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					                     Accessible town and sustainable mobility
        Some remarks on MoVe position paper (Milan, 2002, june 26)
                Edith Heurgon/ Dominique Laousse (RATP)
Mobilities and accessibilities questions represent a choice of society and become
structurational dimensions of social life. Mobility is more and more a value which
opens on personal and territorial differenciations in accessibility to town and its
services. For a person, mobilities are linked to accessibilities - geographical, physical,
cognitive, economical, cultural, generational – in a changing universe of choices, to
cope with spatio-temporal spaces of everydaylife.
In other words, mobility is essential for social integration in contemporaneous town
where access inequalities could be so hard. Thus, to avoid growing disparities
between persons and territories, spatial policies and “times in the city” policies might
be developed to facilitate multimodal accessibilities. This implies a global thinking on
speed management and accessibilities with respect to articulation between collective
transport and cars, urbanization and habitat.
Doing so, all urban actors, persons, politics, economics, social, etc. are concerned
with town sustainable development that means conciliating international
competitiveness, quality of life and social cohesiveness in a vision of a desirable
town. Thus, a town renewing view is required to take into account links between
urbanism and transport systems. Instead of considering them apart and sequentially,
we need to integrate those dimensions in a global vision of the town.

What’s mobility ?
First of all, mobility could be such a polysemic term that we have to define it. Mobility
is different from transport systems (i.e. infrastructures) and shift systems (i.e. physical
movement). It refers to an activity system where persons, as well as goods and
informations are parts of mobility system1. Here, ICTs development offers “service to
mobility” answers to fit with intention of citizens to individually regulate their space-
A new multipolar urban temporal organization is emerging, where life times are so
tangled that times in the city become a field of tenseness between populations who
want to work, to live, to entertain or simply to sleep. Mobility is not a neutral factor.
For districts of the « town policy2 », mobility and accessibility are dimensions of
attractiveness and equity because immobility becomes an excluding factor.
This to say that mobility reveals everydaylife difficulties and is a dimension of social
life : “being mobile often implicates choosing between alternatives and, more,
universe and competencies choices mobilised in actions always evolve 3”. In other
words, mobility, like J. Levy says for urbanity, is a competency to be developed by
every person.

  In France, F. Ascher and E. Heurgon have defined it as « mobilité BIP » for Biens (goods),
Informations et Personnes (Persons).
  In France, since 80s, governments have created a Ministry of the Town to implement a specific
« town policy » to help some urban districts in great difficulty with interventions in social and urbanistic
    V. Kaufmann Pouvoirs Locaux, Juin 2002.

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The need for new regulations4
Facing changing world from industrial to service economy, old regulations seems to
be inoperative not only to maintain social cohesiveness but also for economical
efficiency. Urban sprawl, spatial and social segregation with a town functionning at
different speeds are not new but, nowadays, as urban unity could be threaten,
question is coming on political agenda as a problem of society.
More diversified in time and space, urban rythms emphases daily times de-
synchronisation which affects cyclical personal activity systems, particularly the
distinction of work and out of work. These changes are dimensions of society global
evolution characterized by life-style individuation, work transformation in a services
economy, new ways to use free time out of work for leisure and growing up of ICT.
These challenges are so ambivalent and sometimes paradoxical that we need to
rethink regulations because general rules and social negotiation are no longer useful
facing such complexity and societal dimension. We have to invent new forms of
dialog to link social negotiation and urban governance with a real participation of
Citizens are parts of on-going societal dialog process to develop modes of
participation to collective negotiation for co-production of supply and demand of
mobility and accessibility. This societal dialog is dedicated to articulate person life
projects and territorial projects to stimulate progress dynamics with a great
identitarian ambition. With “mobility pacts” (Italy) and Urban Travelling Plans5
(France), citizens participation could now be linked to local democracy.
Adaptation of transport services to new urban rythms is a question of relations
between supply and demand of mobilities and accessibilities. Yesterday, vision was
dominated by supply logic (under pression of public sphere) to reduce infra-urban
differences. Today, a vision of demand is growing (under pression of private sphere)
to develop socio-economically profitable services. The question is to organize an
interactive process to build supply and demand at scales of action relevant to all
Global and local interventions of public authorities on principles of solidarity and
equity could be necessary to avoid, or at least to limitate, growing gaps between
persons and territories.

“Prospective du présent”: a new approach to study mobility and accessibility
A new approach has to be developed referring refers to Prospective du present6
which is based on research of weak signals of urban transformations and not to
extrapolate from past trends. Efficiency of this process implies to develop a collective
intelligence7 mixing experts and habitants to understand social reality of mobility and

 Report to Social and Economic Council by JP Bailly, President of RATP, on « Time in the city. For a
concordance of times in the city », 2002.
    Enterprises Travelling Plans
 Report to Social and Economic Council by JP Bailly, President of RATP, on «Demain est déjà là.
Prospective, débat, décision publique », 2000.
 « Expertise, public debate : in the direction of a collective intelligence » F. Goux-Baudiment, E.
Heurgon, J. Landrieu, Cerisy colloquy, L’Aube eds, 2001.

