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LQD : Oil Dependency around Paris

by linca 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 :

Fran:

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 ?

Display:
Income re-distribution isn't going to happen at all.

There is no plan, the politicians have been taken unawares and are, as yet, entirely unawares that all of their imagined futures are falling around their ears.

They might get around to tinkering with the sytem, but by then it will be too late to effect useful change, os they will make showy but useless gestures. Something like what happens now, but with extra added insult.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:16:51 AM EST
At least Madrid has Metrosur and is still vigorously expanding its metro network into the suburbs.

Being smaller and denser than the London or Paris metro areas, the only problem would seem to be water, which is not yet the case unlike in Barcelona.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:22:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way Madrid is able to build a proper suburban transport system whereas Paris can't frustrates me deeply.

Another problem with the wealthy center/poor suburbs duality is that all the journalists actually live in Paris, and thus don't know anything about what the majority of the Parisian population, living in the suburbs, faces.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may have something to do with the structure of local and regional government. Also in the case of Barcelona as kcurie points out.

The Greater London Assembly should allow London to do a good job, too, if it can find the money.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Governance is not the only blocking point. Political will is lacking (That's what is meant by "lacking money ; when there is a will there is a way). Pompidou did build both the RER and way to many highways around Paris.  But the French government is content with building clientelist bits of highway here and there, and lets the regional rail infrastructure rust. No mayor dares to undertake projects longer than their mandates since a town in infrastructure building mode, with dug up streets, means risking losing one's position. Metro lines are extended one station at a time, which costs less yearly, but ends up wasting money as each stop change means rebuilding maintenance workshops...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny fact: 20 % of all Swedish journalist live in the very center of Stockholm, another 50 % live on Södermalm which is also very central, about 500 metres from the riksdag and royal palace.

That's not 70 % of all journalists in Stockholm, that's 70 % of all journalists in Sweden.

They live together, only marry other journalists or politicians and never meet anyone who isn't from their line of business.

Which is probably why they are so extremely insular and detached from ordinary people.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose this is why they eventually sympathize with their decision-making captors ;-)

The younger, single Finnish journalists tend to live south of downtown Helsinki. But I know quite a few married ones who have moved out to the suburbs and beyond. Provincial journalism has also survived the trend to repeating what is on the wires, and focusing instead on local events and politics.

The broadcasting channels are almost all located north of the city, and even content suppliers are spread far and wide. Though the trendy media (populated by the younger and single again) like advertising, web-production, magazines etc are often south of downtown - occupying some of the large old factories that have been refurbished for office and studio use.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 04:00:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They at least have started to tackle on the absurd governance system of the Paris Metro area - a hot point of debate currently within the Paris political class - which might lead to some form of indirect income redistribution.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:25:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen has pointed out that recent developments in London public transport (notably Crossrail) also fit the pattern of catering mostly to the well-off commuter and doing little for mobility of the general population.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:22:28 AM EST
Excellent diary..paris is very similar to barcelona.. almost identical. Exceleltn in-city public trasnport, a disaster of underinvestment in the metropolitan area.. the trains are crumbling.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:49:07 AM EST
And another vote for 'looks like my town'. Though concerning the distance from commuter rail, I wonder if a relatively cheap and quick short term solution wouldn't be to just build parking lots next to the suburban and exurban rail stations. 'Park and Ride' systems are pretty popular around here.
by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:02:40 AM EST
Firstly, once people get in their car to drive, it is hard to get them out of it to do part of their trip on public transportation. Especially if there is no convention transportation for their trip, which is the case for suburb to suburb commuters

Secondly, at least in Paris the suburban transport system is beyond saturation. The metro line 13 is at 120% capacity ; very often on the RER A line you have to let 3 or 4 trains pass before getting in. Adding passengers is nearly impossible...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:09:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the first part they do here because of the cost and time factor. The cost being primarily parking rather than gas, even now. Traffic also sucks - even when a large majority of the over two million folks working in Manhattan use public transport, that still leaves quite a bit of road traffic trying to get onto an island with a limited number of tunnels and bridges. The MTA has been responding to increased commuter traffic by using longer and more frequent trains. On the suburban to suburban commutes, I agree there is no short term solution, but it would be nice if we got started on using zoning laws to shift employment to mass transit hubs.

One rather interesting very recent development has been companies offering shuttle services from suburban/satellite urban commuter rail stations. The primary reason has been the growth in reverse commuting by young professionals who absolutely hate the idea of living in the 'burbs.

by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:18:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with you that the various center-to-suburb commutes are not the most problematic. But i'd tend to guess that, at least in Paris, the poorer workers are those that also tend to work in the suburbs - but not their suburb. Which is where it will be long and hard to replace cars with pubic transportation...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:26:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The unasked question is why must people commute to the center cities to work?

When manufacturing was concentrated in certain locales then it made sense to have the workforce travel towards this area. Many factory centers were based upon geographic conditions like ports or rivers used for water power.

