Potential for Car Use Reduction Through a Simulation Approach: Paris and Lyon Case Studies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, ridership - demand, mode - mass transit, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian, mode - car


Walking, Vehicle mix, Trips, Travel, Transit, Traffic composition, Simulation, Regulatory policy, Public transit, Policy, Policies, Mode share, Modal split, Mixed traffic, Mathematical models, Mass transit, Local transit, Journeys, Government policy, France, Demand, Decreases, Computer simulation, Bicycles, Automobiles


The aim of the present study is to evaluate the possible extent of modal shifts from car use to 'alternative modes' (public transport, cycling, walking) without any change in individual patterns of activity. Its approach is based on a transfer procedure that allows the simulation of the maximal potential market for transport modes other than the private car. The method is based on repeated iterations of a simulation model that assigns journeys to transport modes other than the automobile based on a number of improved public transport scenarios. Demand is channelled towards individual modes (walking, cycling), public transport, and a combination of individual and public modes, based on their relative time and distance performance. The modal transfer procedure is applied to several transport supply scenarios, which provide a picture of what is possible in the sphere of modal split. Each simulation entails a potential transfer of private vehicle-km to each of the other modes. Even where different public transport scenarios are simulated, the transfer is evaluated for round trips in both the Paris and Lyon surveys. There is therefore no modification in the activity pattern of the people surveyed nor trips induced by improvements in transport supply. The aim is not to predict what would be the modal split in other circumstances, but the upper limit of the shifts. This paper presents our methodology and the principal results obtained through numerical simulations based on figures for the Paris and Lyon conurbations. This approach demonstrates that a policy focused on modal shifts has the potential to reduce car use, but that this potential is limited. Any aspiration to reduce car use further would mean changes in the patterns and loci of activity.