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Post-covid Mobilities: A Greener World for Tomorrow?

Research notes
Begin: December 2022
End: September 2023

Despite ambitious goals to decarbonise mobility, public policies have had little impact on travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the response to the Covid-19 epidemic beginning at the start of 2020 radically altered key aspects of how mobility is organised. The Mobile Lives Forum and the Métropolitiques journal are launching a joint investigation into the environmental dimension of mobility in light of these developments. Using a range of formats (articles, videos, photographic portfolios, podcasts), in the coming months we will be showcasing viewpoints from researchers, professionals, civil society associations and policymakers. Our aim is to discuss the ecological transition in terms of mobility through medium and long-term analyses of contemporary practices and public policies.

Research participants


Special issue by Métropolitiques journal and the Mobile Lives Forum

Edited by:

  • Jean Baptiste Frétigny, Maxime Huré, Thomas Pfirsch (Métropolitics)
  • Thomas Évariste, Anne Fuzier, Christophe Gay (Mobile Lives Forum)

Over the past twenty years, public policies have set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions related to mobility, especially to tackle air pollution and climate change. In 2019, the transport sector accounted for 31% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in France. Yet since this date there has been no tangible indication that these emissions would go down. Despite proactive policies to promote electric vehicles and to encourage motorists to switch to other travel modes (public transport, cycling, walking), GHG emissions continued to grow between 2010 and 2019.

However, the Covid-19 crisis and the ensuing measures from early 2020 had a significant impact on mobilities. Daily mobilities were affected by lockdowns in the spring of 2020 and by the rise of teleworking. Long-distance trips were suspended with borders closing down and movements restricted. The transport of goods was interrupted by disruptions in supply chains. Many actors decided to seize this unprecedented opportunity to profoundly question our mobility systems and lifestyles. New individual and collective behaviors have since emerged and public policies have been initiated to prepare the "post-pandemic world.” But do all these changes herald a future in which we properly address the challenges of an ecological transition in transport and mobility, and really consider the aspirations of many to live in greater proximity and to control their pace of life? How can we characterize the changes observed since 2020 in our mobility practices and public policies? Were the measures taken to manage the Covid-19 epidemic just temporary adaptations to an emergency situation, or indicators of a sustainable turning point in the green transition of mobility? What deeper trends could influence our future mobilities and lifestyles?

This special issue aims to question the ecological dimension of mobility in light of the changes, evolutions and statements observed since the beginning of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. To avoid the risk of analytical shortsightedness, this special issue favors insights that are part of a long-term approach, aimed at understanding inflections or continuities in mobility practices and in how contemporary mobility policies are conceptualized and implemented. The collection of papers will also allow us to better characterize and discuss the notion of transition in terms of mobility. While initial assessment data from quantitative and qualitative surveys may shed light on the processes at hand, the contributions will present case studies based on completed or ongoing research. This work is part of a multidisciplinary approach and intends to bring together researchers, political decision-makers and public policy professionals. With this in mind, articles in alternative formats (videos, animations, photographic portfolios, radio-podcasts, etc.) are particularly encouraged.

Published articles:

Podcast (in French) – Le Covid a-t-il grippé les transports collectifs ?, with Annelise Avril et David Henny

Podcast (in French) – Qu’est-ce qu’une politique de la marche après les confinements ?, withJenny Leuba

Opinion – ‘Revenge Travel’: Aeromobilities and the aviation industry after the Pandemic, by Weiqiang Lin

Research Notes – Tactical cycling urbanism and the health crisis, by Laurent Chapelon, Sandrine Depeau, Benoît Feildel, Adrien Lammoglia, Maëlle Lucas, Nathalie Ortar and Adrien Poisson.

Research Notes – A sustained fall in post-COVID car use? The case of the Lyon metropolitan area, by Stéphanie Vincent, Olivier Klein, Ali El Zein, Pascal Pochet and Adrien Beziat

Opinion – Have metropolitan mobility policies been redefined by the Covid pandemic?, by Jean Debrie and Juliette Maulat


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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To cite this publication :

Mobile Lives Forum et Métropolitiques (25 September 2023), « Post-covid Mobilities: A Greener World for Tomorrow? », Préparer la transition mobilitaire. Consulté le 19 June 2024, URL:

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