Comparison of different urban mobility solutions
France is going through a period of major change in its transportation sector, particularly in large cities. Indeed, urban mobility is one of the levers for accelerating the ecological transition, which must not only take into account environmental issues: socio-economic issues are an integral part of the equation. In particular, commuting to and from work must be rethought at the city level.
The use of the internal combustion engine car must be reduced (or even eliminated in the long term), to make way for new, more sustainable urban mobility solutions. City dwellers can then return to soft mobility (walking, biking, skating, rollerblading), turn to public transport or get a personal electric vehicle (car, scooter, bike, hoverboard, gyropod, etc.).
Several criteria must therefore be considered when choosing the best urban mobility solution: budget, quality-price ratio, ecological impact, practicality, use or user profile.
Overview of urban mobility solutions
There are many alternative modes of transport to the combustion engine car: city dwellers are sure to find a mobility solution that meets their needs. Each solution is adapted for use in the city, whether it is a self-service vehicle rental or a personal vehicle.
These solutions include
- shared mobility (car-sharing, car-pooling): city dwellers can rent self-service vehicles or share their journey with another passenger;
- public transport (bus, metro, tramway): these are increasingly accessible in large cities;
- electric cars: these can be 100% electric, conventional or rechargeable hybrids, or electric cars with range extenders;
- motorized personal transport devices (scooters, bicycles, smart bikes, hoverboards, gyropods): these vehicles are recognized by the highway code and guarantee safe, pleasant and rapid daily travel;
- soft mobility (walking, cycling, skating, rollerblading): for short distances in the city, these more or less traditional modes of travel are still preferred by many city dwellers.
Choosing a mode of urban travel according to your budget
Some modes of transportation are obviously more affordable than others. What are the least expensive urban mobility solutions?
For starters, electric cars are relatively expensive to buy, although the benefits of using them may outweigh the investment required. As for car-sharing services, they are more or less expensive depending on the operators who offer them, but also on the frequency and duration of use of the vehicles. Carpooling is more affordable: it allows to reduce by 2 or more the mileage costs, depending on the number of passengers in the vehicle used.
The cost of MPVs depends on many factors: there are entry-level, mid-range and high-end models. More than the brand or the vendor, it is the construction requirements and the battery of the vehicle that will influence its selling price. The power of the battery will indeed condition the performance of the device (notably its autonomy), and therefore its price.
For all these devices, it is important to know that there is a primary market (new products) and a secondary market (products resold as such or reconditioned). The budget needed to buy an EPDM will naturally depend on this criterion. You must also take into account the expenses related to possible repairs and the cost of insurance for the vehicle and its user.
Which urban mobility solution should I choose according to my budget? City dwellers who do not have the financial resources for these motorized solutions can stick to soft mobility such as walking, whenever possible. Walking is particularly beneficial to health and is a viable option for multi-modal travel in the city, combined with public transportation or other soft mobility options.
Bicycles, skates or rollerblades are available in a very wide range of prices and are therefore accessible to all. As for public transport, it is available in exchange for a ticket or a season ticket, with reduced rates for certain users. Some cities have also introduced free or partial public transport services.
In any case, it is important to know that city dwellers can benefit from a financial support system for their home-work trips, under certain conditions: the sustainable mobility package.
Choose a more ecological urban mobility solution
Individual cars with internal combustion engines are responsible for the majority of CO₂ emissions in large cities. For a 4 km trip in the city, a car indeed emits almost 1 kg of CO₂. All other urban mobility solutions have less ecological impact. Indeed:
- shared mobilities (car-sharing and car-pooling) are a first step towards a more sustainable urban mobility, with the reduction of the number of cars on the road, but other more sustainable solutions are possible;
- walking, manual bicycles, manual scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are obviously the most ecological forms of mobility;
- MPETs such as scooters and electric bikes are also very environmentally friendly, although their power consumption when recharging must be taken into account (their footprint is much smaller than that of a car).
Choosing a more convenient urban mobility solution
When choosing a means of transportation, one must also consider the practical aspect. Which urban mobility solutions are the most practical? For example, MPTs can be considered more practical than cars for short trips in the city: it is indeed easier to park a small device such as a scooter or an electric bike than a car. If some machines can be stored close to you indoors, others must be parked outside, protected by an anti-theft device.
Then, according to the size of the chosen machine, it is more or less easy to carry it with you. For example, a skateboard, rollerblades or a manual scooter are relatively easy to transport.
Bicycles have undeniable advantages in terms of practicality for urban travel. By choosing the right brand and model, bicycles and their equipment can be particularly practical: kickstand, mudguards, pannier holder or front basket. This is just one of many features that make electric bikes a versatile mode of transportation for urban mobility.
Choosing a mode of urban transportation according to your profile
Another criterion for choosing an urban mobility solution is related to the user's profile. So which urban mobility solution should you choose according to your profile? Unlike scooters and electric cars, manual or electrically assisted bicycles require a more or less intense physical effort, which makes them more suitable for more athletic city dwellers. The same is true for skateboards and rollerblades.
As for the EDPM, which are hoverboards and gyropods, they can seem more complex to handle and are therefore not the preferred solution for most city dwellers for their commute.
Choosing a mobility solution according to the journeys made
Which urban mobility solution should be chosen according to the trip? The choice of a mode of transportation must take into account the length of the trip and the type of road used. In this sense, some city routes can be completely marked out by bicycle lanes, which makes it possible to consider using an electric bicycle or an electric scooter, for example. The choice of the model of machine then depends on the desired autonomy, among other criteria that are more or less important to users.
On the other hand, for journeys that are more difficult to reach on foot or by private vehicle, it may be necessary to use public transport. Nevertheless, most large cities are very well equipped for the movement of mobility other than the car.
In any case, electrically powered means of transportation, including bicycles, provide a good compromise between the needs of users for commuting and the need for more sustainable urban mobility.
We recommend these other pages:
- Urban mobility: why should it be multimodal?
- What are the challenges of new urban mobility solutions?
- Shared mobility and sustainable urban mobility: what solutions?
- Electric cars and urban mobility: a solution for the future?
- Urban mobility and EDPM: an alternative to the car?
- Walking, skating, cycling, rollerblading for a soft urban mobility
- Urban mobility: what place for public transport?
- Urban mobility and new solutions: what regulations?