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The Manifesto and our proposals

15 September 2018

The Manifesto

The era of new mobilities has deeply changed our lifestyles, our bodies, our perception of space and time. The previous century introduced the reign of speed. The current century has seen the rise of telecommunications. Our relationship to the world is now all about freedom and intensity. There is indeed something exhilarating in our current ability, within the boundaries of our financial resources, to travel the world while remaining connected.

We believed in the benefits of increasing mobility through technology. And its attractive aspects cannot be denied. However, this kind of mobility is not a good in itself. Our current conception sells a desire (this obsession “to keep moving and connected at all costs”), deepens social inequalities, dictates new pressures, and conditions our lifestyles in unreasoned ways.

Above all, and this is the essential point that should be central to our entire reflective effort, contemporary forms of mobility continue to significantly destroy our environment. Finally, the most damning aspect is that nothing significant related to the promised transition has emerged: around the world, there are always more trucks, cars and airlines, always more infrastructures being built, always more commercial opportunities on offer, and always more polluting mobilities. On the one hand, there’s a business class that jets around the planet; on the other, there are ordinary mobile lives that are exposed to the nuisances of mass travel: persistent congestion, overcrowded subways at rush hour, frozen bodies in waiting, exhausting schedules and imposed rhythms every day, none of which we can control. Despite repeated reports of pollution peaks, despite solemn commitments or statements of principle, there is no serious comprehensive solution in sight, no effective programmatic plan, no public authorities supporting, with any real conviction or constancy, innovative and sustainable ways of life.

Why then do we continue to speak of mobility in a detached manner, ignoring its many social and political dimensions? How can we continue studying mobility without focusing on how travel impacts climate change and air pollution (particulate matter, CO2)? We must now allow ourselves to rethink freely the different ways in which we travel, with all their contradictions, by unpacking all their issues – ecological, geopolitical and social – including their most detrimental aspects. That is why our thinking must resolutely deconstruct the technocratic lie. Technological innovations and their futuristic visions are often presented as miraculous solutions (such as autonomous cars, or “intelligent” cities). But all these “solutions” are illusory, as they neglect the critical questions of waste, rare materials and energy – and they could actually lead to even more travel and even worse congestion.

We should not shy away from challenging our current travel patterns which have been shaped by the domination of the systems of automobility and aviation and their supporting industries and infrastructure.

Let’s offer new mobility policies, breaking with the obsession of always going faster and further.

Let’s imagine new ways of conceiving the scales and rhythms of life that more accurately reflect the legitimate aspirations of those who no longer want to suffer from a world that neglects ecological and social issues in the service of a blind pursuit of growth.

Let’s give everyone a chance to slow down, to better control their time, to reduce distances, to prioritize more harmonious environments in diverse territories.

Let’s imagine achievable futures and alternative lifestyles, where we encourage people to ride bikes and walk, where we no longer need to live in a frenzied, anxious society.

We would benefit from it on all fronts: health, serenity, quality of life, and even public spending. Through extensive surveys and original research projects, the Mobile Lives Forum has been monitoring the situation for several years. It has studied the mobile lifestyles that are actually experienced by people, in their many difficulties but also their great ingenuity.

In continuing this effort, the Forum will focus on thinking up alternative solutions for a real ecological transition, taking into account people’s desire in industrialized countries for slower-paced and more localized lives. These questions are so urgent that they cannot be left solely to the decision-making power of states, or to the contrasting findings of experts, and much less to the market and private enterprise. It is high time that we regain the initiative, to think together, in an open, engaged and committed way, based on scientifically established data, about new proposals and choices that emerge from public deliberations.

The transformation of our mobilities concerns us all. Let’s make this topic a priority within the public debate.

Philippe Bihouix, Yves Cochet, Philippe Duron, Mathias Emmerich, Caroline Gallez, Christophe Gay, Anne Jarrigeon, Mark Hunyadi, Vincent Kaufmann, Sylvie Landriève, Marie de Lattre-Gasquet, Arnaud Lemarchand, Christian Licoppe, Jean-Pierre Martin, Dominique Meda, Olivier Mongin, Jean-Marc Offner

Our proposals

1. Mobility and territory

Develop the territory to reduce distances and daily travel times:

  • Recreate life centers outside of cities (jobs, shops, public services).
  • Condition the establishment of businesses, shops and major facilities on the existence of alternative means of access to individual cars (public transport, carpooling, cycling, walking, etc.).
  • Deploy a national policy to organize teleworking, to allow the residents of large cities to move closer to a more desired living environment, and to reduce commuting and congestion during peak hours.

2. Mobility and transport

Plan and implement an alternative system to individual cars and air travel on a national scale:

  • Deploy a cyclic, multi-scale public transport network (especially by road).
  • Socialize road use by dedicating part of the existing network to active (cycling, walking) and collective modes.
  • Set up a walking plan (crossings, signage, communication, benches, trees, rest areas, public toilets...).
  • Integrate passenger information (schedules and fares) of all existing modes of transport (public, school, business, carpooling, etc.) and give everyone access to it.
  • Create a Mobility Authority with all the levers of action on transport and roads (infrastructure and regulation).
  • Eliminate domestic flights when a low-carbon alternative of under 4 hours exists.

3. Mobility and business

Involve organizations in slowing down lifestyles and fighting CO2 emissions:

  • Make the Sustainable mobility package mandatory and sanction the lack of a Company mobility plan or salary negotiations on the subject.
  • Force companies to renew their corporate vehicle fleet in favor of smaller engines and active modes (cargo bikes, etc.).
  • Allow employees and public agents with the same function to autonomously exchange positions, in particular to reduce trips.
  • Allow long-term leave during the working life.

4. Mobility and industry

Put an end to the contradictory injunctions related to the production, sale or use of polluting transport:

  • Deploy an industrial sector of light and easily repairable vehicles thanks to low-tech and retrofitting
  • Support, economically and socially, the transformation of the automotive and aviation sectors.

5. Mobility and youth

Fight against inequalities in terms of mobility:

  • Create a “mobility pack” for young people including transport subscription, internet plan, support for learning active modes and driving license at school.

6. Mobility and democracy

Involve citizens in decisions that impact their lifestyles, the environment and land planning:

  • Allocate 5 days of citizen leave to each person to take part in national and local democratic bodies.

7. Mobility and carbon

Make everyone's carbon emissions more concrete:

  • Set up a carbon mobility account for individuals and companies allowing everyone to know the carbon impact of their activity.


For the Mobile Lives Forum, mobility is understood as the process of how individuals travel across distances in order to deploy through time and space the activities that make up their lifestyles. These travel practices are embedded in socio-technical systems, produced by transport and communication industries and techniques, and by normative discourses on these practices, with considerable social, environmental and spatial impacts.

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The remote performance of a salaried activity outside of the company’s premises, at home or in a third place during normal working hours and requiring access to telecommunication tools.

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