Despite European cities show a less consuming profile than American cities (in terms of resource consumption of energy, space and time), the actual trend towards an increasing urbanization threatens the achievement of a desirable sustainable development. That is why it is necessary to start reflecting upon mobility behaviours and patterns. The relation between transport and land use on one side and the relation between time spent on travel and human activities on the other side, have always been treated separately in literature. It is therefore necessary to deep the knowledge on this issue.
The research aims at investigating mobility patterns in some sample cities (in France and Switzerland), focusing on those reasons and factors which are at the basis of time spent and distance travelled in individual trips.
The study is based on a database of over 60,000 activities and 250,000 trips observed in seven Swiss and French cities between 1985 and 2007. These travel surveys were completed by in-depth interviews in each country. The issues of mobility behaviour and activity are treated along two different directions.
At aggregate level, the issue of the impact of urban organization and activities on the travelled time and the time dedicated to activities is treated within the international context taking into account different urban contexts and transport policies.
At disaggregated level, the travelled time within the series of activities and its spatial trace is investigated following two directions:
- the relationship between transport time and activities is analysed by taking into account time intensity in different trips, the definition of some spatial activities and the relationship between transport and activities.
- the sociological and economic analysis will support in the explanation of atypical mobility behaviours.
After some adjustments performed to achieve comparability of data, the analysis of travelled time has been conducted by comparing average time-cost, by determining average daily trips within an agglomeration and by the study of the relationship between residential choices, mobility patterns and the specificities of the urban context and transport policies.
Different values have been obtained for French and Swiss cities and even between cities belonging to the same country. A recurrent spatial structure is observed in French cities with higher travel time in central areas respect to peripheral areas, while a different structure is observed in Swiss cities where travel time are higher outside the city centre. Mobility intensity (in terms of number of average daily trips) seems not to be the cause of this phenomenon. The disaggregated analysis of time and travel cost reveal some similarities with literature findings: a sort of weekly cycle exists, together with effects related to gender, age and individual revenue.