Most cities have little heavy industry any more and probably not much light manufacturing either. A firm that sells expertise (consulting, advertising, marketing, finance, etc.) can be located anywhere. In fact much of its staff doesn't have to visit the office to get work done either.

I live in the oldest suburb in America, Long Island. It was developed in large part right after WWII to provide homes to returning servicemen and their expanding families. Before this much of it was potato fields. Before this the north shore had been the site of summer homes for millionaires who wanted to escape the heat and have someplace to send their families during the hot spells. This is the image that the "Great Gatsby" tries to portray.

To aid in development there were a series of parallel railroad tracks run starting in the mid 19th century from east to west, each about 5 miles north or south of the next. The intent was clear - move people from the suburbs to midtown Manhattan.

Until about 20 years ago auto traffic paralleled the railroads. The Long Island Expressway just added a fourth lane in each direction to accommodate rising traffic.

The interesting thing is that about 50% of the auto traffic is now from one part of the island to another and not into NYC. There are similar instances elsewhere. Stamford Connecticut and other nearby cities now have many of the office facilities that would have been in Manhattan previously.

Decentralized office parks are now common, but the need for mass transit to service them from suburban sprawl has not been addressed. In fact, there seems to be no simple way to handle this type of dispersed traffic pattern.

It seems that the concept of "going to the office" needs to be rethought for many professions.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:59:19 PM EST
The unasked question is why must people commute to the center cities to work?

The interesting thing is that about 50% of the auto traffic is now from one part of the island to another and not into NYC. There are similar instances elsewhere. Stamford Connecticut and other nearby cities now have many of the office facilities that would have been in Manhattan previously.

Decentralized office parks are now common, but the need for mass transit to service them from suburban sprawl has not been addressed. In fact, there seems to be no simple way to handle this type of dispersed traffic pattern.

You answered your own question. It's true that telecommuting could handle some of that, but plenty of people will either have to or prefer going into an office. From what my friends say, working from when you have kids is pretty bad for your productivity, and some just find it difficult under any circumstances. If you live alone it can be pretty isolating. And my impression is that the bulk of the most recent office development outside the City has been either way, way out (dirt cheap) or in the satellite urban areas like Jersey City, Bridgeport or Stamford which have rail.

by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 02:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what my friends say, working from when you have kids is pretty bad for your productivity, and some just find it difficult under any circumstances.

When I was a graduate student I had a choice of working in my flat, in my office or in the library (as well as some other places). Sometimes I preferred to be in the library even if my office was quiet, just because the location influences your attitude to work.

Nowadays I also find too many distractions when working at home, and when I have to work from home because of the child I get very little done.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 02:37:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago IBM set up empty office suits. They were equipped with phones, copy machines, computers, etc., but no staff.

When you needed office services you went to one of these sites and took over a cubicle for the day. Everything was networked so you could do whatever you would have done from your home base (which was eliminated).

I don't know if this caught on, or whether it still exists, but I don't think the main idea was ecological, it was to make workers feel even more interchangeable and dispensable. It also prevented building up any community of labor, especially when IBM was trashing its existing benefits packages.

I think they partially lost an anti-discrimination suit over some of these practices.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:02:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An office isn't simply a desk and a computer - it's a place where you form social relations that serve as help on your job, informal coordination, and a motivating social environment. Many people's productivity would be greatly diminished if they were not motivated by the constant overlook of their peers...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I always find the opposite - I'm roughly twice as productive at home as I would be in an office, and the lack of commute time is also a big plus.

Offices are where people gossip, plot politics, run covert popularity contests, intrude on each other's sonic space with phone calls, typing, radios, and other distractions, and waste time in unproductive meetings.

They're fine if you score in the top couple of standard deviations on extraversion, but for anyone who needs a quieter environment they're unpleasant white collar battery farms.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You happen to live alone, right?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you like what you are working on or don't you ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, is it the kind of work that can be done by a single person?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like some of what I do, and don't like other parts. I spend a fair amount of time on email and the phone. There are collaborative elements where I have to agree things with other people, or make plans or suggestions, or decide deadlines.

I'm not doing a lot that I wouldn't be doing in an office - but I am dealing with a small number of people one to one instead of trying to get decisions by committee, and I also have the time and space to get on with projects without distractions.

I have occasionally worked on-site for half a day or a day, and I always find that whatever I'm trying to do takes at least twice as long.

I think offices work for campus-style collaborations, or for studios of various kinds. But considering the commuting, energy and building costs required to run an office, I'm not so convinced that they're excellent value for money for most people.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the social relations that IBM was trying to prevent, the unions and the pending class action suit were foremost in their mind at the time.

Do people who collaborate remotely as on this site feel alone? I probably have more in common with bloggers I've never met than with many of my neighbors. (It's hard to tell, most of them never stick their heads out of their houses.)

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rdf:
A few years ago IBM set up empty office suits.

