Traffic evaporation, opportunities and challenges for mobility today and tomorrow

Traffic analyses before and after construction sometimes show an unexplained drop in traffic volumes... In order to better understand this phenomenon, a PhD was carried out in partnership with LaSur under the direction of Vincent Kaufmann. Four years of research made it possible to qualify and quantify this "angel's share" of car traffic.

Every day, we observe the phenomenon of traffic evaporation, which means that in the event of voluntary or involuntary traffic restrictions, a certain amount of traffic 'disappears' spontaneously, and sometimes permanently. Traffic evaporation is almost absent from the scientific literature and largely unknown, but it deserved greater attention from mobility specialists. Traffic evaporation is sometimes a subject of fantasies: the most ambitious consider that it justifies radical actions, the most reticent that it is a vague concept.

Some local authorities might be tempted to include a share of evaporation in each public space redevelopment project, which would facilitate public action. However, there is no consensus on the value to be placed on it and the reasons for its existence. Based on specific case studies in France and Switzerland, Pauline Hosotte's thesis fills a gap and allows us to address the short- and medium-term impact of roadworks and to consider the longer-term issues of traffic removal. Her doctoral thesis, entitled "Traffic evaporation, opportunities and challenges for mobility today and tomorrow", was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Vincent Kaufmann as part of a collaboration between Transitec and the Urban Sociology Laboratory (LaSUR) of the EPFL.

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