Urban transport

Technological Research Project (54 pages) carried out by Christophe Martz at ENSAIS and supported at the end of January 2001.

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It is a study on the congestion of urban centers and making an inventory of different technological or organizational solutions that could improve air quality and traffic conditions in urban centers.

He leaves a unanimous conclusion: the organization and behavior of city dwellers are as important as the search for new means of propulsion. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the priority of the big manufacturers who tend rather to make vehicles more and more heavy and powerful. (While on 300 000 km traveled by a car during his lifetime, approximately 200 000 are in urban or peri-urban)

Note: this study was carried out between October 2000 and January 2001, it is obviously possible that some information is no longer up-to-date given the various progress made since then.

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Introduction of the study

Cities currently bring together most of human activity, it is this concentration of activities and therefore jobs that explains the constant rural exodus of the last 200 years. The countryside empties giving rise to increasingly extensive urban concentrations. Many Geopolitical Institutes are rightly announcing the development of immense megalopolises, bringing together more than 20 million inhabitants, for the next century. This tendency is more characteristic of industrialized countries, where urban mushrooms gather around old towns, but developing countries have been experiencing the same phenomenon of rural exodus for several decades. Very extensive urban agglomerations are being created in these countries, based on the American spaced model.

The rural deserts contrast with the overflowing activity of the urban poles. The aging rural population further reinforces this rural desertification. Could the rise of the Internet, via teleworking, revive these deserted regions? The concentrations of urban populations pose a lot of problems, we will limit ourselves to that of transport.

Urban activities require significant means of transport for populations, and city centers are saturated both by transport and by the population. Dwellings in city centers are expensive and there is not enough space to live there close to their workplace. The populations therefore migrate to the periphery of the center to create suburbs, then crowns several tens of km from the center. The construction of huge centers of dense housing near activities would limit this need for travel, but I doubt that in France the dormitory cities based on the Asian model will emerge, and fortunately!

The urban population has to move regularly and systematically more or less important. The problems caused by these displacements are many but can be summarized in the word saturation: saturation sea lanes and air.

This study deals with this saturation by trying to explain how and why urban travel has become so difficult, we will look at the serious harm they cause. We will thus see the measures taken by the politicians and the manufacturers. Then we will present the various existing and future solutions which are proving to be very promising, always keeping in mind that it is necessary to reconcile price, speed and ease.


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