Workshop 2

Spatial issues, firms, workers and sustainable mobility

While it is difficult to separate the issue of transport from other practices that are associated with energy use, particularly in the case of households, from the analytical point of view it is nevertheless worthwhile to give them separate treatment. Transport is a central and specific issue in the context of the energy transition because it is very highly oil-dependent and generates large greenhouse gas emissions. In this area, the public authorities seem to be focusing on modifying household behaviours. How do households perceive the resulting incentives? As far as home-work trips are concerned, do the strategies in place lead, as the public authorities would like, to workers developing new transport solutions or do they lead more a questioning of the intrinsic value of work and/or negotiations with the employer with regard to financial compensation, the place of work, or the work timetable?

The residential locations of households and household trip-making raise questions about the dominance of the car, and whether it is possible to bring to an end the influence of the car not only on urban structure, but also on social structure. In urban areas, car trips reveal the same types of ascendency that have already been highlighted in the case of housing. To what extent can this dominance be used to analyze the productive fabric of metropolitan areas, where the firms that employ the fewest executives are generally located in the less socially-desirable areas? Does this dominance take the same forms in the case of residential locations and job locations? With regard to access, does the location of firms in suburban areas pose as many problems or different types of problems for low-paid workers living in the suburbs as it does for those living in the working class districts of central cities?

The public authorities sometimes seem to underestimate the role firms play in the increase in transport, in particular as a result of their locational choices. How do firms, in whatever sector of activity, perceive transport issues in relation to the forthcoming energy transition? What factors can explain firms’ interest or lack of it in transport issues? What solutions are firms implementing or considering in order to make their transport needs compatible with the energy transition? Are the solutions in question potentially applicable by all firms, irrespective of their size, sector of activity and location? In particular, how do firms which are specialized in the transport sector, which are therefore particularly vulnerable, envisage adapting to the energy transition? Lastly, can taking account of these transport-related issues lead firms to modify their locational strategies, in particular to move away from the no parking no business mentality?

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