The role of cars in cities is the subject of numerous reflections and projects in French and European agglomerations. In a context of urban sprawl, producing harmful consequences such as more traffic and congestion, the awareness and sensitivity of citizens to environmental issues (pollution, air quality) and the quality of life in city increased. Policy makers, urban planners and technicians specialized in this field are reacting by proposing medium and long-term actions addressed to make cities more "sustainable".
This research highlighted and provided an understanding of technical and organisational difficulties which hinder the incorporation of road safety aspects into urban development.
Learning from knowledge, data and measures concerning safety and accidentology, gained in the development of overall mobility policies, contributed to progress the hypothesis that there is a need to give a visible place to road safety experts in actions which orientate urban development. These actions include:
- the PDU (Plan de Déplacements Urbains - urban mobility plan),
- the PLU (Plan Local d'Urbanisme - local urban plan),
- the PLH (Plan Local d'Habitat).
This research set the background to create favourable conditions to the necessary constitution of a recognised profession of road safety.
This study associated several methods of data collection: participation as an observer in the process of developing PDUs (urban travel plans), interviews with road safety actors and gathering written documents (technical studies and reports). This work was supplemented by detailed analysis of some urban planning projects, selected from those observed in the first stage above.
The multi-disciplinary team was built around three areas of competence:
- Process methods for planning and development projects,
- Analysis of political dimensions of public action,
- Road safety expertise.