Weren't empty suits always a key part of IBM culture?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:12:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think IBM was famous for gray flannel suits.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape
by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:12:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The metropolitan area of Finland is served by trams (city + close suburbs) buses (both radial and webbed), trains (radial, but some cross routes) and metro (center and East). Business developments (even way out to the edges) have focused on nodes where several means of mass transport intersect.

Parking area meters are everywhere. You walk to a single dispenser of tickets and then return to the car to display them. You can decide the length of your stay and pay according to the zone. Neither the parking areas nor commercial parking is cheap. Parking anywhere else can be expensive - unless is it raining and the LappuLiisat (wardens) stay indoors.

There are also park and ride areas outside the city.

Helsinki city has suffered with more and more cars coming in, and their are moves to either increase the cost of parking or even consider tolls.

At some point in the future the metro will also extend West as it is now formally decided by both Helsinki City and Espoo City.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 02:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finnish business life would probably survive even if all private cars disappeared.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 02:24:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, transporting people to the center is not what causes problems in the Paris area. That's the way the transportation system was set up a hundred years ago. And the advantages of centralised office space are many : prestige of the address, attraction of the workplace to workers, easiness of commercial and organisational networking - most people spend most of their working time interacting with people rather than in front of a screen, actually.

And I believe the wealthier portion of the work force is getting the nicer offices, in Paris or La Défence, whereas those with lower wages and prestige get relegated to those faceless "office concentrations" which are not connected to public transportation. And thus the public transportation in the suburbs problem is not only about efficiency and environment, but also social equality : the lower wage workers have to spend more money and time commuting.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tokyo is the best city on Earth.  Sometimes, at least.

Rail lines in Tokyo - JR East Rail Map

Subway lines in Tokyo - Subway  Map

by Zwackus on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:40:39 PM EST
Here's a map of the Colorado Springs bus routes. Unfortunately the only one I can find is a pdf file that loads sort of slow, but we have around 42 regular bus routes plus a free downtown shuttle.

No subway or passenger trains, though.

http://www.springsgov.com/units/transit/systemMap.pdf

by asdf on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:12:32 PM EST
A propos, John Scalzi quotes Lewis Shiner on the whole highway vs. mass transit thing.

What if the US had decided against building the Interstate Highway System?

Admittedly, this is a long shot. From the days of Henry Ford's "motor car for the great multitude," we in the US have been assured that each of us deserves his or her own automobile. It's our own little piece of Manifest Destiny, part of that fiercely independent, "Don't Tread On Me" attitude that seems fundamental to our national character.

[...]

Black & White is about a North Carolina neighborhood called Hayti, once the most prosperous black community in the South. During the 1960s, Hayti was bulldozed to make room for the Durham Freeway, leading to a new industrial development called Research Triangle Park. The money to do it came in large part from the federal urban renewal program. All told, urban renewal wiped out 150 neighborhoods like Hayti, and virtually all of the displaced residents were African-American. Freeways were often the excuse for the demolition.

[...]

I've ridden subways and commuter trains in New York and Boston, in Europe and Latin America, and the quality of the experience is profoundly different from that of driving a freeway. Instead of glorifying the individual, it values the community. There is no advantage to be gained by reckless stunts-everyone on the train arrives at the same time. Instead of spending the trip in caffeine-fueled aggression-or, as I do, in stark terror-you can read, listen to music with your eyes closed, or even talk to a stranger.

These thoughts had a considerable effect on the novel. It's bad enough to sacrifice a neighborhood for the sake of a greater good. It's far worse when the destruction-for dubious motives in the first place-is one more step toward the wrong future.

[...]

by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:02:55 PM EST
by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:33:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've ridden subways and commuter trains in New York and Boston, in Europe and Latin America, and the quality of the experience is profoundly different from that of driving a freeway. Instead of glorifying the individual, it values the community. There is no advantage to be gained by reckless stunts-everyone on the train arrives at the same time.

Another data point on Cars Cause Libertarianism by Chris Kulczycki on January 5th, 2006.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 01:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This data is not very suprising. Rich people generally live in the densely populated inner cities where capital-intensive public transport is much more econoically reasonable, while poorer people live in the more sparsely populated suburbs where it is much harder to justify expensive rail lines, given the smaller population per square kilometer.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 09:44:38 AM EST
Actually the first and second rings of Parisian suburbs are certainly populated with a density high enough to justify heavy and dense public transportation ; what is lacking is the political will. Quite a few lines were projected to be long extensions of metro lines or new metro lines ; but they were transformed to tramways, which will be too slow and with too low capacity.

Indeed, the first ring of suburbs is denser now that the outer parts of Paris itself were in the 1900's when the current metro system was built ; the suburban railway lines were built at a time when the suburbs were mostly countryside, and the network is now not dense enough.

And it's also another argument for more progressive tax : another data point on how the wealthy are able to capture and use more state financing than is usually thought.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 10:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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