Paolo Chevalier’s Thesis Summary : « A spatio-temporal approach to mobility dependency in the metropolises of Barcelona and Aix-Marseille-Provence », novembre 2020, Université Paris-Est.
This PhD dissertation aims to provide a better understanding of the paradox of spatial mobility, which is both a resource and a constraint. While people are likely to embark on longer commutes to find a job or better housing, moving is costly, tiring and time-consuming, even more so for those with a long travel-time budget between their place of residence and their place(s) of work. Assuming that low income workers have less capacity to adapt themselves to severely restricted situations of mobility, we research the extent in which long travel-time budgets will indicate how low income workers are dependent on mobility and identify its forms and consequences.
By analysing the mobility surveys from the metropolitan region of Barcelona and the metropolis Aix-Marseille-Provence, we first quantify and divide this population into four categories: the “slow commuters”, the “fast commuters”, the “slow commuters with multiple workplaces” and the “fast commuters with multiple workplaces”. Next, with a sample of 40 individuals, we commence a qualitative analysis. Initially, we collect one week of GPS data of their daily routine and hold a semi-structured interview to discuss their daily movement patterns as well as their residential, professional and familial situation. Our second study consists of an analysis of the biographic data, which provides for the opportunity to reconstruct, in time and space, the life course of these workers. Consequently, through these studies we can observe how long travel-time budgets are related to the adjustments of these individuals’ life aspirations, professional career, access to housing and family life, as well as changes in their ability to be mobile or the potential to move during their lifetime. Despite heterogeneous practices of mobility, we conclude that long travel-time budgets are sometimes the price to pay for low income workers to be socially integrated in these two European metropolises.
Keywords: dependence on mobility, daily and residential mobility, biographic approach, GPS data, European comparison.