Context and issues

     For half a century, the spatial extension of cities in France has mostly been concentrated in the suburban extremities, in the form of individual housing estates and trading estates for businesses. Commuting keeps increasing, journeys are getting longer, pollution is spreading to urban centres and traffic congestion in the cities is on the rise. Moreover, road safety remains a significant concern. Finally, the urban sprawl and its corollary, increasing dependence on the automobile, are being reappraised because of environmental considerations. New objectives have been determined in the programming law on the implementation of the Grenelle bill on the environment published on 3 August 2009. Urban plans must be re-examined with two imperatives in mind: the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the reduction in the consumption of agricultural and forest land.

     In the transport domain, particularly affected, the idea is to achieve a 20% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, i.e. back to 1990 level. Transport, in particular road transport, is one of the sectors consuming most fossil energy, a major contributor to the increase in the greenhouse effect. This is why alternative or complementary transport solutions must be implemented both in terms of people’s mobility and the transport of goods, which must be accompanied by more adapted development and urban planning policies.

With regard to people’s transport, while technological progress suggests considerable savings in terms of vehicle emission levels, improvement in network management or passenger information integration, this progress will probably be insufficient in the short term. Consequently, the most adapted scenario for the future relies on a mix between the progressive introduction of cleaner vehicles and control of commuters’ demand, development of public transport, shared usage (car sharing, car pooling), rediscovery of “softer” modes of transportation. At the same time, emerging solutions associated with information and communication technologies, such as working from home, could also play a role in the evolution of transport practices. These evolutions involve a considerable individual and collective effort.

Regarding development and urban planning policies, there is a dual challenge: re-developing links between suburban areas and city centres and reintroducing compatible urban functions in densely populated areas. Thus, zoning policies, which have resulted in the lengthening of the distance between employment and housing areas and the destruction of the public area, must give way to the idea of functional desegregation, with living areas combining economic activities, retail activities, human services and habitat, as part of a logic based on proximity involving reduced journeys.

This reflection is particularly pertinent on the business parks'scale  where accessibility and people’s mobility issues are a significant lever of attraction. These parks were often designed without really taking these issues into account: often limited public transport services, roads poorly adapted to pedestrian or bicycle traffic, limited number of local connections with rail or river services, etc. This situation means that users have to use their car.

This assessment reveals the necessity to mobilise companies located in the same area so that they can combine their reflections and resources, allowing them to achieve a critical size and facilitate the implementation of alternative solutions, giving them a new legitimacy when dealing with Transport Organising Authorities and public authorities.

These collective approaches can take the form of an Inter-company mobility plan (PDIE in french). Following a requirement diagnostic and evaluation phase, the actions deployed relate to so-called “soft” measures (promotion of soft modes of transportation, car pooling, car sharing services, etc.) and help initiate so-called “hard” long-term measures, involving public stakeholders to a greater extent (reorganisation of the public transport offer, developments, infrastructures, etc.).

This guide is meant to be operational. Its objective is to provide business managers and business parks managers with a methodology as well as characteristic examples to direct their sustainable mobility approach.

It is divided into three sections:

1- Mobility management, an imperative for tomorrow’s business parks

=> Main issues and prerequisites for the sustainable management of business parks and mobility management.

2 – How to implement an Inter-company mobility plan?

=> Methodology for the implementation of an inter-company mobility plan.

3 – Experience feedback

=> Examples of French and foreign experiences.