TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY
Automobility in Denmark.
Denmark is often touted as an example of a “green country” in Europe and further afield, famous for integrating a high share of renewables into its energy system, improving the balance of payments by subsidizing technological development in renewables and promoting non-motorized transport.
However, even in societies such Denmark committed towards lowering their greenhouse emissions, decarbonizing the transport sector is a hard nut to crack. Despite generous tax incentives to consumers for purchasing electric cars, in 2013, out of a total of 2 237 122 cars, just 1 274 were electric. 28% of vehicles are diesel, with combustion engines growing significantly the last 20 years and forecast to do so even more; along with distances travelled by car, already the highest in Europe. Consumer incentives are due to end in 2016 and car-sharing is not widespread.
This paper presents research carried out on automobility in Denmark – to understand why the private transport sector has remained unsustainable in a country with a green narrative. It examines the Danish perceptions of ridesharing, including the elements that influence the adoption (and non-adoption) of ridesharing. Interestingly, Danish drivers and commuters appear to be split on the topic, with negative perceptions including lack of availability; difficulty finding carpools, viewing carpooling as unsafe or unsecure, and expectations of social awkwardness, among others; and positive perceptions including cost savings compared to public and private transport, greater flexibility of travel times, and the ability to socialize with vehicle occupants – with “being green” not mentioned at all. The paper also presents research into the technology-based energy system in Denmark and how it impacts automobility. These contrasting views on carsharing and energy system perspectives lead us to conclude that existing theories and models may need to be fundamentally rethought, both in Denmark and possibly elsewhere.
KEY WORDS: automobility, electromobility, energy transitions, carpooling.
Assessing the acceptability of electric cars by the scenario method.
The results presented are based on experimental research, which aimed to study the factors and conditions for individuals to swap their conventional vehicle for an electric car. The latter was assessed on two dimensions: first as an object through its functional characteristics based on reactions after a first driving test. The second related to its use in everyday life and practice change induced by its characteristics (limited autonomy, charging system) that are directly related to energy use. The purpose was to explore the profiles of potential users and the reasons to use an electric car. Finally, the travel behavior changes that could be induced by driving an electric vehicle were also explored.
We developed a methodology based on a placing in situation through the description of daily trips and the presentation of alternative scenarios. The purpose was to develop a method that provides non-users of electric cars with the contextual elements necessary for the evaluation of the electric vehicle characteristics (limited autonomy, home management, etc.) and the implications of its use on a daily basis. We assumed that individuals have no clear idea on concepts such as autonomy, or recharge time because they do not apply to combustion vehicles. This method has been integrated into a semi-structured interview divided into two phases: the first is a description of the car travels during a typical week, the second included a simulation of temporary and permanent use of an electric car.
Interviews lasted about an hour and were conducted with 69 people. All had been in possession of a valid driver’s license for at least one year and drove a car. Analysis of the interviews confirmed the low level of people’s awareness about electric cars (purchase price, operating, user cost) but also the unusual nature of the issues raised by its use as battery charge and recharge management. When projecting in a situation of use of an electric car, they realized that limited autonomy was problematic only for the less frequent trips and some of them imagined a new way of managing their travels that would involve combustion car rental for long journeys. Similarly, the charging time leads them to think about the periods when their vehicle is stopped (working time, night). Social motivations in relation to pro-environmental values also appear, facilitated by the individual benefits associated with reduced energy costs, but also the satisfaction of giving a positive self-image.
KEY WORDS: electric car, acceptability, use, scenario.
Faire rouler les autobus urbains au mélange de gaz naturel et hydrogène : quelle perception des usagers ?
Michel CARRARD (University of the Littoral Opal Coast /Laboratory Territories, Cities, Environment & Society)
Nicolas DUPUIS (University of the Littoral Opal Coast /Laboratory Territories, Cities, Environment & Society)
Hervé FLANQUART (University of the Littoral Opal Coast /Laboratory Territories, Cities, Environment & Society)
Due to the energy transition and the fight against climate change, new technologies of production, storage and use of energies are experimented. Moreover, some resistances emerged to face the deployment of technologies judged dangerous or harmful by populations (wind-power, methanogenesis, etc.). In consequence, social acceptance of innovations must be a main preoccupation. A demonstration program about a blend of natural gas and hydrogen instead of petrol as a fuel for city buses, which takes place in the North of France, shows the importance credited for this concern: to produce innovations in order to reduce environmental impact of energy technologies, comprehending the acceptance of populations.
