The Lunch Break: a Key Factor in the Evolution of Mobility in France over the Last 35 Years
The trips made by working people, pupils or students leaving their place of work or study to have lunch at home are subject to strict constraints in terms of time and distance, as well as to many trade-offs within households. Trends in these practices have also had a great influence on statistical indicators of mobility. In 1974, regular lunch-break trips represented 12% of all journeys made by French people on a weekday, and just 5% in 2008. The practice of a journey home for lunch during the day of work or study has declined at the same speed among working people and their children in schooling. Feminisation of employment and growing distances between home and the place of work or study are major causes of this decline, but the fall is progressing at a faster rate than its causal factors. These lunch-time journeys are still frequent, however, outside the Paris region, even in large cities. In 2008, they still concerned 26% of all people travelling on a weekday. This change in the behaviour of working people, pupils and students explains 85% of the variation observed over 34 years in the number of journeys per weekday for the population as a whole. It is likely to bring the indicator down further by around 0.05 journeys per day between 2008 and 2020. It is also one factor that has stabilised the time spent each day in transportation, as a national average. Nevertheless, another fall in mobility concerning longer journeys at other times of day has been observed in the Paris region and, more recently, in the main regional cities.