Area 2: Public transport policy-making processes: the interplay of players, territorial impact and evaluations

Axis 2 focuses on the dynamics of mobility and transport public policy production, taking into account the interactions between these players and the cross-effects of different policies. It is radically placed within a sustainable development perspective, and aims to take into account all scales of public policy production: European, national and local.

By bringing together the perspectives of geographers, economists, engineers, psychologists, sociologists and urban planners, Axis 2 is the team's common denominator.

1. Research questions

Change in continuity: multimodality

Multimodality involves a large number of players (including infrastructure managers, transport operators, vehicle owners, organizing authorities, often the regions, and sometimes even the State itself). And yet, the players responsible for implementing a public transport or mobility policy within a given territory are rarely involved in national policies. And yet, the effectiveness - the territorialization - of such a policy depends on how it is received by the various players, and not just the end users. Service innovation, notably supported by the digitization of information (in both passenger and freight transport), can support the reinforcement of a multimodal offer and thus improve its performance for beneficiaries, including the least connected. In this context, analyses will focus in particular on the adoption of MaaS-type systems, and more generally on intelligent transport systems (ITS), including for freight.

Breakthrough strategies

While it's possible to analyze change as it happens, it's also interesting for the researcher - and this is his or her primary social function - to think about strategies for breaking with the past, in terms of public management and organization, technological, modal, environmental, societal and behavioral innovations.It is also interesting for researchers - and this is their primary social function - to reflect on breakthrough strategies, in terms of public management and organization, technological, modal, environmental, societal and behavioral innovations. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility of all kinds, for example, calls for the redefinition of public transport policies that break with those of the past. Co-working, the circular economy, telecommuting and changing mobility practices offer new perspectives for public policy in the search for a better long-term balance for the community between transport supply and demand, against a backdrop of climate change.

2. Approaches and scientific challenges

The approach covers the various aspects of evaluating public policy measures, i.e. their social acceptability, their economic and environmental impact, and their impact on mobility behavior.

When it comes to evaluating public transport and planning policies, the difficulty lies in the fact that it is not the same actors who deploy a measure and set its objectives, and those in charge of evaluating it.

As a result, it is sometimes difficult to compare the results of an evaluation, which must demonstrate a certain methodological rigor, with the objectives set. Indeed, the time of "politicians" is not the same as that of researchers. Decisions are often taken very quickly, without the researcher having the time to set up a protocol enabling him to assess the impact of a measure before and after its implementation. Another difficulty lies in the concomitance of different kinds of political decisions, which makes it tricky to identify the specific effects of any one of them, and calls for a systemic approach.

3. Expected results

The aim of this area of research is to use a human and social science approach to provide knowledge on the processes involved in producing public mobility and transport policies, and to examine the role played by evaluations and innovations in these processes, thereby providing the necessary hindsight for public decision-makers when deciding whether or not to maintain a public policy.