Understanding mobility choices: the typology of transport users in the Bordeaux urban area

Background of the study

Bordeaux Urban Planning Agency (A’Urba) in France recently published on its website, in association with 6t, a fun and interactive interface  to understand the perception held by Bordeaux users of different means of transport within the urban area.

To achieve this, 6t established, based on the Household Travel Survey, for the Bordeaux  urban area a typology of modes of transport users.

The principles of the typology of transport users 

The Household-Travel Survey (HTS) for Bordeaux, conducted in 2009 is a survey of a sample representative of 6 011 households (13 321 people) residing in the selected survey perimeter, i.e. the 96 municipalities of the greater Bordeaux area (27 municipalities of the Bordeaux Urban Community and 69 municipalities bordering this territory) in order to observe and understand mobility practices among inhabitants of this territory. Within this investigation, the “Opinion” sheet is filled out in each household by a randomly selected person over 16 years (i.e. 6011 respondents). This sheet includes a section on perceptions of the private car, public transport and of cycling. For each of these three modes of transport, the respondents provided three adjectives for their assessment. In total, out of about 6011 respondents, more than 49,500 adjectives were identified, which implies a non-response rate of about 8%.

Based on the Household-Travel Surveys, inhabitants were classified according to their predispositions to the use of various modes of transport.The principles for constructing the typology are as follows :

  1. The dimension of modal habitsdistinguishes between those who only use one mode of transport and those who use more than one. This principle is supported by the frequency with which different modes of transport are used, as reported in the HTS.
  2. The dimension of the values distinguishes between respondents who describe transport options according to individual interests (makes one independent, comfortable, etc) and those who describe transport options according to communal interests (ecological, polluting, noisy, etc). This principle is supported by the adjectives listed in the HTS, grouped together as 36 adjectives.
  3. The attitudes dimension distinguishes between respondents according to their usage preferences, ie, on the opinion (be it positive, neutral or negative) which they have of different modes of transport. This principle is determined according to adjectives listed in the HTS.

In this way, on the basis of spontaneously listed adjectives to describe different modes of transport and frequencies of usage for these modes of transport, this typology enables the measurement of the potentialities for modal transfer from one mode of transport to another and the identification of comparable population segments within different contexts.>> The study’s findings: an image according to modes of transport which is variable

  • The dimension of modal habits within the Bordeaux urban area

Across the Bordeaux urban area, the private car as the driver is used regularly (more than twice per week) by 69% of the population. 26% of inhabitants aged 16 and over are the passengers of a private car at least twice a week. Conversely, users of public transport tend to be more casual (45%) than regular (29%). Public transport is therefore used on a more occasional basis.

As far as bicycle usage is concerned, this is much lower. Almost two thirds of inhabitants of the Bordeaux urban area never travels by bicycle, 14% use it regularly and 23% travel by bicycle occasionally.

  • The dimension of the values 

The three modes of transport studied enjoy a positive image-75% of the inhabitants of the Bordeaux urban area have a positive opinion of bicycle travel, and 65% of inhabitants regard private cars favourably. Public transport attracts the least favourable opinion, with 61% in favour of it.

  • The attitudes dimension 

The car has qualities stemming from its practicality. It comes across as a means of transport which is useful and indispensable, but it pollutes and is expensive. Cars are indispensable on urban peripheries for those who use them every day, but are expensive and polluting in urban hypercentres.

Public transport is practical, ecological and economical, but also over-used and insufficient. These negative features do not pertain to the means’ of transport’s characteristics. Public  transport is cheap, but insufficient on the periphery, and jammed in the centre.

The bicycle is an environmentally friendly means of transportation which is also physical, and good for one’s health. The main shortcoming listed to qualify the bike is the fact that it is dangerous.


And you, what type of transport users are you?


Capture d’écran 2016-11-03 à 20.04.46


Photo credit: 6t, 2015

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