What are the numbers?
We knew there were many. A Vinci study confirms this: More than eight in 10 drivers travel alone in their cars in the morning. Thus, 82.6% of the 1.5 million vehicles analyzed between 8 am and 10 am on weekdays near major cities in the fall of 2021 carried only one person ahead. “Autosolism” peaks at 8 a.m., the busiest commute time, when 89% of people are alone. It then drops below 75% around 10:00 am.
The study, published Wednesday by highway manager Vinci, analyzed data provided by cameras on highways. We are talking about “autosolist” people, a neologism of the words auto and solo, two words denoting the practice of driving a motor vehicle, more specifically a car, alone.
why would that be a problem
Of course, some home-work trips are incompressible for a certain number of users. But INSEE statistics for 2017 show that most of these trips are actually made over very short distances. Thus, 49% of users use their cars for journeys of less than one kilometer, and 63% for a journey of 2 to 3 kilometers.
This systematic use of the car has a direct impact on congestion in city centers and on certain roads, as well as high greenhouse gas emissions leading to pollution peaks in some major cities. The European Parliament reminds on its website that transport is responsible for around 30% of the European Union’s total CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions from passenger transport vary considerably depending on the mode of transport. Personal cars are one of the main pollutants as they represent 60.7% of the total CO2 emissions from road transport in Europe.
According to the Road Association, motorways represent 1% of the French road network, but 30% of distances traveled and 25% of CO2 emissions from transport.
What are the solutions?
Fighting “solo driving”, especially through car sharing, is one of the main ways the government uses to limit traffic and thus air pollution. In 2019, the government set a goal of reaching three million carpoolers by tripling the share of home-to-business ridesharing within five years. Or run a million fewer cars a day on French roads.
That’s why the law, as of 2019, allows lanes to be reserved for shared use, as it has existed for many years in North America or elsewhere. According to the National Centre, several lanes reserved for “VR2+” (vehicles carrying at least 2 passengers, public transport, taxis, very low emission vehicles) have opened in the Lyon, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Bordeaux or Paris region. studies and expertise on risks, environment, mobility and planning (Cerema).
In a survey published by Ademe in 2019, 69% of respondents said they would be willing to encourage the use of low-polluting vehicles and the use of shared vehicles through traffic lanes or reserved parking spaces.
Cerema underlines that “effective control of the number of users” is necessary for the proliferation of these reserved lanes. Various devices were tested, such as at the Franco-Swiss customs in Rouen or Thônex-Vallard. Some counting devices seem reliable enough to display training messages, but not enough to allow automatic enforcement. Cerema noted that approval of an automated control solution is not expected before the end of 2023, but computer-assisted video-verbalization solutions could be implemented before that date.
Our leading regions
The first active car-sharing lane in France was opened in September 2020 in Grenoble on the A48 by the manager of the Area motorway network, as reported by Le Dauphiné Libéré. In December 2020, the metropolis of Lyon followed the same route on the M6-M7 (former A6-A7 motorway), separating the left lane for car-sharing and least polluting vehicles. Le Progrès underlines that criminals will be fined 135 Euros.
A year later, Strasbourg reopened its car-sharing lane on the M35 with at least two people. Remember Latest News from Alsace, cameras were placed just above the highway to evaluate the system. Verbal explanations will come later.