Area 1: Interdependencies, transport networks, mobility, development

The ways in which transport networks are embedded in territories is an old but constantly renewed question. These different networks (rail, road, air and river) were recognized very early on in economic geography as powerful territorial organizers. But while research has long focused on the link between the provision of transport infrastructure and growth, social and environmental impacts are now at the heart of the debate on mobility systems and their relationship to territories.

In this area, the interrelationships between transport networks and territories are studied from a variety of angles, marked today by three major shifts in emphasis: the environmental and energy transition, which is fuelling technological innovation and overturning the entire normative framework; the renewal of approaches dictated by societal movements, notably the "mobilitarian" turn, which places the individual and his or her perception at the heart of the transport system; and finally, the information revolution. It remains to be seen how, and to what extent, these "transitions" interact to redefine the terms of the transport/territory link, and how their consideration translates into both planning practices and approaches to understanding spatialized mobility systems.

1. Research questions

The research questions on the relationship between territory and transport are based on three spatial approaches: the functioning of intermodal nodes, the structuring of transport corridors and the adaptation of spatial models for socio-economic evaluation.

Urban and rural interchange hubs are becoming key elements of public space. Intermodal models are becoming ever more complex as a result of technical developments (remote ticketing, geo-localized information), the emergence of new forms of mobility (individual public transport, electric and/or self-service vehicles) and user expectations (a more pleasant environment, more efficient use of resources).new forms of mobility (individual public transport, electric and/or self-service vehicles) and user expectations (friendly, reassuring environments that do not threaten personal freedom). Recent events (terrorist attacks, pandemics) have exacerbated these trends. The practical effectiveness of modal transfer, however structuring it may be, is only one of many variables. Qualitative research is now focused on comfort and the multidimensional experience of the traveler. So how can intermodal governance of mobility hubs be orchestrated? Responding to the varied and sometimes contradictory expectations of operators and users in a constrained space with often fragmented ownership is a challenge in which innovations must be combined and harmonized. The challenges of concertation and co-construction of such places presuppose detailed observation of practices and evaluation of public expectations in encompassing urban environments, calling on mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative).

The term "transport corridor is rich in meanings as an axis characterized by a concentration of infrastructures and traffic that can be studied on several scales, linking spatial structuring to territorial governance. It can be deployed on a metropolitan scale for the mobility of people (cf. Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) and often applies to freight on a much larger scale. While the reference is central in the discourse of planners, the definition and, above all, the measures of the "corridor" are still rare in scientific literature. One of the challenges is therefore to understand and model corridors and their effects, by systematically crossing approaches and making analyses transferable (for example, between TOD and continental freight corridors).

The third approach focuses on socio-economic assessment of territorial dynamics through modeling. Transport infrastructures are part of long timeframes, and the aim is to study their growth and decline, their evolutionary properties, and the principle of diffusion and selection in the differentiated trajectories of territories, in order to consider their potential territorial effects.The aim is to study the growth and decline, the evolutionary properties, the principle of diffusion and selection in the differentiated trajectories of territories, in order to consider their potential territorial effects, distinguishing between direct, indirect and induced effects. This approach suggests a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, enabling us to identify socio-economic dynamics of differing inertia, and to understand the strategies used by local players to support the evolution of transport infrastructures and services.

2. Approaches and scientific challenges

Understanding mobility systems in their interrelationships with territories combines qualitative and quantitative approaches. It involves various key concepts (nodes, corridors, networks, scales), theoretical elements of varying degrees of formalizations (TOD, ripple effects, congruence, stakeholder games) and various modelling approaches (graph theory, multi-agent simulation). These approaches frequently differ according to the disciplines, scales, modes and objects considered. To date, however, there has been little interaction between the different approaches to interpretation. The construction of interdisciplinary approaches therefore constitutes the major scientific challenge of this axis.

3. Expected results

  • Identify and explain the conceptual toolbox: theories that account for the dynamics of territories through mobility systems.
  • Ensure methodological transfers between spatial scales and transport fields.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary dialogue from the perspective of the systemic relationship between territory and mobility. Reflect on the effects of spatial and temporal scales and their adjustments in the approaches adopted (notion of causality, trajectory and co-evolution).