Économie et Statistique n° 483-484-485 - 2016The overhauled Census: progress in methodology and contribution to knowledge
Car use by households in sparsely populated areas: cross-analysis by mobility surveys and the Population census
After decades of uninterrupted growth, the distances households travel by car levelled off then decreased, first in the large agglomerations, then gradually, during the 2000s, in more and more sparsely populated areas. Many of the suggested explanations for this phenomenon in a densely populated urban context do not apply to areas where mobility depends mainly on the car. The aim of this article is to provide a better understanding of how car use by households stabilised then decreased in sparsely populated areas, by combining statistical sources on mobility (Parc Auto car use survey and the National Transport and Travel Survey- ENTD) and the population census. This set of sources includes several parallel dynamics in a rather unfavourable economic climate. While some older households continue to own a car and to drive more, those who already have several vehicles reduce their mileage by focusing their activities closer to home and by switching some of their long-distance travel to other modes of transport. In addition, households that include one or more workers, generally with several vehicles, tend to use their vehicles increasingly for commuting, with access to work being dependent on this.