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Motility Index

Finished research
Begin: January 2015
End: April 2019

The objective of this project, led by Vincent Kaufmann and Emmanuel Ravalet, is to develop a simple, functional index for measuring motility in a variety of territories. This standard index will help in assessing and guiding mobility and regional development policies. The results are expected in April 2015.

Research participants

The researchers


Contact : Thomas Evariste

Each person (or group of people) is characterized by more or less pronounced propensities to move in geographical, economic and social space. These propensities form a set of skills comprised of social conditions of access to transportation systems, individuals’ skills when it comes to moving and their mobility projects. This is what is conceptualized by the concept of “motility,” in reference to the term’s biological definition. The analysis of these aptitudes, or “mobility capital,” improves our understanding of the relationship between the possibilities offered by the territory and actors’ propensities to be mobile.

In the past ten years, the notion of motility has raised considerable debate among scholars. Our first step will be to take stock of the various debates to which the notion has given rise and respond to them. Based on this, we will then determine the data to be collected to easily measure the ability of a person or group to be mobile in a given space, in order to build a motility index. This critical review of the literature on motility - and, in particular, the quantitative surveys used as support for their arguments - will be supplemented by the results of two workdays: the first with researchers who have used the concept and the second with practitioners (governments and transportation companies) to identify the area of relevance of the concept of motility.

In order to judge the validity of this newly-built index, it will be tested on 1,000 people living in a French region, either Ile-de-France or Rhône-Alpes. The test-survey will be completed with a qualitative survey of ten people.

The goal is to create a functional statistical index for measuring motility in a given territory. The index should make it possible to assess the performances of a transportation and communications system based on the level, diversity and distribution of motility of a given population. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a standard index for measuring mobility and planning policies.

The final index is expected in April 2015.


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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Associated Thematics :

To cite this publication :

Vincent Kaufmann et Emmanuel Ravalet (10 April 2014), « Motility Index », Préparer la transition mobilitaire. Consulté le 20 April 2024, URL:

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