Mobility dependency of women in peri urban region: The case of Creil and La Roche-sur-Foron.


  • Maya El Khawand Université Gustave Eiffel


mobility dependency, accessibility, peri urban regions, social inequalities, women




Over the past few decades, improvements in travel conditions have led to socio-spatial transformations, especially urban sprawl and increasing distances between housing and workplaces. These changes have favored the migration of new populations to rural and peri urban areas, including low-income households seeking affordable housing and households seeking a more natural environment. Moreover, these spatial changes have led to significant social inequalities, such as limited access to fast travel modes, which highly depends on personal characteristics (Preston, Rajé, 2007) or to residential locations with good amenities or efficient public transport services. Both of these spatial transformations of urbanized areas and the social valuing of mobility have led to the increase need to travel more frequently, sometimes further, and faster (Kaufmann, 2008). This process of “mobility dependency” results in two forms of prejudice for precarious social groups: lack of accessibility for those who do not have access to mobility, or significant financial costs, difficult and longer travelling time for mobile people but severely constrained in their movements (Fol, Gallez, 2017; Chevalier, 2020).

In the face of the climate emergency and foreseeable rises in energy prices, access to local amenities and services is becoming increasingly difficult. This is especially true for less-advantaged population in rural and peri-urban areas, which are less well served by public transport and often have fewer local services and shops. Consequently, these areas, characterized by significant distances between various activities, tend to be stigmatized as fragile territories marked by unsustainable lifestyles and mobility habits predominantly reliant on cars (Fourny, Cailly, 2012). Given this scenario, reducing private car usage has become a central topic in political discourse. National and regional authorities leverage railway services as a tool for improved transportation and urban planning coordination, with the goal of reducing car dependency. Models like Transit Oriented Development are being implemented, though typically applied to densely populated urban areas.

We hypothesize that in these areas characterized by diffuse urbanization, the application of urban-centric planning principles (such as densification, polarization, and massification of flows, etc.) may exacerbate mobility dependency. This is particularly true for less advantaged individuals, resulting in paradoxical effects on their access to services, amenities, and housing. In these areas, the railway service promotes the territory with good regional accessibility and sometimes a micro-local accessibility restricted to a limited perimeter around the station. However, this approach tends to overlook the daily accessibility needs of the local population, especially the less-advantaged groups, including women.

Based on a qualitative methodology such as semi-directive interviews, walk-alongs, focus groups, etc., this research draws on the disparities between the vision of local actors (potential accessibility) and the needs and practices of the population, especially women (effective accessibility). In this communication, we will be looking into the women’s effective access to services, amenities, housing and job opportunities. Based on the comparison of two communes in the peripheries of Paris and Geneva, we will be analyzing their accessibility needs and mobility practices in the territory. The first case study is Creil, a commune located outside the administrative region of Ile de France, but at its fringes. It is strongly dependent on the Ile-de-France metropolis, which is reflected in the high rate of daily commuting. The second case study is the small town of "La Roche-sur-Foron," located in the French peripheries of Geneva and served by the new Léman Express railway, the transborder French-Swiss infrastructure.


Chevalier Paolo, 2020, Une approche spatio-temporelle de la dépendance à la mobilité dans les métropoles de Barcelone et d’Aix-Marseille-Provence. Thèse de sociologie, Université Paris-Est. [En ligne]

Fol S., Gallez C., 2017, Évaluer les inégalités sociales d’accès aux ressources, Intérêt d’une approche fondée sur l’accessibilité., Riurba, 2017, n° 4. Consulted Online:

Kaufmann, V., 2008, Les paradoxes de la mobilité : bouger, s’enraciner.

Preston, J. and Rajé, F., 2007, Accessibility, mobility and transport-related social exclusion, Journal of Transport Geography, 15, 151-160.