Influence of Residential Density on Travel Time Budget of Specific Activities.

Influence of Residential Density on Travel Time Budget of Specific Activities.


Julie Chrétien, LVMT - Ecole Des Ponts ParisTech


Using the 2010 travel survey of the Parisian region we show that people living in the centre of the city do not take advantage of the better accessibility it offers to save on travel time in comparison with residents of the suburbs.


The current phenomenon of movement back to the city centres is often analysed by researchers and explained by gentrifiers as a desire for a better quality of life due to, amongst other factors, more destinations accessible on foot and a better connection to the rest of the city. In the case of the Parisian region, it has been shown that the centre does offer better connections with both the job market and urban services. By moving to such central places, well-off upper classes thus increase access inequalities with the middle and lower classes, which mainly live in the suburbs. However, how is this gain in potential destinations reflected in mobility patterns? One would expect people living in centres to take advantage of the density and connectedness to either save time on daily trips or increase the utility of their activities by going to places offering better services but located further away. Using the 2010 travel survey of the Parisian region (EGT 2010), we test the second hypothesis by comparing the time Parisians devoted to going to specific activities versus that of residents of the suburbs. We find that although the better accessibility translates into shorter commutes, duration of trips to other activities is relatively similar between Paris and the suburbs. It would seem that the potentially shorter distances are compensated by the search for more specific destinations and/or the use of slower transportation modes. A classical result of transport studies applies here, density replacing speed: when a greater number of destinations are accessible in a same time span, people make use of it to reach more distant locations and not to lower their travel time budget. Thus inequalities in potential access between suburbs and centre of Paris translate in inequalities regarding the choice in destinations available and the comfort of the trips, but not in the time dedicated to such journeys.


Association for European Transport