a similitude analysis (graph-based method). Then, cognitive maps have been analysed through bi-dimensional regression in order to compute comparable indicators to assess the effect of cultural differentiation. Spatial analysis and geostatistical tools helped us to analyse the activity schedules. In a final step, results coming from these different methods have been brought together in statistical models (i.e. polynomial regression and/or logit/probit models) in order to assess the respective weight of each variable tested.
The main findings of this project were based on the analysis of the mobility surveys for three EU institutions.
- The mobility survey result revealed that the employees (515 samples) of the three EU Institutions (European Investment Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg) have good impression of public transport (ecological, rapid and punctual), even if car is still the dominant mode (50% for car, 38% for public transport and 12% for soft modes).
- By investigating individual commuting mode choice behaviour differences with respect to its socio-economic characteristics, residence location and attitudinal factors, the result suggested a two-class segmentation of mode choice behaviour in Luxembourg:
i) Car-preferred class (82.7% choices are car in this class) was mainly Luxembourg residents with shorter travel time and distance (19.2 minutes by car in average). Travel time and the availability of free parking were the main determinants for their choses of car.
ii) Public-transport-preferred class (83.1% choices are public transport in this class) in which travel time and distance are much longer (35.9 minutes by car in average). It has been found that individual’s attitudes to transport modes have consistent significant influence on their mode choice preference. The result also suggested that reducing commuting travel time by public transport for car-preferred class could shift their mode choices towards public transport (for example reducing travel time by public transport from the current 40.5 min. to 32.4 min. (-20%), the market share of public transport would increase 7.7% from 9.1% to 16.8%).
- Spatial analysis of individual activity patterns and related actions spaces showed the median size of a person’s activity space in Luxembourg (31.5 km2) is much larger compared to that in Strasbourg (20.5 km2). Built environment related to home-work distance and population density of commune of household location is most relevant determinants compared to an individual’s socio-demographic characteristics.
- The study of the representations of urban space based on the social representation paradigm highlights the influence of social dimensions on a person’s spatial cognition process. It has been examined how the social mobility of people living in the same neighbourhood affects the cognitive configurations of a city. Having isolated four groups with different spatial representations, it has been described the position of these groups in the social structure. The results obtained confirm our hypothesis of a close link between the representation of urban space and individual social trajectories.