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accessibility. In late modern societies (Giddens, 1991), expertise is more and more
conceived as on-going process of collective knowledge construction and less a
discourse by experts whose status becomes a question. As focus is on acceptable
scenarios co-production of desirable town, new forms of interaction between
transports organizations and citizens have to be imagined like initiative workshops8
So, our intention can’t be to define “good or best practises” as recipes 9 to improve
everydaylife, everywhere but to promote a mixed approach, quantitative and
qualitative, of urban problems. Models of transport economics are still useful, but
their vision of the town could be complemented and enriched by data from
observational ways to grasp “arts de faire” in the invention of everydaylife 10. This
means to enlarge and to systematize mobilities and accessibilities analysis in relation
with urban transformations (social, economical, technical). To do that, it will be
essential to pay a particular attention to moments and to population differenciations
(inhabitants, commutors, city users and businessmen) to grasp city uses.
To go further, choices of scales of diagnosis and actions will be essential to find a
territory of life (bassin de vie) that is relevant for all actors and for decision-making
processes too. To introduce time in urban analysis means also to recognize that
social, economical, territorial processes present duration and rythms differences
which can produce time lags and may have differential consequences for territorial
dynamics. For example, analytic grid will have to articulate global scale (metropolis,
urban area, town) and micro-local (districts or all territory relevant for citizen

Transports and challenges for “tomorrow town”
An accessible town
To become more accessible, “tomorrow town” will have to cope with at least three
majors challenges which are linked to transport policies for a good level of urbanity,
in terms of density, diversity and solidarity:
        Economic performance : public transport can help to develop territorial
         attractiveness for activities and to create employment at a price acceptable for
         society ;
        Quality of life : public transport are part of an answer to citizens questions
         about environment and pollution;
        Offering a good level of social integration : the ambition is to reduce
         inequalities and to limit exclusion risks by ensuring accessibility for all citizens
         to urban activities.
This means that “24-hour town” is not a fatality but a marketing answer to some
citizens and not to all population demands so it’s possible to propose an urban
development model of an accessible town where sustainable mobility takes place.
For that, in early equipment design, urbanism and transport might be integrated to

8 Since 2000, RATP tries to replace the classic methods used to consult citizens on their perceptions
as public transport users by developing a participation process which is inspired by Consensus
    This to say that “good or best practises” often seems out of spatio-temporal local context.
     Michel de Certeau « L’invention du quotidien », Folio

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promote urban practises with a sense of uses mixity combined to spaces fluidity and
urban density to ecological imperatives. Public transport plays a role in districts
irrigation, in centralities networking and in quick access to town center.
Spatio-temporal hierarchy for an accessible town
Spatial arrangements (development of new infrastructures to solve capacity
problems) can’t cope with urban rythms transformations which asks questions of
equipments and urban services management continuity. Time dimension opens up
on fine tuning questions of mobility and accessibility to town and its services.
Therefore, those questions refer to articulations of complex spatio-temporal
structures at different spaces scales which correspond to some temporalities and to
specific transport organization:
     Urban areas and long term of urban armature
This armature is made of infrastructures and basic networks structuring the area on a
polycentric way to avoid urban sprawl defined in director schemas. For transport, it
consists in specific rapid connections (heavy trains on dedicated tracks) between
regional stations, i.e. poles, to facilitate access to national and international transport
     Life territories (bassins de vie) and mid-term of equipments
It consists in services to mobility dedicated to structure life territories. Implantation
and composition of those equipments are defined in Urbanism Local Plans and in
Urban Travelling Plans to ensure territory networking respectful to space uses. They
can be multiservices (mix of private and public services to favour travellers
everydaylife), polyvalent (combining commerce and leisure, mercantile or non
merchant activities) or dedicated to events (sports or cultural events represent a
growing trend in mobility);
     Proximity and real time of urban administration
Under a local process of territorial development, it’s possible to define, with potential
users, innovating proximity services. For a large part, added value of these services
is gained through performances of information and communication systems like
mobility agency, on-call transport and so on. Ambition is to help them during short
travels or to adapt transport services between meshes of networks with flexible
service. Another way is to develop Enterprises Mobility Plans to facilitate employees
For transport systems, it seems that this hierarchization has consequences for
transport organization in managing four complementary networks. They could be
operated at different speeds according to position in the area, for example low speed
in inner city and fast one on rocades:
     First network : Réseau Express Régional (Regional Express Network);
     Second network : Metros and Tramways;
     Third network : Buses
     Fourth network : On-call or on-demand transport services

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