A more social and sustainable mobility system in France
Although the health crisis has highlighted some more sustainable solutions in terms of mobility like cycling, it has also underlined the fact that cars are very much still a leading form of transport for everyday travel.
ADEME is committed to giving everyone the opportunity to travel in the most sustainable way, according to their needs, their budget, their health and their lifestyle.
By restricting travel for a very large part of the population in France for many months, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped considerably reduce GHG emissions, thereby highlighting quite obviously the usual impact of transport on the environment. “The health crisis has encouraged the development of behaviours with a low carbon footprint, such as short trips and remote working,” states Jérémie Almosni, Director of ADEME Île-de-France and ex-head of the transport and mobility department at ADEME.
Cycling specifically has experienced an exceptional growth, with the help of favourable policies such as the increase in the governmental cycling plan budget, measures of support for the purchase of electric bicycles and measures for employers to support cycling to work and the creation of hundreds of kilometers of cycling paths by local authorities.
Building on exiting efforts
However, the health crisis has also had many undesirable effects. Among those are the fear of contagion on public transport and the relocation to second homes often much further away from places of work. The consequence of this is obviously the risk of an increase in individual car use. In order to develop sustainable mobility, especially for vulnerable people, we need to introduce more efforts and sustain existing ones: Diversifying mobility opportunities by adapting them to the various types of travellers and to the various regions, making them more efficient and less costly, supporting cycling and train infrastructure as well as their intermodality and modulating different forms of investment to current requirements and improvising existing infrastructure. There are many projects in the pipeline: a more sustainable form of tourism, involving more cycling, trains and walking could be encouraged. Raising awareness about people’s choices and the benefits of active mobility (cycling, walking, etc.) remains necessary but we should also consider the effects of public planning, which is all the more important as not only does transport play an active role in the vibrancy of the various regions but it impacts greatly on the quality of life of their inhabitants.
In the face of such challenges, ADEME is tackling things on many fronts. In order to develop active mobility, the Agency launched the AVELO call for project proposals. The aim is to support local authorities in the implementation of their cycling schemes and services and the creation of communication campaigns. The Agency also supports initiatives by a number of companies and local authorities in terms of alternative fuels and deployment of car clubs (see boxed text). Finally, it’s also providing support for the new “Organising Authorities for Mobility” (AOM), groups of small towns that have expressed interest in mobility expertise to reduce dependence on cars in rural areas. All this in the hope of helping everyone achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, without leaving anyone behind.