Urban mobility: which solution to choose depending on the journey?

In the city more than anywhere else, it is possible to choose the most appropriate transport solution depending on the trip to be made. In fact, at a time when urban mobility is multimodal, i.e., when several modes of transport can be used for the same trip, it is interesting to be able to optimize the means of transport according to the characteristics of each trip.

The criteria for choice can be the distance to be covered, the type of road to be taken, the traffic or climatic conditions, the time available or the obligation to carry shopping or a bulky object.

We therefore suggest that you compare the different urban mobility solutions in order to determine which means of transport is best suited to which trips and journeys.

Quelle solution de mobilité urbaine choisir selon les trajets ?-1

The use of the car: for which urban trips?

Of all types of vehicles, the internal combustion engine car is the one most criticized for its impact on pollution and the quality of life in the city. The observation is the same in the majority of medium and large cities in France: the car is responsible for traffic difficulties, polluting emissions, noise and danger for pedestrians and cyclists.

It is therefore logical that the place of the car is increasingly questioned in the urban mobility plans of the country's cities, because of its poor contribution to the ecological transition and sustainable development. The car is also a means of transport that takes up a lot of space on the road and in the end only transports one person in most cases, which underlines the interest of carpooling and carsharing for those who do not want to or cannot do without their car.

The electric car is a much gentler solution for the environment and air quality in the city, but it does not solve all the difficulties of daily life: traffic jams, car-soloing and parking. On the other hand, the use of an electric car allows access to urban areas from which polluting vehicles are excluded (Low Emission Mobility Zones).

In addition to pollution, cars are expensive vehicles: purchase price, insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking. If we take the example of a typical urban journey of less than 5 km between home and work, the use of a car with only one occupant on board is the most expensive means of transport, far ahead of other means of travel (walking, cycling, electric bicycle, public transport, scooter, etc.).

Consequently, the car and the electric car are transport solutions to be reserved for very specific urban journeys:

  • trips over a distance of more than 5 km ;
  • trips in urban areas not served by a public transport network or service;
  • daily trips with multiple stages: home, drop-off at school, work, lunch, shopping and return at the end of the day;
  • trips with a heavy or bulky load to carry;
  • lack of an alternative means of transport for an elderly or disabled person.

In conclusion, if the cost of transport is the main criterion for you and you have a wide choice, here is a ranking of mobility solutions in order of increasing price: walking, scooter, bicycle, electric scooter, electric bicycle, public transport, electric car, combustion engine car.

Which choice according to the type of road?

Not all cities are equal when it comes to the natural or planned(Mobility Orientation Law) development of clean travel and soft and sustainable urban mobility. Indeed, the use of a bicycle or a scooter is much more pleasant in a city whose streets and roads are flat and well maintained.

Moreover, when a city offers its inhabitants practical and safe bicycle paths, all the criteria are met to make the bicycle the preferred means of transportation for every so-called short trip (less than 5 km). The bicycle is an ecological, fast, inexpensive vehicle that allows for physical activity that is good for your health.

In the case of a city with a lot of hills or for trips of more than 5 km, the most appropriate transportation solution is the electric bicycle. Thanks to their electrically assisted motor, electric bicycles allow you to effortlessly negotiate hills and move quickly.

There is also a category of electric vehicles that includes scooters, gyropods or electric skateboards, called EDPM. However, the target audience for these vehicles is very young, due to their lack of comfort and the need to have a good sense of balance.

On the other hand, electric bicycles are aimed at all audiences and are versatile and practical vehicles to use on a daily basis: ease of movement and parking and simplicity of recharging thanks to the principle of the removable electric battery. In addition, the most modern electric bicycles offer a range of features and equipment making them safer for both the user and the equipment.

Quelle solution de mobilité urbaine choisir selon les trajets ?-2

The advantages of multimodal urban mobility

While it is interesting to know which vehicle is best suited to a trip, it is also useful to seek the benefits of multimodal urban mobility.

Multimodal urban mobility refers to the use of multiple modes of transport for a trip, with multiple combinations possible. By practicing multimodal travel, it is easy to take advantage of each mode of transportation in the circumstances that are most favorable to it, depending on criteria such as distance, season or weather, schedule, season, speed,environmental impact, or number of people traveling.

Thus, the ideal solution can be different from one day to the next, making the most of each option to accommodate, for example, rush hours or traffic jams. In the city, there are radically different traffic conditions between a Monday morning commute to work and a cultural Sunday afternoon with the family.

This is why, whatever the criteria leading to the choice of a means of transport, it is important to see users optimize their trips according to their needs, their desires and the specific characteristics of each journey.

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