Dihydrogen production by electrolysis must help the use of the lost wind, solar and hydraulic power production, and help provide non-carbon-emitting energy sources. Nevertheless, social acceptance of these technologies and their associated risks still has to be explored and understood.
That’s why the consortium made of the ADEME, the Urban Community of Dunkerque and GDF-Suez, with the aim of city buses running on Hythane (80% of natural gas and 20% of dihydrogen), prepared a study about the social acceptance of this technology before public demonstration. The study was realised in November 2014, with more than 700 bus users interviewed face to face with questionnaires. People were interviewed at bus stops or inside buses for 8 to 10 minutes. The analysis of results is in progress.
The main objectives are to provide a global representation of dihydrogen and to know if there are resistances about its use as a fuel. Questionnaires helped collect bus users’s opinion about hydrohen, the Hythane technology and the risks associated.
What are the resistances? What are their origins? Historical? Technological? Which populations are mostly implied? Which solutions can be proposed?
The presentation will try to answer to these questions, supported by the results of the study including bus user’s reports.
MOTS CLÉS : hydrogène, acceptabilité sociale, nouvelles énergies, risque, perception.
COMMOCLES : the role of mobility management in business and employee location choice.
The aim of the research project COMMOCLES is to analyze the impact of changes in mobility on choices of residence and activity locations by individuals and their employers, analysed according to whether or not a BTP had been deployed by the management in their business or institution.
The first stage of the COMMOCLES project was a state-of-the-art analysis of these questions, bringing together property professionals from businesses around the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region to gather their views on potential changes in the location criteria of businesses. Subsequent research consisted of establishing panels of businesses ”with” and ”without” BTPs (9 businesses), and conducting interviews with relevant parties. Finally, an online questionnaire was sent to employees in the businesses selected in the previous stage of research. The research showed that, overall, steps taken to manage mobility are effective in the process of supporting location change. Their direct effects are difficult to measure precisely, as their impact lies necessarily in developing the professional and individual mentalities and cultures necessary to opt for, anticipate, and adapt to change. However, the research showed that preparing employees to think differently, to anticipate and prepare for change, and to experiment with and even call into question their knowledge and managerial habits are all significant issues. The interviews and survey results agreed that a BTP can have an important role as an internal management tool, helping to raise awareness and encourage re-evaluation of individual and collective preconceptions and professional knowledge.
KEY WORDS: Business Travel Plan (BTP), mobility management, public policy, supporting location change.
The role of hydrogen in the design, manufacturing and social reception of a boat with passengers.
Dominique PÉCAUD (University of Nantes/François Viète Center)
The energy resulting from hydrogen has two qualities: it gains in independence with respect to fossil energies, and it reduces the CO2 emissions, even if its manufacturing uses other energies, renewable or not.
As project project promoters, the SEMITAN (Nantes’ public transport company) and the Hydrogen Mission gather various partners in order to design and manufacture a boat with passengers in urban environment that uses hydrogen as its energy source. The future boat will replace the current one to operate the crossing of the Erdre River in Nantes (France), between Port-Boyer and Petit-Port Facultés. It will also play the role of a demonstrator. In this context, the Institute of Man and of Technology (IHT, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Nantes) has been asked to analyze two dimensions of the project. First, it aims at understanding if and how using hydrogen as an energy source has an impact on forms of cooperation. Second, it tries to analyze the social reception of the future boat on agents, such as current and future passengers, local residents, organizations and sports clubs using the river in various ways, and boat pilots employed by the transport company.
This presentation gives an account of a first year of work. It outlines several logics of human and not-human protagonists acting in a socio-technical device. In particular, this analysis defines the agents’ representations of hydrogen in terms of technical or environmental progress, but also in terms of dangers and risks. It also addresses the role played by the sociological search-action undertaken by the IHT in the progress of the project, but also in the ability to define what a social innovation could be in the field of hydrogen propulsion.
KEY WORDS: Hydrogen, cooperation, social acceptability, relations between human and non-human beings, action research.