Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:50:11 AM EST
ContreInfo ::Eric Le Breton - Domicile-travail : Les salariés à bout de souffle
Le transport est devenu le deuxième budget des ménages, après le logement et avant l'alimentation. Le sociologue Eric Le Breton indique que les Français consacrent désormais 17,5% de leur budget aux déplacements, contre moins de 10% en 1960. La hausse de l'énergie remet en cause le choix des très nombreux rurbains qui ont arbitré entre temps de déplacement et coût de l'immobilier lorsque le baril était à 30 dollars.
Transport is now the second largest part of peoples' budgets, behing housing but before food.Sociologist Eric Le Breton indicates that the French spend 17.5% of their income on transportation, against less than 10% in 1960. Rising energy prices put into questions the choice of many rurbans who arbitrated between commuting time and housing cost were made when oil cost $30.
Interesting graphs beyond the fold !
Promoted by Colman
These graphs come from a study made by the Parisian departmental agency for information on housing rights. Note that the data dates from 1998, when oil prices and housing prices were both quite low. It must be quite more frightening now that those two have risen, unlike wages...
Car spending depending on zone of habitation, from closer to farther to Paris city centre.
Proportion of households owning more than two cars.
Average income and car and housing spending, depending on distance to Paris city centre.
What these graphs show is that there wasn't much choice in the arbitration - it's simply impossible in France to spend more that a third of income on rent : you won't get a rent or a loan for more than that.
Thus, those that have less purchasing power have to move farther away, to cheaper neighbourhoods, and thus spend more of their income, both in relative and absolute, on the housing and transportation budget. And it's not going to get better... Transport fares in Paris are much more expensive the farther you are from the city centre ; and, also quite importantly, whereas Paris intra-muros, the old city, has very good public transportation, it very quickly gets worse the farther one lives from the city centre.
The dense métro network pretty much stops beyond the "boulevard Périphérique". Beyond that there only are a few sparse trains, which don't go through the densest neighbourhoods : when the train stations where built, the first ubarnisation around them was one of independent houses in the early 20th century, and the denser neighbourhoods built since the 60's, often for the poorer workers, were erected farther away. The rest of public transportation is made of slow buses and tramways inadequate for longer range trips. Quite systematically transportation from one part of the suburbs to another, requiring to go through the city centre, is way too long to do anyway else than by car. With life employment gone, it gets very hard to choose one's home close to work.
People have to move further away from work in order to find affordable housing ; and this isn't necessarily about suburban sprawl from people wanting to live in their own house ; many of those people moving away live in apartments. For example see this comment thread from a month ago :
LES ULIS, France: When the local bakery increased the price of a baguette for the third time in six months last year, Anne-Laure Renard and Guy Talpot invested in a bread-baking machine. When gasoline became their single biggest monthly expense in January, they decided to sell one of their two cars.
These very regressive features of urban development mean that most of the costs of rising oil prices are born by the poor ; the wealthier people can afford to live in Paris itself or close to it, and thus need to use their car much less. Also, political will is lacking for the big public transportation infrastructure build up needed to make living in the outer suburbs convenient and affordable : the poorer people have much less political clout than the wealthy. France is about to spend a billion euro in covering the Nationale 13, a very busy avenue in Neuilly sur Seine, which surprisingly is Sarkozy's town and the wealthiest suburb in Paris. In the mean time, a very useful project such as the Métrophérique, a project that would be the basis of a properly dense public transport network in the suburbs, won't get built until 2020 at best...
This is not helped by the fact that the wealthier suburbs keep a large part of their tax income to themselves, as I described in this comment :
The Mayor of Paris wasn't elected until 1977 ; and the Seine département which would have been the proper basis for a Greater Paris was dissolved in the 1960's when it appeared such it would be voting left wing, whereas the present situation has Paris (formerly) and Hauts-de-Seine (Where Sarkozy used to be president) nicely voting right wing - and also the wealthier départements ; whereas the left-wing voters ended up in the poorer départements of Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne...
The fact that rising fuels costs are hitting the poor disproportionately, at least in a city like Paris, must be recognised and compensated by income redistribution. Is it going to happen with the right wing or timidly center left governments in most of Europe ?